I responded to Patsy Ittner's post regarding how it has been ten years since Princess Di's untimely death and I remembered exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened. I had been taking my son back to University and had just arrived at my brother's house in Vancouver where I found everyone in shock at the news that had just been broadcast.
Commenting on Patsy's post got me reminiscing about the trip itself. This was one of many trips my son and I were to make over the next four years either going to or coming home from Vancouver where he attended University. Those were great trips and I miss those days. We rarely listened to the radio on these trips, instead we talked and our talks covered a wide variety of topics and issues.
On this particular trip, as we passed "The Enchanted Forest" , I commented on how we had visited there with him when he was about 2 ½ years old. We were on our way home from a three week vacation and were not in a hurry. Besides it was a very hot, dry day and distractions were welcome. In fact, we had just come from Beardale Castle Miniatureland where our son had been absolutely fascinated with the trains (and still is to this day). So, when we came across The Enchanted Forest it just seemed like it would be another fun and exciting place to stop, walk in the coolness of the forest to stretch our legs and take another break from driving.
I was absolutely stunned however when my son told me that he recalled not only being in the forest but being terrified! What? How could that be? This was a famous attraction, a beautiful forest, a "magical" place.
I remember taking the nature hike, enjoying the coolness, the peacefulness and the feeling of enchantment. However, as he spoke about his memory of what I had considered an "adventure" it all came back to me. I recalled pushing him in his umbrella stroller right up to the edge of the forest where the gnomes peaked out from the bushes so that he would be sure to see them. And see them he did! Apparently hasn't liked them since! Once my son explained how these creatures could be perceived through the eyes of a very small child, I put that into perspective and, wow, did I ever feel guilty. Although it never occurred to me at the time, as he talked it came back to me how quiet he had been, how still he had sat. It had never for one minute crossed my mind that he had been afraid. How could I have done this to a child? It has taken me years to get over the guilt and although we laugh about it now, I know that I would not want to put a grandchild through that experience.
Don't misunderstand; I would certainly re-visit the Enchanted Forest as it still remains in my mind a place of magic and enchantment. I am now more aware though of considering things from a child's viewpoint. Talking to a child and preparing them is important in the choices I will make with grandchildren should I be so blessed.