Have you ever seen Mary Poppins? Remember the scene where she pulls out the tape measure to “see how they measure up”. Michael is “extremely stubborn and suspicious.” Jane is “rather inclined to giggle and doesn’t put things away.” And then there is Mary Poppins, “Practically Perfect in Every Way.” This is after she has pulled all manner of useful objects out of her carpet bag. Clearly this is a woman prepared for any circumstance and armed for anything life could toss at her. She is a woman after my own heart.
As a child I was swept up in the magic and whimsy of the movie but I didn’t understand the real lesson it was meant to teach me until a few years ago. You see all the golden moments of that movie are not because of Mary Poppins’ planning and scheduling but courtesy of Bert the man who can’t seem to commit to a career and has no concept of time. I mean they jump into a sidewalk chalk painting and end up winning a horse race, sing with chimney sweeps and laugh so hard they float to the ceiling. Such fun and all a result of misadventures and spontaneity.
I really understood this a few years ago when I took my nieces and nephews on a train ride – A Wild West Train Robber Train Ride to be exact. I had planned this trip beginning to end and prepared for every possible scenario; parking, snacks, lunch, dinner, everything. I was determined this would be the best day ever. And it was, but not because of my careful planning. The golden moment that we will remember forever was when my nephews made the actors break character and laugh.
Before the fake robbery started we had been given monopoly money to surrender when we were “robbed”. Els hid his money down his shirt and K put his in his sock. When the “robbers” came thru the first time they each gave up a dollar or two and pretended it was all they had. On the second pass thru, they both stalled a bit before surrendering their hidden stash. The robbers bust out laughing and it took a full minute before the play resumed. My nephews were beyond pleased with themselves and the day has become an entire chapter of our family story.
No amount of planning on my part could have produced this PERFECT moment. It just happened, courtesy of two little boys full of mischief.