The Easter Bunny.
The Tooth Fairy.
Gnomes in the forest and fairies in the flower garden.
For those among you raising your little ones with a healthy dose of magic in their lives, this post is for you.
“Are you the one who fills our Easter baskets?”
The question surprised me, though I had been waiting for it for years.
Wondering when they would ask.
The Easter Bunny? And all of the rest?
The truth is, I was dreading that question.
You see, I did not come easily to the idea of a magical childhood.
Precisely because I knew I would someday have to answer The Question.
When Sage was a baby magic felt like a lie. And I wouldn’t lie to my kids.
No Santa. No Bunny. No magic.
I wanted to be honest with my children. Always. Completely. No exceptions.
But then, as a young mother, a friend convinced me that magic served a very important role in childhood.
That the very nature of childhood is magical, and that magic is where young children should dwell.
Magic sets the young imagination ablaze with possibility.
Magic creates comfort in an overwhelming world.
Magic makes adult concepts digestible to a young developing mind.
Magic makes the unseen possible.
And the more I sat with this idea during Sage’s early days, the more I began to agree.
Magic stopped feeling like a lie, and more like, well, magic.
The decision was cautiously made.
We’d give it a try.
We would invite magic.
For better or for worse.
My reservations quickly faded as I saw awe in my child’s eyes when something magical happened.
Even fireflies became magical to him.
“Look mama! There are stars and fairies all over in the forest!”
Within a moment I knew that we had found a good fit for our family.
And in our home anyway, childhood became a magical experience.
There was magic everywhere!
Standard issue magic folk and playful new creations.
Santa. The Tooth Fairy. Saint Nick. The Easter Bunny.
Also the Rhyme Elves, leaving a poem during the night beside a child’s bed.
The Pumpkin Fairy, transforming Halloween candy into a lovely new toy.
The Solstice Elves, delivering a gift for the children to share each Solstice Eve.
And okay, I’ll even admit to the obscure Van (as in: mini van) Fairies, who would hide a thrift store book in your car seat on a long and trying road trip.
And so many others.
We were rich with fairy folk.
Magic unfolded around us.
And years passed.
And I waited.
For The Question.
Finally it came.
Are you the one who fills our Easter baskets?
It was said with curiosity but not anxiety. Simply. Plainly.
I took my child by the hand and we found a quiet place to sit and talk.
And with my arms wrapped around this growing spirit, this is what I said.
Since you were very small your life has been full of magic.
On holidays and everyday.
Elves, gnomes, and fairies.
Inviting that magic into your life was a decision your papa and I made when you were very small.
Because we believed that a childhood full of magic could help you believe in things you could not see.
And as you get older believing in things you can not see can help you go anywhere you dream to go.
And yes, filling your Easter basket was a part of that.
Along with many other things.
We tried to make magic into something you could see and touch and believe in from the very start.
Because I believe that magic is real.
But it changes as you get older.
And instead of being the winged fairy folk or Easter bunny sort of magic it is a magic that is harder to see and touch than that.
“Yeah,” my child said. “Like the magic of the universe.”
Yes. Like that.
Your papa and I decided that we wanted you to have a magical childhood.
We thought it would help you believe in yourself when things seemed impossible.
We believed it would help you reach for things that others thought were unreachable.
And so just like Nanny and Bumpy did for me and their parents did for them, your papa and I have helped bring magic to life for you.
My child paused only for a moment, then smiled and said,
“It’s still magic. It’s mama magic.”
There was no sadness. No deceit. No disappointment.
Only joy, awe, and a new twist on what it meant to hold magic in our hands.
It all made perfect sense.
To both of us.
And it was time.
And then I passed the torch.
Because once you know this truth, you also become a magic keeper.
Your work is to help keep magic alive for other children who still believe.
And this – this! – was the best part of all.
To pick up the torch and become a part of the magic?
My child could hardly wait to get started.
Yes. It is still magic after all.
It’s mama magic.
It’s papa magic.
And now it is kid magic, too.
And kid magic I suspect is the most powerful magic of all.
They grew up believing.
Who better to keep it alive?
My heart is full.
Originally published in 2013.