My daughter lost a tooth last week and- as she always does whenever she loses a tooth- she runs down her list of what she hopes the tooth fairy will leave her under her pillow. This time, after a very long list, she concluded with, "What I really want are magical wings that I can use whenever I want to fly!" She said it with her bright beautiful eyes shining and while bouncing. She does everything while bouncing. The last few teeth were the same... she wished for magical things: a magic wand that would grant her and her family any wishes forever; a magic rainbow; a magic potion bottle. And just like the last few times, she got pretty boring surprises compared to what she asked for. This time, she got a pair of mermaid earrings.
I picked mermaids to keep some element of magic in this funny exchange of enamel for goodies.
When she woke up, she cried and had a tantrum. "I didn't want mermaid earrings! I wanted magical wings. I don't think magic exists. I'll never get anything that's magic ever ever." And she sobbed on the sofa. I had no idea how to handle this one.
I took a moment to consider the situation. All my parenting tricks and shortcuts would be of no help because her sobs were real and she was inconsolably sad as she cried for what was possibly her first sense of loss of magic and wonder in the world.
I had recently read Dr. Shefali Tsabary's book "The Awakened Family" so my mind went there. It started scanning all the parent/child scenarios within its pages but there was really nothing of this kind. What I did recall was the overarching message of the book- that we are simply and only holding our childrens' hands on the parenting journey. We need to put down the control, the tyranny, and the megalomania.
So, I went over to the sofa and just hugged her. I acknowledged her sadness and hugged as tight as I could. I didn't try to talk it away. I just sat with her in her disappointment. I held her until she didn't need me anymore. When she was ready she got up, took a deep breath, and walked to the playroom. I felt satisfied with that moment in parenting- I don't get many good ones lately. It's summer and the kids are constantly arguing and annoyed and "bored".
Life has really tried and tossed my family these past few years. The kids are mostly unaware because- lucky for them- they are still in their world of wonder. I couldn't help but think about that moment with her on the sofa this morning. I had given something to my daughter that I had not been given. I had held her hand in a moment where in my own life no hand had been offered. Isn't that magic? I don't remember when I stopped believing and being a witness to magic but I did- for many, many years. It's only now, as an adult (or so I hear that's what I have become), that I am reclaiming its existence in my life.
But I have a confession...
I've never read Harry Potter!
Right?! You'd think that I would have torn through those books. But no. I actually had quite an aversion to them for a while. It was my knee jerk rejection to the topic of magic after it had packed its bags and moved quite far away from me. In the world of hazy alcohol and high superficiality I lived in and was poorly navigating, there was no room for tapping into my source of higher woman power. There was NONE of that. So, no time for magic, Harry. Wingardium Leviosa back atcha and good day.
When I finally watched some of the movies (just a few years ago) I LOVED them. Hooray for Hermione (and for Emma Watson who uses her practical magic as a vocal feminist)! I had at that point let magic back in so Harry Potter charmed me so much and reminded me of everything I wanted to be real in childhood.
I know these days magic is considered woowoo and fringe. Of course, I'm not suggesting that I have a pet unicorn, ride a flying broom, and will take the seven kingdoms with the help of my 3 dragons (I would love to have Khaleesi's wardrobe, though). The magic I know to be true is subtle and powerful. I am unsure where the source of men's magic is, but for women it's in our center and our center is our womb. Creation comes from our wombs and isn't creation a pure and absolute form of magic? What is there to believe in? It's fact. We can create life. Period. (And speaking of our periods...)
Because of our challenging situations, it has been hard to feel the magic. Life has felt so mundane. At times, I feel I grieve the innocence of childhood and the belief in all kinds of magic and fantastical things. In those moments, I make it a point to become more aware. In awareness, I find a ton of magic. I find it in my breath. I find high magic in nature. I find incredible layers upon layers of magic in my dreams. When I feel it, it's like I found the fountain of youth. I am suddenly ageless and time stands still.
I'll never ever tell my daughter magic doesn't exist. I will never tell her anything is make believe. I will hold her hand whenever she feels disconnected from the magical though. I will guide her to where she can find it again and let her rediscover it in her own special places and in her own time.