A child came to my house this week and asked to see the unicorn that goes round and round and round.
Before we continue, can I just say that kids ask the darndest things? Having danced tribes of 8-12 year olds through summers at Girl Scout camp, I’ve fielded a few doozies. My favorite to date has been What’s a cock? but the question about the unicorn was a new one.
Incidentally, it’s An old-fashioned name for a rooster was my answer. It was posed by a 9 year old and I wasn’t up to explaining human anatomy in the middle of my nature walk.
But that’s rambling.
This week, a child came to my home, the house where I lived from the time I was 3 until I moved to college at 18 and where I have summered and Christmas-ed every year since, and asked to see the unicorn that goes round and round and round.
And I could only be honest: I don’t think we have any unicorns like that here, sweetie. Everyone living in our home has been out of the unicorn phase for a while now.
But I was wrong, because this 4 year old walked straight to our kitchen, to cabinets that I’ve seen most every day for a month now, and pointed out this “unicorn”:
My sister’s old carousel horse music box, that indeed goes round and round and round when you wind the key recessed into its base.
The kicker? Our mom swears no one has ever gotten the “unicorn” down for this child. She’d never seen it outside the glass, she’d never wound the key and watched it spin, she just remembered seeing it and guessed and all I could do was laugh and laugh and laugh.
It is a beautiful, ferocious thing when a child is unafraid to correct an adult. It’s audacity and gumption and a thrill to my jaded soul. May the children never be afraid to call out those who are wrong and many I never be above correction.
It’s been a long, strange year for the world. For me, personally, it began with a fragile heart and a true fear of what another year overseas would mean—what my great Irish experiment was coming to. It ended with laughter and joy and the infinite delight of showing a little girl a wind-up musical horse that hasn’t been loved like that in too many years.
May your homes be just as warm and your hearts just as light as we all step forward into this next year together. May we all search a little harder for the unicorn in our own, old cabinets, and may we all delight in its rediscovery.
Happy New Year, everybody.