What happens when the magic is gone?
On December 31st, Alise cried because she would have to say goodbye to the Christmas elf, and at that moment, I realized they are growing up, and I don’t know how long before the magic is gone. I’ve always known growing up is part of the deal and a piece I have prayed for. I have always told myself, I’m not going to be sad as they get older because I’m so thankful that they get to. I’m so grateful to have the privilege of seeing it – every single step, every single mile marker, and stage they go through.
But, I am not prepared to lose the magic. The magic is what I have worked so hard to create and keep and cherish to make up for the heartache that surrounds their childhood. It’s the extra twinkle lights and glow in the dark stars on the ceilings and basement forts and pillow pile-ups. It’s sticky kisses, and small hands stretched to the sky in wide imagination. It’s unicorns and fairy tales and princess dances and Daddy as Prince Charming.
I have clung to the magic because that has saved their childhood. It gave them something to hold onto as they were introduced to tiny caskets and limo drives to cemeteries and mommies who cry all the time. As they figured out, some goodbyes meant forever, and life’s not fair, and tomorrow is not guaranteed. What had kept them as little and innocent as possible while wrapping their young minds around the actual value of cherished moments, and stopping the smell of the wildflowers, and never hesitating to give away a hug or kiss.
We have done the magic big. And, I’m not ready for it to leave. I’m not prepared for them to be older and for there to be no buffer between what the real world has waiting for them, for those glass-shattering moments where they learn the reality of the fairy tales. So, I’m holding onto it with all my might. I’m savoring moments I’m afraid might be the lasts. I’m memorizing as much of their childhood as I can, holding them in my lap and my arms as much as they will let me. Telling them, they are as beautiful and strong and capable as the fairy tales say, as many times as I can fit in a day. So that it becomes a foundation before they start listening to society and begin to doubt themselves. Begin to grow older. And face all the things that come with that.
But this is where my husband steps in, usually with a kiss on my forehead and his arms pulling me in, telling me everything will be alright. Not all hope is lost. He stands firm as the keeper of our magic. To this day, I believe he holds a lot of his childhood in his heart. And coming from a girl whose own childhood circumstances forced her to grow up early, I love that about him. I love everything about him. But, that he keeps the magic for us is most important.
And, my husband says in his age-old wisdom,
“Magic doesn’t have to be lost. It lies in being able to continue the thought that anything is possible. To help them refuse to adhere to the idea that reality has sunk in and nothing magical can happen anymore. To teach them to dream. Be curious. And be courageous enough to act on that curiosity. That the people who still truly believe anything can happen are the ones that make anything happen.”
Maybe the magic doesn’t lie in the fairy tales. Perhaps the magic lies in one’s perspective it affords. In always being able to find a different way of looking at things with rose-colored glasses through the kaleidoscope lens. Looking for the silver linings with wonder and possibility. Or, most importantly, through God’s perspective.
Maybe that’s what the fairy tales are for. To train our children to look at life from a different perspective, find the magic in the ordinary. To always believe that something good could happen. To hold onto hope when things look hopeless. To fill them with curiosity and the ideas of seeking adventure. To show them how to slay their dragons and save the underdogs. To show them how to use their imagination and create their own fairy tales.
Maybe that’s what my job becomes as they continue to grow older, to harness the magic into something new. As their little minds grow and become capable of understanding more, I’ll show them how God fits into it all. Explain to them how He is why we can keep going, even when bad things happen, how He is the REAL magic maker. He makes good come from anything terrible and is a God of miracles; we look at the world through His eyes and look at the future with possibility through Him. I’ll always teach to hope and believe in what He has in store for us. Believe who it is He says we are. Beautiful and smart and capable.
And the most important thing is never to stop dreaming. Never stop believing. Never stop looking at things from a different perspective. Through God’s perspective. With wonder and possibility, and always make room for a little magic.