Too often my young son and I went down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland: crisis after small crisis without much elbow room to maneuver and gain perspective. Was it a big crisis in a small boy, a small crisis with a big trajectory, or was I being small and amplifying the problem?
In a child, needs and desires are so immediate, and we as parents are immediately affected. The emotionally close quarters of a young family asks: “where does psychic elbow room come from?”
A change of scene and activity can sometimes do the trick, but can we discover the elbow room inside ourselves for an always handy, versatile, inexpensive and healthy response? Can we help our child discover the same elbow room for themselves?
Our personality is a complex village of characters that our true Self lives in the middle of. Who we think we are; who we think we should be; conflicting inner voices; and all the patterns of reaction inherited through DNA and upbringing constitute a village as interwoven and convoluted as a village of Brownies, Tasslebobs, Pillywiggins, and Vetches. The moment we start recognizing one of these voices as something separate from our Selves, we begin to gain the power of choice.
Appletta introduces the Vetches as one such voice. Vetches are testy, reactionary and irritable. This familiar voice is easy to feel possessed by. Something “makes” us feel bad and we are consumed by that thing, losing any sense of our freedom to choose.
In the sixth letter of the Blue Set of the story-letters from Appletta Tooth Fairy, Appletta says:
“How do you know when the Vetches are around — in your house?? You don’t have to hear them arguing. You don’t have to see sparks of electricity shooting from the carpet, or your hair, or the tip of your finger. You can feel the Vetches as if they were inside of you….”
Appletta gives a fairy name for that feeling and tells you that it is a feeling inside, but it isn’t really you. That gives a little elbow room of self-forgiving relief.
Then, hearing my own screeching and feeling the agitation — aha! some Vetches must be under the bed or hovering unseen over the kitchen light, making a ruckus and causing my agitation. Another moment of separation: this desire to fight, this anger, even the foul object of my anger is all an illusion created by those silly Vetches!
Vetches are so silly, they even LIKE the smell of burnt macaroni and cheese. Isn’t that so odds bodkins! Hug time. Giggle time. The Vetches are sure to disappear! And that, the very best kind of fairy magic, deserves a “Lopperty-Lop!” from Appletta.
- Angela Elmore is the author of Appletta Tooth Fairy and the Whirligigs, which she wrote soon after her son (now grown) received his last letters from Appletta. “The Annotated Letters from Appletta” are an ongoing blog about some of Angela’s favorite Letters from Appletta Tooth Fairy.