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Magic is real as long as you believe… AND I DON’T

 

(in a park, sitting on a bench with Hank while Molly frolics)

Molly: Mama! Mamamamama Chicken, Looooook! (pointing) Fairy-dragon-butterfly!!!

Me: (noticing the dragon fly resting on a leaf in the park stream) Magia (Magic)!

Molly: (screaming with the full force of her mighty being at the fairy-dragon-butterfly) MAGIA!

Hank: (giggling)

Me: (to Hank) She is going to love the fairy door this year. Think of all the wonderful things she will learn from Paige Portensia Xanthro Sprigh.

Hank: (shoulders sink)

Me:

Hank:

Me: You’re thinking rather loudly.

Hank: Mama, who is Paige Portensia?

Me: The director of Far Flung Fairies, Inc. The celestial corporation that maintains and manages our Fairy Door.

Hank: Mama, who wrote the letters?

Me: Paige Portensia.

Hank: Mama.

Me: Magic is only real…

Hank: (annoyed, interrupting) I KNOW, I know! Magic is only real as long as you believe and I don’t.

Me: Oh.

Hank: You wrote the letters?

Me: Yes.

Hank: And you took the art and left the fairy money?

Me: Guilty. (pause) Are you mad?

Hank: A little. I am a little mad. I really, really believed.

Me: And now you have chosen to stop so the magic is gone and all you have left is your silly mother who loved making the magic for you.

Hank: (deep sigh)

Me:

Hank:

Me: You know, your pai (dad) hated my fairy mischief.

Hank: Really?

Me: OH yah. He hated when I painted coins with nail polish late at night because the whole apartment smelled like varnish. He also is the reason Santa never came to our house. He felt so betrayed when he stopped believing in magic. He felt lied to. Do you feel lied to?

Hank: A little. Yes, I do.

Me: I am sorry.

Hank: And you hate lying.

Me: I do, but I don’t feel that creating Paige Portensia was lying. I feel I made magic for you and for me. It was magical the look on your face, the way your heart sang because you had a door in your house where magic seeped through. It is your choice to stop believing and I respect that.

Hank: But is wasn’t real.

Me: Yes, it was.

Hank: But you did it not fairies.

Me: That doesn’t mean that magic isn’t real.

Hank: (disdain) You really still believe in magic and fairies?

Me: I do. I really do. I am being entirely sincere, because magic is real as long as I believe in it and as long as I help make magic for other people. Magic is like art. There are two ways of looking at art: one is with wonder and the other is with indifference. Those full of wonder marvel at a work of art and it moves them as only the piece can move that special, individual soul and those who live indifferent to art look at it and think, “I could have made that. What’s so special about that? How could that fetch millions of dollars?” It’s the same with magic.

Hank: I am mad, a bit, but I am more sad since I loved it all so much. I am sad it is over.

Me: But why is it over?

Hank: What do you mean? I know none of it was real!

Me: Ah, yes. I did write letters and collect your beautiful drawings and teeth, but part of the glory of magic is making it for others. And look over there at that silly, romping, little sister. You can advise me to the contrary, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she is going to love our fairy door and all the magic that you and I can make for her. That we can make together… if you wish.

Molly: (poking the creek bottom with a rather long stick, enraptured with stirring up algae)

Hank:

Me:

Hank:

Me:

Hank: I think I don’t know how I feel.

Me: And that is perfectly okay.

Hank: I think I am going to want her to believe. I think I still want to believe and am mad I have to grow up!

Me: But why do you have to grow up?

Hank: MOOOOOM, seriously.

Me: Oh, but I am being serious. Dead serious. Growing up is a trap. If you are 95 years old and not looking for dragons hiding in castle corners I feel epically sorry for you.

Hank: Really mom?!

Me: Truly. You can be mature, serious, own a house and a car, have children, a career and pay all your bills every month, but if you have no magic in your life, no whimsy, no delight in nonsense and far too few belly laughs I pity you. With the depths of my soul I am the richest woman I know because I still believe and therefore I live a magical life.

Hank: (harrumph)

Me: Thank you for not being too angry with me, Hank, I couldn’t bare it. And besides (putting my arm around his shoulder) we had so much fun, didn’t we?

Hank: (cracking a smile)

Me: Could you imagine your childhood any other way? Without sleeping dragons and dragon stew? Without the fairy door and magical art show profits? Without wands and bedtime stories and mischief?

Hank: No.

Me: Then be mad as long as you want, but please think about aiding in the magic of your sister’s childhood. I am pretty positive if we both contribute we can create something amazing.

Hank:

Me:

Molly: MANO (brother)! MANO (brother)!!!!

Hank: Já vai (coming). (getting up to walk away but turning back) I’ll think about it, mom.

Me: Thanks, buddy.

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Magic, Post and Pai Natal (Santa Claus)

"Magic doesn't just happen YOU make it happen." A page from my book Shoe Mice. Illustrated by Nervo.

“Magic doesn’t just happen YOU make it happen.” A page from my book Shoe Mice. Illustrated by Nervo.

 

(Hank, Pai and I are sat at the table for a late dinner. Molly, who ate much earlier, is sat at the table with a doll house and singing to herself while she decorates each room)

Molly: (singing to the tune of jingle bells) Pai Natal, Pai Natal, Natal, Natal, Natal (Santa Claus, Santa Claus, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas.)

Me: This is the year.

Pai: Yup.

Hank: This is what year?

Me: This is the year Molly will understand and be excited for Christmas.

Pai: The last two years she was too small.

