Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The resurrection of the unicorn

After a chaotic morning with a screaming toddler and a fight over who ate the imaginary cheese trophy (yep), I headed over to a quiet corner at Barnes and Noble to surround myself with sane people and read in peace.

Instead I found myself surrounded by unicorns. Unicorn cookies, lollipops, puzzles, unicorn snot (it’s a thing), and books (this one being my five-year-old’s current favorite).

Maybe the unicorn never died, but it certainly seems to be on the upswing these days. The Boston Marathon has adopted it as it’s mascot, and yesterday there was a celebration in honor of National Unicorn Day.

In the age of social media, perhaps it’s no surprise that the unicorn, with it's colorful, glittered mane, has become so prominent. But in a time of often depressing politics and cultural divide, it's deeper than that. People seem to be seeking the uncomplicated wonder symbolized by this mysterious creature.

Last weekend, we headed to Chicago for a very spontaneous family trip, but after a rough car ride and a less than enjoyable dinner, we decided to abandon our lofty aquarium and sightseeing plans and spend the day doing what the kids really wanted to do anyway: swimming at the hotel pool; enjoying a visit from the ice cream man; and having pizza, popcorn, and movies delivered to our room. Rather than sticking to a parent-led agenda, we let the crazy inventors of the imaginary cheese trophy dictate our plans. To our amazement, it ended up being a real "unicorn" of a weekend; filled with ever-elusive child-like fun and playfulness that only comes with abandoning all expectations.

So although the unicorn has long represented an unattainable ideal, today's unicorn is showing up in the magic of every day life, including ours. Maybe it’s in a family vacation, or colorful clothing, or on your dinner plate. Perhaps the significance to this magic is in the effort; never trying too hard to capture it.

Who knows what’s next? Perhaps the loving and alluring mermaid if Starbucks has anything to do with it. I, for one, will embrace anything that reminds me to add more joy into my usual routine.

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