A Child’s Magic

The other day I was slicing mushrooms for dinner when my three year old daughter pulled up a stool and climbed up to see what I was doing.
“What you doing, mommy?”
“Getting dinner ready.”
“What kind of dinner?”
“Spaghetti.”
“What’s this?” she asked, holding up a mushroom.
“A mushroom, Jassy, you know that.”
She thought for a moment.
“Not mushroom;” she said,”umbrella.”
“Really,” I said,”whose umbrella?”
“Fairy umbrella.”
“Oh, I see.”
“Not cut fairy umbrella, mommy.”
“I have to Jassy, I need them for dinner.”
“But fairy get wet!”
“It’s okay, Jassy.  The fairies have lots of umbrellas, so they sell some to earn money and so that we can make spaghetti.”
“What fairies buy mommy?”
“Buttons for their coats.”
All was quiet for a moment.
“Where fairies live, mommy?”
“In the forest, Jassy.”
“What kind of forest?”
“Any kind of forest, I guess.  The older the better.”
“Why forest?”
“Fairies like trees, honey.”
“All trees?”
“Yes, all trees.”
She watched me a moment or two longer and then wandered off.  A few minutes later she was back, a solemn look in her eyes.
“Whatcha got there, Jas?” I asked, noticing that her little hand was clenched in a fist.  She opened her hand.  On her palm lay three buttons.
“For fairy coats,”she told me.”Can I give them?”
So after dinner, we walked until we found a tree she thought the fairies would like, and carefully she lay her three buttons beneath it.

My husband and I talked when she was just a baby.  We agreed that I wouldn’t teach her any magic until she was older and wanted to learn.  But I don’t have to teach her.  She’s a child and children instinctively know magic until it’s hammered out of them by parents and teachers who’ve forgotten, or other children who no longer believe.  Some of us are lucky.  There’s a secret door in our souls where magic hides, sending out the faintest of whispers until we find our way back.  Even fewer never forget at all.
I often ask people why they travel the path they do.  The answers are most often spiritually unsatisfying.
“I grew disillusioned with Christianity.”
“It started as a rebellion.”
“It just felt right.”
The last answer, at least, is a reasonable one, and yet, too much is left unsaid.
Why did it feel right?
This is the challenge I have for you.  Look back at your lives.  What whispered to your soul?  Can you recall?  Do you remember the moments in your life that you knew, without a doubt, that magic was alive?  Alive!  Do you remember what it was like knowing that you could fly, if only you could run fast enough?
I’d love to hear from some of you on this.  I want to know which bits and pieces of magic stayed with you after Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were taken away.

When Jasmine and I returned from our walk, she brought a present for her daddy.
“Suprise, daddy!” she called.  “I brought you a present!”
“What is it?”
She opened her hand.
“A pinecone?  For me?  How come?”
“Cause you’re my friend, silly!”
See?  You don’t have to tell kids.  They already know.

 

*Article first appeared in “Synchronicity Magazine”  June/July 2005