The kiddos and I are eating breakfast one morning when my daughter sighs deeply into her Cheerios. “Magic’s not real, is it, Mommy?”
I drop my biscuit. Gosh, that hope rests so tremulous in her little girl voice. I’ve worked hard at instilling wonder and believing in possibilities that I have no idea where this is stemming from; did someone in her preschool class tell her Santa didn’t exist? This innocence is so important to me that I don’t want to say the wrong thing. So I take a big swig of coffee. Choke a little bit. Realize I need more information (Something I recently discovered to do when I don’t know how to respond, like when they asked where babies come from. Never answer a kid’s question at face value, I’ve learned.)
“What do you mean?”
She shifts in her booster seat. “Well, princesses aren’t real.”
Nervous, I launch into a monologue about the differences between our democracy and a monarchy, and by the time her eyes glaze over, something catches my attention out the window behind her. A Gulf fritillary deposits eggs on the passionflower vines that climb up the posts on our back patio.
I point it out to her. “That’s kind of magical, isn’t it? That butterfly is laying a teeny, tiny egg, and we’ll get to watch the caterpillars hatch and grow, then harden into chrysalises that look like dried leaves curled into question marks. And then a butterfly comes out!”
She looks doubtful, but nods. “What about pixie dust? There’s nothing like that in this world.”
By now, I know how to answer her, how to answer this question of faith, and believing, and growing up but holding onto possibility. “Look at the patio table outside. What’s on it?”
My son yells, “Pollen!” He’s happy to be able to contribute to such a serious discussion. And poor thing, he knows all about pollen because every time something new blooms he gets congested.
I nod. “And what does pollen do?”
“Turns your car yellow!”
“Gets in my nose and makes boogers!”
I laugh. “What do bees and butterflies do with pollen?”
“Takes it to all the flowers. Bees make honey, too.”
“And isn’t that what Tinker Bell and all her friends do with pixie dust? Use it to help things grow? It turns seeds into flowers, and acorns into oak trees?”
She nods, the smile on her face showing me she’s satisfied with my explanation. We’re both happy that she can see the magic now. Because really, it’s all at how you look at things. As Roald Dahl wrote:
This breakfast exchange got me thinking of how nice it would be to have these little reminders of all the magic constantly around us, though maybe we’re too tired, or too busy, or too in ‘our world’ as my daughter called it, to see. So I’m going to start a hashtag on my author page and twitter called #everydaymagic.
And I’d really love it if you’d play along too. Seeing from someone else’s perspective is a magic unto itself.