Saturday, January 15, 2011

Back Through the Rabbit Hole

Back in November I wrote a post called "Finding Wonderland."  It was about walking through doors, drinking from the bottles, eating the cakes, and making your way into your own Wonderland. 

Caty's Alice dress. 
My daughter has lately been infatuated with Alice.  She watched the newest version with Johnny Depp (misty sigh), she  watched a 1972 version with unbelievably fake props and hilarious animal costumes.  She watched what we call "the yellow dress version" (my favorite) starring the girl who went on to play Deb in "Napoleon Dynamite."  She wrote a script for her and her friends to perform, planning on rehearsals every Sunday until she turns eight, culminating in a three hour performance complete with cast party and an elaborate professional set.  (I'm thinking two rehearsals and a three minute skit filmed on my iPhone and posted to YouTube.)  She and I pulled a bunch of her old dressup clothes apart, cut, shaped, re figured, pinned, and hand-stitched them into the most adorable Alice costume you've ever seen!  (If I do say so myself.  Which I did.)

Through all of this watching, cutting, sewing, writing, I was thinking about Alice.  I realized that I had been missing a really important aspect of the story all along, back when I wrote about finding your own Wonderland.

Eventually, Alice wanted nothing less than to go home.

Home.  Home is where you curl up in your most comfortable chair with a good book.  Home is where you sit by the fire on a cold winter day, watching the flames dance and the wood turn to cinders beneath the grate.  Home is where your children grow taller, where you grow older, where your family loves you no matter your "size."  Home is the safe feeling of the familiar.

I understand now why my daughter (driving me insane) often doesn't ever want to go anywhere:  dance class, Home School Group, a new friend's house, a new restaurant for dinner, a field trip to an unfamiliar museum.  One morning she looked at me with tear-filled eyes and said, "I thought home schooling meant we could just stay HOME."

Now, thanks to Alice, I understand.  Home is safe.  You know how to get to the bathroom, that the glitter and glue are in the drawer by the window, and that there's always peanut butter and jelly if you don't like what's on your plate.  Home is the comfort of knowing.

I am ready to be home for a while.  I have been growing and shrinking so much lately that I'm not quite sure what my right size is any more.  It's time for us to fall into a routine (which we're getting quite good at), to choose our outings carefully, to clean and organize, to make home more comfortable. 

We are focusing our energy on learning how to communicate better with one another.  No more screaming, "Off with her head!"  No more pepper in the soup.  No more, "How can I possibly have more, when I haven't had any yet." No more Cheshire cats pointing us in opposite directions, knowing full well that we are all trying to reach the same destination. 

While I still think it's important to spend some time in Wonderland, I am also happy to be headed back to the river bank with Dinah, making lazy daisy chains in the warm afternoon sunshine.  Perhaps after I find my right size, I will be ready again to dash down the rabbit hole.


  1. Oh my gosh, this will make a great story when she gets older!

  2. This is a lovely post. :) I have found myself and our family in very similar circumstances. We are mostly very content to be home. Home is such a wonderful place for us. Thanks for sharing. I have to say that I also love your choice of words and style for this piece - very poetically prose so to speak.