When I was young and in college I always wanted a papasan chair. I loved its casual, comfy look. The wicker evokes a beach like atmosphere, while the big round cushion entices me to curl up in it to relish reading a good book. I could never afford the chair while in college and later when I had the money, I didn’t have the space, considering its unusual shape.
It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s and found myself moving to a new town that I had both the money and the space to purchase the papasan chair. My husband had just died, leaving me with three young children to raise with the help of his life insurance. The money from that afforded us a larger home where we could have more things to help us overcome the fact that we were without the large personality and magnetic presence of “Daddy!”
I placed the papasan chair in the family room. A rock fireplace grounded one corner, while the television on one wall and computer desk in another corner contributed to make this the most popular area of the house. More than ample space in the room’s center beckoned the kids to spread out toys and play to their hearts’ content while I flitted about nearby like a fly on the wall.
The kids were between the ages of three to seven at that time. The ages when their imaginations overflowed with possibilities, going into overdrive as their make-believe worlds came alive. I can remember curling up in the papasan chair with a book and enjoying their playtime talk tinkling like music in the background.
One day while cleaning in another room, I could hear the children’s giggles, their voices brimming with energetic excitement. It was contagious and captured my curiosity enough for me to stop working in order to investigate. I entered the room to find the round frame of the papasan chair removed from its pedestal and placed in the center of the carpet. All three children were inside the chair. The oldest boy, Trent, grasped the wicker side controlling the rocking motion to make it mimic a ship riding large ocean waves. The youngest boy, Chance, was on the other side with a paper pirate’s hat on his head, using one toy sword as a paddle and the other as a brandishing weapon held high in the air. Tara, my girl and middle child, literally sat in the middle of the ‘boat’ as the Captain directing its occupants away from the sharks and alligators infesting the rough waters surrounding them. I laughed at their creative imaginations in action.
The kids heard the noise and turned toward me with gleeful eyes, “Hey Mommy! We’re in a ship!” Tara greeted me in her light, high-pitched little girl’s voice. Chance, who always had to have his say, attempted to imitate a pirate, “Ahoy Matey! Arrrgghhhh!” Overcome with enthusiasm, they began rocking their ship side to side as well as front to back. Trent’s big smile revealed his dimples as he proclaimed, “The waves are getting stronger!”
From that point on I knew if I walked into the family room to find the papasan chair disassembled that it was because the kids were playing pirate ship again. I always just smiled and put it back together. New scenarios would be created and played out repeatedly. Throughout, the wicker frame remained strong and never collapsed amidst all those waves and stormy seas. The kids are all teenagers now, too old to pretend and too large to all fit in the papasan ship. Yet, we all still fondly remember those days in their youth when imaginations reigned supreme allowing them to escape harsh realities and enter into another dimension where pain isn’t a thought and glee is plentiful.
We have since moved again. The papasan chair really no longer fits our decor, yet I will never be able to relinquish ownership of it. The memories attached to it are too heart warming. And I’d like to think that someday, a future generation of children might want to make some of their own adventures in the papasan ship.