Beth is 26, Sharaya is 24 and Diana is 20. You may remember in the post Birth Order that in our family Beth is the oldest, but she's not the big sister. Sharaya became the big sister when she was four. The girls grew up with Down Syndrome, but it came into my life unexpectantly. I chose it, they did not.
The below post is from Sharaya's blog The Broken Anthem. It's from a siblings perspective that I didn't see as a parent. The book is very different from the Disney version and it's the book they're using for the comparison.
I never really thought about Beth knowing reality from fantasy. I started to write, 'she is only that way with TV' but where else is there really? Where fantasy and reality might become intertwined? Books, sure. But it is mainly TV. (We don't play video games. Just never really got into 'em.) And now that the girls have mentioned it, I'm not sure she does know the difference. I'll definitely be watching for that now. Every time I read it, I think of something else to write. I'll never look at Peter Pan the same way again!
I was at my parents' the other day and saw my sister, Diana's book lying around. She had been reading J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. I picked it up and skimmed a few chapters, it's such a classic! I was talking to Diana about it a little later and she gave me quite the realization.
Beth is our Peter.
She's stuck in Neverland, where she never grows up. Where reality and pretend intertwine to the point of distortion. Diana and I play Wendy in this story where we are in the real world - we grow up and live our lives while still taking care of Peter as she continues her childhood. In J.M. Barrie's novel, Peter and the lost boys enjoy a hardy "make believe" meal where Peter actually feels full because he can't distinguish the difference between real and fantasy. It's just the same with Beth. For example, she feels the people on tv and in movies are real and involved in her life. She has the biggest crush on Nick Jonas and cries her eyes out whenever he kisses another girl on tv. It's kind of funny and cute, but at the same time, we get a little worried because we're not sure if she even knows it's all pretend and that there are scripts and lights and cameras. She's just stuck in the illusion.
So while our Peter is still chasing after fairies and swimming with the mermaids, Diana and I are getting married and traveling the world. The most difficult part is trying to explain to Peter why she's stuck in Neverland...forever.
Some people may envy the life of Peter. Never having to grow old and experience all the rough deals life throws at you, and yet, I know Peter is envious of us. For growing up can be the best adventure of all.
But no matter where we are in our lives, I'm extremely grateful that we can join Peter and reclaim our childhood again. That we can forget all the cares and worries of our world and go play indians and pirates. We have such a connection and bond with Peter that it only takes a couple steps (...and just a little bit of pixie dust).
"second star to the right and straight on till morning..."