As everyone knows, Peter Pan is a story about a bunch of lost boys who fell out of their prams in Kensington gardens, and so went off to Neverland to fight pirates, indians and beasts. They are so happy to have found a mother at last. It doesn't matter that in our version she is six times younger than her boys, and has had very little experience.
Boys of all ages need their moms--this is something every good mother knows; and our Wendy's limited resume is not really an issue, since, as Peter says, "what we need is just a nice motherly sort of person." And that, Wendy feels, is exactly what she is---so in no time she is getting her boys out of their damp shoes and mending their socks. James Barrie had considerable experience with two moms--here's one of them, Sylvia Lllewelyn Davies, with two of her five sons that Barrie befriended and who became inspirational (he would say co-authors) in the writing of Peter Pan. She's lovely.
But Barrie had a mother of his own, Margaret Ogilvy, not so much like Wendy Darling, at least on first view.
Barrie wrote a lovely memoir about her--the book is long out of print, but strangely the UCCS library has two copies, printed in 1896 and 1897 respectively. The Barrie family lived in the weaving village of Kirriemuir, Scotland. The family was hard working and Calvinist, and Margaret Ogilvy, rather like Wendy Darling, assumed her motherly responsibilities in her own family before she was 10. One of her boys, David, the oldest and her favorite, was tragically lost in a skating accident when he was 13. Margaret, who was always physically frail, never recovered from the trauma though she lived on another 29 years. James, who was six at the time of his brother's death, did everything he could to comfort and amuse her---indeed, that was his primary occupation for many years. Still, Margaret managed to be a mother in all the best Barrie ways. She was a real reader, and together they exhausted their local library for stories (spurning The Arabian Nights when they learned the title referred to evenings,not men in armor). She tucked him in. And she identified with other mothers. When she read popular exploits of famous explorers, she sympathized with their mothers, who got no news for months. And on the day when a great man returned home victorious, after reading all the heroic reports, she would say only, "She's a proud woman this night." It's worth noting, that at the end of Peter Pan, when Wendy grows up, she has a daughter called Jane, and then Jane too has a daughter--- called Margaret. Barrie hoped in his old age he would remember his mother not as the woman whose skirts he had clung to, crying, "wait till I'm a man, and you'll lie in feathers," but instead "as a little girl in a magenta frock and a white pinafore, who comes toward me through the long parks, singing to herself, and carrying her father's dinner in a flaggon."
Of course our very own little mother, too, Mallory Hybl, also has a mother, named Sally, who just happens to be playing Wendy's mom in our production. Sally showed up at one rehearsal a month ago looking just a little worse for wear, you know, and when queried she allowed as how she hadn't got a lot of sleep that night because before dawn her two sons and daughter had decided to join their parents in bed. "Hybls are very small," she explained, "so we can all fit in." Exactly like it happens in Neverland. On this occasion, Sally might well have quoted Wendy, saying "Oh dear, I am sure spinsters are to be envied." But if she had, her face, like Wendy's, would have been shining when she said this.