I was actually ruminating on the times when we parents, we large people who try to give wings to the dreams of the smaller people, have to say "no." And sometimes, we really have very little choice in the matter.
At tennis this morning, my friend Lisa was accosted by her five year old son, vociferously stating (and re-stating) his intent to build a boat in which to take his friends (including my willing daughter) for a ride in the turtle pond. And what was he going to use to build this boat? Sticks. That's it.
I watched the tension mounting as she first humored his idea, then tried to gently break the news that they were going to have to leave the park today without building a four-passenger boat. Despite her best effort, a certain degree of hysteria ensued. This was TREASON! How could the adult world FAIL TO COMPREHEND THE GENIUS OF THIS IDEA!?
(Note: Lisa spent an hour and a half yesterday helping her son recreate the house from UP with a cardboard box and a bunch of helium balloons. Can we agree she's a dedicated and kindhearted mom?)
Oh, friends, how I did relate. With a couple of my kids, I've been through the same wash cycle: lather, rinse, repeat. As much as I try to say yes, (or my personal fallback: "Let's ask Daddy to help you with that pairs of stilts/fishing rod/fill-in-the-blank you want to make!") there are moments when we just run up against the laws of physics, or money, or time, or human capability, or hey, even Mama's patience.
(Once I literally had to drive my then four year old to a John Deere dealer so he could verify in person, man to man with the bewildered clerk, that buying a full-sized backhoe for a proposed project would not fit his budget.)
And we're left to compassionately pop the balloon of these grandiose visions, gently catching the shards and fashioning them into the kind of hope that makes our dreamers dust themselves off and come back for more.