The annual University of Michigan Natural History Museum Halloween party is packed, the girls all dressed as princesses and fairies, the boys all dressed as autobots and ninjas. My son, eight-year-old Little Brother, is a pirate. I am Hello Kitty Gangnam Style. We come every year for the science and the stories, the dinosaurs and the whales (Yay Professor Gingerich!).
This day, I get such a sense of possibility from this short multiculti crowd. There do not seem to be any limits as boys and girls of so many different races and ethnicities imagine what they could be. Anyone could be a doctor, anyone could be a scientist, as little hands explore the surfaces of mammoth and mastodon teeth.
Imagination has no limits today. I love that about Halloween.
Education has no barriers today either. I love that about the Natural History Museum. (Whenever we talk about Chicago, eight-year-old Little Brother has only one word, “Sue.”)
Even now, three weeks later, the memories of this day and the imagination it inspires insulate me from the hateful racist and sexist rhetoric churning outside my door. I want to believe that this hopeful future is what is real and all that crazy stuff in the news—from the Petraeus et al affairs to talk of secession to the Arizona woman who ran over her husband for not voting—is not. Really, don’t we all just want to educate our kids and share a little bit of candy?
Funny how we sometimes need to step outside of reality a moment in order to see what is real.
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