I am terribly excited to share with you all this new series of How We Play, only because it hits a tender heart string, and only because a little part of the curtain covering our untold lives will be opened a bit wider. My hope is that you find fairy dust and flitting sparkles of our imagination through the duel of forts of Charlotte’s lens and my words in this series. So then, do you want to play with Angelina the Ballerina mouse and her best friend Alice? Alrighty! Lets go!
I believe It was during my 7th or 8th year of life that our two generous parents gifted us with the Angelina Ballerina play set. I can’t recall now, and neither can the girls, whether or not this was a Christmas or birthday present; despite forgotten facts, I do remember playing for hours upon hours with the set after it was lovingly taken out of it’s wrapping plastics, and set up for our tiny hands to grapple with. Oh! The sweet memories fill my mind.
Now I must tell you all that back then I took my place as eldest very seriously, so seriously that there were days in which nothing could be done except that I had given “permission” to have it so. My poor sisters! I remember them trying to get their ideas fulfilled in many an afternoon’s sitting, but many ejaculations from yours truly kept them in what I thought was their rightful place. Oh dear! I am getting payback dearly for all of those days now, and its not really fun. Well! There you have a little piece of my own secret mind, but I think you ought to know that we (I) were not little angels growing up. We had many happy afternoons, but they were ruled, I am sorry to say, by the iron hand of Jess. (Brigi interjects here. Good old sister of mine! She says that yes, I did have a lot of say, but she remembers Charlotte and herself getting their way many more times than I remembered. It must just be guilt that drives my memory to think in this way… )
After the first year of having this beautiful stage set, we were gifted with two more precious characters that made up the family circle of Angelina’s world, who were, Polly (her baby sister), and Henry (her little boy cousin), as well as many books and videos regarding Angelina’s adventures with her best friend Alice (The brown furred mouse). Brigi loved Alice very much, and I loved Angelina best because there was once a time in which I too took Ballet lessons, and could still perform a dance in my own graceful way.
But who did Charlotte get to play? She contented herself with Polly and Henry for a while, but there was a glorious mix-up with reordering a broken stage part, and so we got another Angelina doll by mistake. Well, we called it perfection, for now Charlotte could play with a “more grown up” character. But another Angelina? No! In one of the videos we have, Angelina actually meets a novice Ballerina mouse named Olga (who was not photographed in this shoot unfortunately), who is a traveling gypsy mouseling and who wants very much to learn the art of dance. Angelina takes her under her wing, and the two become fast friends. Brigi was enraptured by the thought of playing a traveling gypsy girl (Brigi always was one to play the traveler), and so she and Charlotte happily swapped mouselings, B playing Olga, and C playing Alice. We all took turns playing Henry and Polly. At last there was one big happy family–such a cheesy phrase, but useful nevertheless!
The stage seemed to have endless props to help set the theme for every day’s play time, but it wasn’t always fun to be playing Ballet practice with Olga and Angelina, or Gymnastic class with Alice. We did have very good imaginations and made use of the porcelain doll furniture for a long while. Two years later, however marked another time in which three were perusing over the American Girl Catalogue, and there before our very eyes was the Angelina House! Our dream come true! This wonderful contraption was made of sturdy magnetic walls and real wooden furniture, completed with magnet wall accessories and a plastic kitchen set. It was too good to be true! Mom and Dad once again surprised the living daylights out of us on some grand occasion, and gave us the House! I played with that house until I was 13–which says a lot for such a toy–and then, all of a sudden, the cares of life replaced my toys.
This is the very saddest thing that all children must go through, and I think it ought to be said here: to grow up and leave behind childish things is a woeful thought. I am thankful to say that there is a child in me still, and I found that out when we took this awesome photo shoot. The time was ripe for me. I think if I had tried to do such a thing three years prior, the interest would not have been great. But a lengthy parting from such sweet delights perfects the longing pangs of one’s heart, and I suffered to think that there was a time long ago in which the simple joys of playthings could satisfy a deep craving for the inspiring. I think of the past books I have read (N.D. Wilson’s “Death by Living” and C.S. Lewis’s “Surprised by Joy”) and I wonder at how those men could have ever possibly captured the innocence of childhood thought in such beautiful ways. For Lewis, his childhood is described as series of new found Joys, and for Wilson, it was the dust motes made by the sun that spawned higher thoughts after something that he did not understand just yet. In both cases, they long for the true love and satisfaction found in Jesus Christ; which I find my own childhood to have been of the same nature. When we were children, we spoke as children, we understood as children, we thought as children; but when we are grown, we put away childish things (see 1 Corinthians 13) We long for Jesus in a ways that mature us year by year. We must take after the higher things so to grow in our salvation until we are too old to live any more. Christ is our all in all, our everything.
I hope that you enjoyed this the beginning post of this new series! Are you all looking forward to learning about our past? I can’t wait to hear from you all in the comments below!