Monday, June 27, 2011

¿Las meninas americanas viajan a España?

My daughters, ages three and five, respectively, have a friend whom we shall call Bri (because her name is Bri). Bri is four, and just exactly between my girls in age, and as such makes an excellent, relatable playmate. Plus she’s sweet, and shares well and speaks politely, and she has gorgeous red hair and a fun, easy-going mom – in other words, she’s just what I love in a playmate for my kids.

There’s just one problem: Bri and her parents just moved away from here.

To Spain.

When Bri said goodbye to all her friends, she said the things one says like, “come visit me!” and my girls have taken that invitation to heart. A daily conversation now occurs, and it begins with:

When we go to Spain…

They’ve concocted an elaborate itinerary and it always begins with the Princess Museum. In every variation we go to the Princess Museum, even though this past week I’ve learned that the Princess Museum is being knocked down to make room for a Truck Museum, but the new Princess Museum is being built just up the street. It’s okay, because we’ll just go to both.

They’ve never asked, when can we go to Spain? so I’ve never outright said “hey loves, I don’t think we’re really going to Spain.” They just say every day, so when we’re visiting Bri in Spain and we do this… and I let them converse and expand their daydreams more vividly.

Spain seems so real to them, partly because of Bri and partly because of this Princess Museum. I don’t know what this Princess Museum is, and I’ve tried asking several different ways. All I get is: you know, the Princess Museum!

I think the Princess Museum is borne from their knowledge of a painting that’s reproduced in one of their storybooks:

Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656, Museo del Prado, Madrid
Depicted there is, of course, la infanta Margarita, and I’m sure I’ve described her (not innacurately) as a princess. And this painting hangs in the Prado. In Spain. Near Bri.

Of course I’d love to take the girls to Spain. But an unbudgeted trip of several thousand dollars occurring in the next year or so (while, let’s be honest, they still remember their friend with any clarity) seems really, really unlikely. I haven’t outright told them we won’t be going, because a “no” means we won’t be going, but the absence of “no” might somehow turn into a…maybe? Luckily, they haven’t outright asked.

I think they know the reality is we’re probably not travelling to Spain anytime soon. But both the girls and I have been truly enjoying adding texture to this daydream.

This post was inspired by the book The Unexpected Circumnavigation, a copy of which I received as a member of From Left to Write.

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