You ask Harlow what she wants for Christmas, and you get one answer:
Not dolls, not a bike, magic.
At the mall last month - in November and just before Thanksgiving, mind you - the eager beaver mall employees had set up a an old fashioned-looking mailbox with a letter writing station to Santa. She hustled to her seat, scribbled on the provided paper and sealed that envelope tight. But before she popped that badboy in the mail she let me proof the final version:
Santa was gonna have to put on his big boy pants for this one.
Magic! This has been of debate for quite some time in our family, the desire to create and preserve the mystery of magic for our children but also wanting to impart some critical reasoning/i.e. not break her heart when she realizes that "magic" is not going to come sprinkling out her magic wand and send wings shooting out from underneath her shouder blades. When she was 2 1/2, we stood on the front porch, the day of reckoning at hand as she had on her tinkerball costume, her wand pointed to the sky and her impossibly huge eyes on me as she waited for the magic to kick in. She told me matter of fact-ly that she was ready to fly. I told her that we could pretend and jump as high as we could.
She burst into tears.
So did I.
But despite my fumbling, lame attempts to foster her beliefs while simultaneously debunking them (of course Santa is real! Of course monsters aren't!) at nearly five she's not ready to give up believing in magic, and I'm not ready to stop providing her with ample evidence that it's alive and well in the Sweazy residence.
Nearly everyday she finds "magic" diamonds in our yard, these sparkly black rocks she wipes off on her pants and then adds to the rock collection on the window sill (next to jar with the rock collection I started at around the same age). So Santa was going to bring a rock tumbler for sure. And a vegetable garden whose roots are visible through an ant farm-like contraption. Magic was quickly taking on a very seventies, Mr. Wizard, of the earth variety. But the kid loves some magic tricks after watching a magician perform and catching some tricks in the you tube, she would be getting a magic kit and a hat and a wand.
But what about the, you know, magic part of the magic?
On Christmas morning, Harlow made her way down the stairs, eyeing the bounty of wrapped presents and happily digging through her stocking. She was excited, but she wasn't really feeling the magic.
But then she saw the typewriter.
We have an antique typewriter that rests by the TV, and lo and behold, Santa typed her a letter. He told her that he had received her list and hoped (oh did he hope) that she saw the magic in her gifts. Oh and that he shared some of his cookies with the fairies outside by the hollow tree.
About 4 seconds later Harlow was bundled up and throwing on boots and dashing out to the tree in the yard where fairies had left her notes in the hollow of the tree.
Today there was a door in its base.
When she opened the door, she found a letter addressed to her. Caleb read it aloud - it was a scavenger hunt, a hunt that sent her all over the yard with a shovel digging up something pretty magical indeed.
Having learned months ago that geodes are usually only found around volcanos and caves, she was pretty thrilled to suddenly find them scattered all over her front yard. BY FAIRIES. She followed the clues and gathered them up, bringing them to the garage where we could smash them open with a hammer and some safety glasses. She was pretty dazzled by the sparkly crystals inside, and one geode in particular yielded an impressive, gemlike sparkler. She gasped upon seeing it, closed her eyes, and made a wish.
Caleb and I spent the day feeling pretty satisfied. The girl had magic tricks and the magic of the earth, la la la, and a freaking rock tumbler and a fairy-led scavenger hunt, so magic was all up in this joint as far as we were concerned. It was only around bedtime that she plopped into my lap and asked me point blank why, after wishing on the diamond in her geode, she hadn't been transformed into a real fairy princess.
I told her a story about two brothers who wished they had fairy wings. They wished so hard that they got tired of waiting and decided to invent their own way of flying, ultimately designing the first flying airplane. I told her that imagination was a truly powerful kind of magic and with hers, who knew what she would be able to dream into being.
And then she rolled her eyes at me and promptly got up out of my lap.