I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Christmas Elf — that creepy little guy that Santa sends to keep an eye on kids. The one we parents have to move every night. Well, in my girls’ school we’ve also adopted The Pumpkin Elf. You know how it is — once one family starts, well, you kind of have to as well or else your kid feels left out. So . . . . we started the Pumpkin Elf tradition a few years ago and to be honest it’s too much. I keep forgetting to move the darn thing.
Last night, my 9 year old came to me and said, “Mom, is the Pumpkin Elf real?”
I did my best to look shocked.
“Yes, of course.”
She stared at me in that way kids have when they appear to be looking into your soul.
I blinked and smiled.
“Well,” she said. “I don’t think he’s real. I don’t believe in magic anymore.”
Twist the knife in my heart a little more why don’t you? Being a parent is wonderful and fulfilling and blah, blah, blah but it’s also heartbreaking watching your children grow up, to witness them letting go of everything that makes them a child of wonder and to be powerless to stop it. Because, really, I can’t stop it. I’m grateful that she’s growing up. Still, it breaks me a little inside to think of her saying those words, “I don’t believe in magic anymore.”
I want my children to believe in magic – -ALWAYS.
I want them to see the magic in a tiny acorn that will miraculously grow into an oak tree.
To feel the powerful message in a rainbow after a scary storm.
To understand the magic that makes pressure and stress turn a piece of coal into a dazzling diamond and to believe that this can happen to them too.
To believe in the magical immortality of our soul.
In the magical help and support of our guides and angels.
To believe in the magic of their own imagination.
The eternity of their soul.
I don’t want my kids to believe in Harry Potter and eye-of-newt magic necessarily, but I do want them to believe in the magic that is all around us and inside us.
Last weekend, we passed a homeless man and his dog begging and my daughter asked me to turn around and give that man and his dog money. That is magical. We were on our way to a day of shopping and she thought of this poor man and his dog.
This morning getting ready for school, my girls were fighting — as usual — and one of them said, “Guys, chill out. It’s almost Friday.”
And they did.
How magical is that??
I want them to see that magic is inside of them and if they can just believe in that — even for a moment each day — they will be miracle workers, magicians if you will.
The Pumpkin Elf, The Christmas Elf, Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy — yes they are all fake. But I like to think that when we parents act for these imaginary beings that we are breathing life into this idea of magic, of hope and possibility.
I still believe in magic. I believe it’s in me and you and all of us. I believe it’s what connects us all and makes life worth living. Shel Silverstein in his lovely poem below says we have to make our own magic. When I first read this poem as a little girl, it made me sad. I wanted magic to be what I thought it was when I was young – glittering, instant, sparkling and easy. But as I’ve grown up, I think he’s got a point. We have to make our own magic and we have to recognize it in others too.