Did I mention that we saw Superman at the grocery store this weekend? And nearby, we saw his sister, Wonder Woman. Although I couldn’t quite get a photo of her.
Kids in costumes make me smile so much — especially when it’s in public and it’s not Halloween. There’s just something so fantastic about seeing imagination made tangible. Kids do not simply put on costumes; they put on a new identity. Lemme tell ya, that kid? He WAS Superman. You just needed to watch him. He swooped and glided down the aisles, complete with *whooshing* sound effects. The only thing that could get in his way was, well, Wonder Woman.
A few months ago, I snagged this photo of a little princess at another grocery store…all twirly, frilly and rhinestone-y. You could tell that was feeling her role.
Then, during that same trip to the store, there was the kaleidoscope of riotous patterns and colors of this little one’s wardrobe. Clearly she was allowed to dress herself — and she based each selection on the merits of the individual piece without taking into account how the rest of the look would work. Not a costume, but the same fearless, fun attitude of her peers.
I don’t know why, but I started wondering…at what point do we lose this? When does putting on a ten-gallon hat and boots stop meaning that we’re a cowboy or cowgirl? Or putting on fireman’s hat mean that we aren’t ready to put out a fire? Or we avoid mixing our favorite patterns because they don’t match? (Okay, I still do that to a certain extent.)
Maybe I’m over thinking, but it seems to me that kids dress for themselves. The only statement they care about is what their clothes are saying to them and how their outfits make them feel. Have cape, have super powers. Have tiara, have unparalleled beauty. Have rainbow boots, have happy feet. Adults? It feels like we’re different. We obviously wear what we like, but we all, to a certain extent, dress to communicate information about ourselves (success, interests, values, etc.) to each other.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we could just put on different clothes and change who we are? Even from time to time? This afternoon, I would’ve liked to have put on an artist’s smock and stood in front of a canvas with my paint-smudged pallet. Voila, I’m an artist! Just for an hour or two. Then I can go back to my real job and continue paying my mortgage.
I don’t miss being a kid, but I miss my childhood imagination. A lot.