Hank: Oh. (pause)

Me: We have to decide what we are going to do this year about Pai Natal (Santa Claus). Pai (dad) is against Pai Natal (Santa Claus) coming to our house.

Pai: I do not want Pai Natal (Santa Claus) to enter our home. I like to make Christmas. I don’t like anyone else doing it for me.

Me: Which is what led to me writing the letter to Pai Natal (Santa Claus) asking him not to come here when you were born.

Hank: So you already wrote the letter for Molly?

Me: Nope. We needed to have a family meeting about this. Do we want the same for Molly? Are we three happy to make the magic for her?

Pai: You know how I feel.

Hank: Some kids don’t want to believe and magic is only real as long as you believe it is real. Pai Natal (Santa Claus) is magic and if you don’t believe he isn’t real.

Me: What do you believe?

Hank: I believe in magic. I also believe that you make magic.

Me: (nodding, happy that my lectures over the years have stuck)

Hank: I don’t think Pai Natal (Santa Claus) should come to our house. We should write him the letter saying “no, thank you.”

Molly: (singing, focus still on adding more and more teeny-tiny milk bottles to her tiny refrigerator) Please, No Thank You. Please, No Thank You. Please, Please, Please, Please, No Thank You.

Hank: But how do you even get a letter to Pai Natal? Through our fairy door?

Me: I am sure Paige Portensia Xanthro Sprigh is far too busy with teeth collection to handle a message to the North Pole. No, we send a letter through the post office.

Hank: The actual Post Office?

Pai: The Post Office takes letters to Pai Natal (Santa Claus) very seriously.

Hank: Seriously?

Me: Seriously. We will use the beautiful stationary that papa bought me in Vienna and I will write to Pai Natal (Santa Claus) this weekend asking him to officially exclude Molly from his deliveries.

Hank: But how does the Post Office know where to send the letter?

Me: Easy, we use his address.

Hank: Pai Natal (Santa Clause) has an address?

Me: Sure. Pai Natal, Pole Norte. (Santa Clause, North Pole).

Hank: And it gets to him?

Me: The mail is always delivered.

Hank: How?

Me: Well, I don’t know, maybe we should ask our friend, Anna, in Lapland.

Pai: Good idea. She would know.

Hank: In Finland?

Me: Yes. Anna lives in Lapland, the very edge of the human world. The last human outpost before the North Pole. Maybe she will know how the post is handled.

Pai: Maybe.

Hank: It is hard giving Pai Natal (Santa Claus) to other children who really need him. Teachers and neighbors don’t understand. I will help Molly with that part.

Me: OH the stress and drama we endured every year! You were beside yourself with worry that Pai Natal (Santa Claus) would get confused and bring you a present anyway. It was a nightmare for your poor nerves and mine!

Hank: I know now that wouldn’t have happened.

Me: (raised eyebrow)

Pai: You do?

Hank: Yes, you two made the magic. O Espírito de Natal (The spirit of Christmas) is made by parents. 

Pai: In our house.

Hank: In every house.

Me: (nodding, because no one ever called him dumb, not one day, and suddenly, although he was born yesterday, Hank is nine and he gets it)

Pai: (making eye contact with Hank, acknowledging that we know he knows what he knows we know)

Hank: I don’t mind. I like it this way.

Me: And this year the magic will be made by three and it will be extra special.

Hank: I’m excited to make magic for my sister.

Pai: (winking at me) You learned from the best!

Article

Peas

conversations with hank

 

Molly: (toddles into the living room, points to the TV) Happy Days!

Hank: Not now, mana (sister). It is my turn. (driving to Nice, France on the Xbox) You already watched Panda Caricas (singing dancing kids programing) and Ruca (Caillou in the states).

Molly: (belly out, knees locked, bottom lip out, pointing at the TV) HAPPY DAYS!

Hank: Mana (sister), I told you.

Me: (looking up from my book) Besides, you didn’t say, please, Amália.

Molly: (wanting to cry)

Me: (interrupting the tears before they can begin, saying in a sweet voice) Nope! No. No way, little one. (scooping her up in my arms) No way, no how!

Hank: We don’t get what we want when we cry.

Monica (our cousin staying with us for the summer): Amália, would you like some yogurt?

Molly: (from pout to delighted in under a second) SIM! (Yes)

Me: Sim, se faz favor, prima. (yes, if you please, cousin) Yes, please. Please. Yogurt, please.

Hank: And if that is too hard to say, say peas. Peas! We will understand you.

(a little while later, after yogurt)

Monica: Amália. Can you say your name? Say Amália.

Molly: No! (folding her arms and turning away)

Monica: Come on, Amália. You only say your name to you mãe (mom). Say Amália.

Molly: (full throttle sass) No! PEAS. (pause for dramatic affect) PEEEEEEEES.

Monica: (catching on) Oh, I am sorry. How rude of me. Amália, can you please say your name.

Molly: (thinking)

Monica: I would love to hear you say it, please.

Molly: (milking her new found power for all it’s worth)

Monica: Please?

Molly: (side eye) Ah-Molleee-Ah.

Monica: (delighted) Oh and where is Amália?

Molly: (proud, hugging herself) Aqui (right here).

Monica: Thank you, Amália.

Molly: (arms wrapped around her prima’s neck giving her a big hug) De-na-da (you’re welcome).

Hank: (whispers to me, driving through the Amafi Coast) Did you hear, mama?

Me: (book on my chest having witnessed the whole wonderful conversation, whispering back) Yes, I did.

Hank: (taking a hard left, whispers) She’s growing up.

Me: (whispering back) She sure is.