Sunday, February 25, 2018
"See, it's the Easter stuff. Mom brought it home from her trip. I knew there was no Easter Bunny," she said.
Inside the suitcase were colorful plastic eggs, chocolates, plastic green grass and two small baskets.
I attempted to soften the truth. "Maybe the Easter Bunny gave Mom the stuff to bring home to us. He's got a lot of homes to visit, you know."
She wasn't buying it. And that was the end of it. Suspension of disbelief dissolved. Childhood's dead end. I was nine and my sister seven at the time.
"No, Mom's the Easter Bunny. And everything else, too."
It didn't just happen in that moment, though. The magical world of little baby Jesus, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Herbie the Love Bug (I owned that one), Star Wars (which was beyond my childhood years but probably the most impactful on me long-term), and so many more childhood pleasantries that carried us through our early years finally faded in the harsh light of domestic violence, divorce and sexual abuse. Keeping the faith can be difficult in even the best of times, much less the worst. Even the Mama (what I lovingly call my wife) didn't have the greatest of childhoods.
Ugh. What a buzz kill, right? That was our reality, though. Thankfully we survived it and grew up course correcting as best we could until we had our own children, rebooting the magical world of belief yet again.
The Mama has been the magical architect to date, especially when it comes to Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the East Bunny and fairies in general. (We're even talking about God now, but that's an article for another time.) However, you can't get any more excited about something as magical as fairies when you have girls (although I'm sure there are boys that dig them, too). For a few years our girls were immersed in the new Disney Tinker Bell and friends movies (great girl power stories, by the way). When I got to go to Ireland back in 2015, I purchased fairy doors for the girls, and ever since, they both have written note after note to the fairies -- Berry and Spark are their names. Of course the girls ask for things all the time, jewels and other gifts.
And the fairies, they do write back. The Mama helps with that, taking the time to write in a fancy fairy cursive each time she responds. Recently though the writing in the notes has changed, and I was clueless as to why. I thought the notes were all from the Mama each and every time.
But there's a new magical sage in our house and she's looking out for her little sister, keeping the "fairy" fires stoked as long as possible. Our eldest Beatrice, who does still want to believe in Santa, has become more aware of the veil between fantasy and reality. Probably hearing it at school as well, Bea decide to help us out with keeping the magic alive for her little sister.
Bryce wanted a shelf elf. Never a tradition for me or the Mama, Bryce first saw them on one of her kids' YouTube channel shows and immediately shouted from the rooftops for one. So we ordered one for five dollars and girls tracked its travels via USPS from China, an adventure all its own. The day it was supposed to be delivered, it wasn't, and we thought it lost forever. So we ordered another, and then they both arrived.
Pinky and Cotton Candy. Those are the names of our pink shelf elves. Our year-round, all-purpose shelf elves. For those of you that participate in the Christmastime shelf elfing shenanigans, you know how you move it around your house and stage it doing stuff. Not creepy at all, right? First, it was the Mama moving Pinky around for Bryce, leaving a note in response to Bryce's requests for Pinky to do stuff.
Then more recently, Beatrice started doing it, writing notes as Pinky and Cotton Candy for Bryce and moving them (yes, the shelf elves are girls) around the house. Then early one morning before Bryce awoke, Bea asked me to help her get Pinky set up eating Girl Scout cookies (S'mores -- super yum) on the kitchen counter with a note that said:
Sorry I ate a cookie but it was good. I didn't want to eat a lemon one because I am allergic to lemonades. I didn't want to eat the peanut butter because I eat peanut butter on toast. I was also looking around the house too and I love your house.
Or something like that. Nope, not creepy at all. Plus, it's not always easy to read shelf elf, you know. And even though Bea's on the precipice of leaving the magic of childhood, we know she'll hold on to it as long as she can. One way to do that is to keep it alive with her sister, elfing it up every chance she can get. We're also thankful we can and do provide much safer and stable environment that we grew up in, one that encourages imaginative thought and creative outlets.
"Bryce, did you see that? They just moved!" Bea exclaimed just this morning, moving the elves seconds before.
"No, they didn't. You moved them," Bryce said, not quite sure.
"No, I didn't do anything! I swear they moved!"
Eyes light up. A smile appears. The magic's alive. Amen.