If you don’t know Mumin, check it out. The author is Tove Jansson and the original stories of Mumin are by now well-known. In one of the stories an invisible child shows up on the doorstep of the Mumin-house. She excuses herself for her invisibility, explaining that she is very frightened, but can she please live with them? The family (being a very loving sort of individuals) naturally says yes and invite her in to stay with them. Only problem is that they can’t see her, so they have to be very careful not to step on her. Surrounded by all this care and love, the invisible child starts becoming visible. At first, all you can see are her feet which is helpful to the family as they can now locate her. Little by little the invisible child becomes visible to the great pleasure of the Mumin family.
The moral? Children who are in fear or carry some kind of trauma feel invisible; the shadow children. When they are carefully seen and loved they heal and become “visible” again. Children are amazingly resilient and can bounce back from almost anything, given the right circumstances. Why do we seem to lose that ability as we grow older, hanging on to traumas and fears as if they were our raison d’être?
Illustration: Tove Jansson