A Boy Called Peter

The pants of his Peter Pan costume were hitting far above the ankle.

The shirt was getting more difficult to slip over his head.

And Gideon began to cry…

“Mom, I just really don’t want to grow up anymore.”

“What’s the matter, Gid?” I asked, concerned by this sudden outburst.

“I mean, I want to be 6 on my next birthday, but not any more grown. That’s as grown as I want to be!” he wailed.

And that’s when it hit me.

The Peter Pan costume.

“Gid…” I said, about to cry, myself. “You know we can get you a new Peter Pan costume, right?”

~

He first wore that costume almost 3 years ago…

It was Halloween 2009, and Peter Pan was an obvious choice, for the classic Disney movie had seemingly been the theme of our year – we had watched it countless times. And when we weren’t watching it, we were playing pirates or flying through the house or seeing mermaids in the lake…

{This was, by the way, fitting rather nicely into my master plan, for Peter Pan is one of those clutch-to-my-chest stories that had defined my childhood, my adolescence, my young adulthood…and I was determined to find a way to keep it around}.

Gideon’s cousin Abigail dressed the part of Wendy, her sister Anna represented Tinkerbell, and the happy trio had the best time traipsing and flitting around town with their Halloween treat bags on their arms that perfect October night. (and I’ll give you a dollar if you can guess who dressed as Cap’n Hook – more on that when October gets here!)

But just because Halloween was over the next morning did not mean that Gideon was going to put his costume up in the attic for keepsake memories, or even in the closet for other days…

He lived in it.

He ate in it.

He slept in it.

He wore it…

All. the. time.

And just like his childish hero, he had many wonderful adventures in this special costume.

One day, when he was about 4 years old, he was invited to accompany my husband and our friend, Zac, to a local sporting goods store to buy supplies for the church softball team.

When Mr. Gore came to pick him up from our house in the church van, Gideon was, not surprisingly, dressed as Peter Pan from head to toe, his little foam sword tucked snugly into his Peter Pan belt.

If you think Mr. Gore was embarrassed to be accompanied on an outing with a miniature Peter Pan, you’d be wrong, for in truth, my husband is the one who has taught me to lighten up and let our kids wear what they will (on most days). Thus, he met our son with a huge smile, and complimented him right away. Gideon…er, Peter…ran straight to his arms, excited to be included with the big boys on this fun trip to “town”.

As he turned to wave good-bye to me, that little green hat with a brown feather sticking up in the air, my heart constricted, and I took a mental snapshot of my little lost boy. “If Peter Pan had been this loved by his mother,” I thought, “he never would have stayed in Neverland all those years…”

Off they flew to the sporting goods store, and everything was reportedly ticking along quite nicely…

until Mr. Gore was checking out at the cash register, waiting for the cashier to ring up and bag the many items that needed to be purchased for the softball team.

During the long wait, Gideon had apparently wandered over to take a look at the clothing section behind him…

and the room suddenly exploded with noise.

Turning quickly around, Mr. Gore watched in amazement as clothing rack after clothing rack fell slowly over in domino fashion, one right after another, seven racks in all.

Boom!…

Boom!…

Boom, boom, boom, boom!…

BOOM!

The “dust” settled, clothes lying everywhere, and there in the clearing stood none other than our Peter Pan, his sword raised defensively in his right hand, his eyes as round as saucers.

Where was his pixie dust when he needed it?! For I am quite sure he would have flown the coop if he could have.

As Mr. Gore recounted the hilarity to me when he returned home, I gasped “How did it happen?!”

“We’re not really sure…” he admitted.

“Well what did you do? What did the cashier do?!” I asked, my hand over my mouth.

“We just stood there for a few seconds, and started laughing.” he replied.

As my husband helped the young cashier clean up the mess, he continued to apologize profusely.

“Dude…don’t worry about it man, ” the cashier assured him, “when am I ever going to get to tell a story like this again?…’everything fell over, and there in the middle of it was…Peter Pan.’

It was an epic moment in Mr. Gore’s life, in Zac’s life, in Gideon’s life, and in mine…even though I was not there to witness it firsthand.

Gideon is 5 years old now, and still occasionally squeezes into his beloved costume, a new (and permanent) Wendy-bird by his side:

He won’t stay little forever and he will certainly outgrow that costume in the months to come…

but I pray his adventures never stop.

4 thoughts on “A Boy Called Peter

  1. I am a special education teacher working summer school with a couple of soon to be fifth grade students. One of them wants to be called Wendy, while I play the part of Captain Hook. She asks me “What does Captain Hook say?” to which I respond, “Im going to get you Wendy!” She loves it and I have another opportunity to connect with her and strengthen her educational goals. Isn’t imagination great!!

  2. Oh, so wonderful, and your pictures are fantastic! Why am I not surprised?! Hold that little boy (and his siblings!) close to your heart and cherish these adventures, as well. How wonderful that you are writing them all down!

  3. I’m so glad you shared this story with us. Your children are so precious and I wish a very special person in my life could have been here to see them. Love ya. Aunt JOY<3

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