Thursday, October 10, 2013

Do You Believe in Magic?

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I do.

Yesterday I was eating lunch with my boys on a blanket and Super Gordon was lying on his back, looking up at the clouds, his cape draped round his shoulders. When he saw it - the dragon breathing smoke out of its teeth - I saw it too. Spreading its white scales into the blue bliss. So I nestled my head next to his, tried to see what else he could see.

Moments later, we found a praying mantis. Biggest one we've ever seen. I thought they would burst with excitement.

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It's a magic realm they live in. Untethered, free of boundaries, where can't happens and no ways don't exist. Occasionally I slip into that place too. They take my hand and I remember. 

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Willa's Fairy Festival

"We all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up...

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The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good... Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don't know it's happening until one day you feel you've lost something but you're not sure what it is. It's like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you 'sir.' It just happens."

- Robert R. McCammon, Boys' Life

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It happens to all of us. But that is why I keep the media minimal, why I let the Fairy Festival trump dance class, and why my girls believe Freidah, Lunah, and Gelsey (their fairies) will visit with every equinox and solstice. I want to preserve the innocence. I want them to live the magic as long as they can.

Too soon the big, harsh world comes clattering down. People we love die, accidents happen, and we come face to face with real disappointment, loneliness, weakness. 

The world is going to need adults who had imaginative childhoods. Who know how to dream, create, and push us into new levels of exploration, science, technology. It needs parents who can raise a healthy, strong generation. A generation that values innocence and goodness.

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So we tiptoed through the fairy gardens, noticed twin fairy babes tucked into a walnut shell.

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Took our picture next to the floating castle.

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Oooohed and Ahhhhed over the many miniature fairy dwellings.

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And oohed and ahhhed over the treats. Cupcakes, cake pops, brownies, lollies.

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All proceeds benefit a charity or cause, in the name of baby Willa. This year money went to local scholarships for women.

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The girls' were allowed one treasure. A glow ring for Ali, a purse for Eliza, a fairy dust necklace for Samantha.

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Kara joined us, with little Caleb on her back. I love those teensy toes.

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This year they even had a swing that sailed out over the creek.

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It's amazing. All the hours of work and preparation that go into pulling this one night together.

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We left, dancing and spinning with fairy wands.

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So when Eliza saw the sign at our local nursery for Halloween Fairy Gardens, I said yes. 

Yes we will make them. 

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Each of the girls dug a hole for angel vine, patted it gently into a pot. Angel vine is the perfect house plant. Delicate in look but hardy, and requires only medium light.

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The girls picked crab apples and placed them in little wheel barrows, formed rock paths, lined them with moss, and hung tiny black lanterns on a hook. 

Eliza and Sami had the idea of making banners. Each with a different message.

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Trick or Treat!

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These two were so giggly I couldn't get them to hold still.

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Oh, I mourn the thought of moving past these magical days. Things will change for us in the next few years. Eliza is asking difficult questions lately, wanting to understand the world. And my boys? They're looking so long and lanky, talking so confidently, saying their full names.

Thankfully, when I ask for a hug, they still come running, throw their arms round my neck with gusto. Hug me tight, grit their teeth, and show their muscle.

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"Stay a child while you can be a child." 

- Stephen Sondeheim, Into the Woods

Call me idealistic, but I'm determined to prolong the innocence and joy as long as I can. Do you remember it? That feeling of wonder? Of your imagination whizzing with possibilities so grand you couldn't sleep? Lucky us, to experience it again, as parents. As voyeurs looking in.

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Swinging with Ali

Lately, I am extremely aware of my weaknesses. But my children look beyond my mistakes. They heal my soul. Again and again. I need their clarity and love.

It's like... magic.


  1. This was magical to read! I think I will surprise my girls with a craft day to make their own fairy gardens too. I have one daughter who absolutely loves to garden but is so sad when everything dies down in the fall. This will be great fun for her!

  2. That was so beautiful Cath! Spoke right to my heart!

  3. chocolate - your daughter sounds so tender. what a sweetheart. i've found fairy garden "decor" at michael's, on amazon, and at local nurseries in our area. good luck! i'd love to see how they turn out!

    knit one, knit two - good to hear from you. sending you much happiness.

    lynley - you are so kind to read. can't tell you how much i appreciated your note here.

  4. Such a gorgeous post, thank you. Spoke right into my soul :)

  5. Beautiful! Loved reading your thoughts.

  6. I love every word, every photo. You are such a gifted writer. I love your ability to create magic and the fairy dust you sprinkle into my life.

  7. Such a pleasure to meet you again last weekend. What a beautiful post and reminder how precious imagination and childhood go hand in hand. I believe in fairies...I do I do!

  8. That quote by McCammon is amazing.


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