Once upon a time there was a young girl. She liked all the usual young girl stuff: make-believe, fairy tales, witches, wizards and monsters. Well.. the kinda usual stuff. The girl befriended two other young girls who liked all the same things she did. The girl’s mother never bothered to try explaining that the stuff she liked wasn’t really real, figuring at 8 years old she surely must know that by now.
The 3 girls did lots of fantastical stuff together. They made potions, wrote chants and charms, and concocted their own recipes for turning into magical creatures or for gaining magic powers. Their conversations shifted over time to a book that purportedly contained all the secrets behind wizardry, and they were enamored. Each girl took turns checking the book out of their school library and studied it cover to cover.
The book told of a special school for young people to learn the art of wizardry. Much like Hogwarts, only the girls tell me that Hogwarts isn’t real because it was made up in a fiction book. The book that they were reading had to be non fiction because it contained factual information in it like how to choose your animal spirit and what materials you would need to build a wand [all of which the girl promptly added to her Christmas wish list].
One day as the girl and the mother ate dinner together, the girl posed a loaded question:
Mom, do you believe that I can really go to Odwards Academy?
Of course the mom didn’t believe that, but she wasn’t ready to blow up the girl’s charades. Obviously the girl had to know that it’s not possible to go to this school from the book on wizardry… right?
So she answered sweetly, saying something along the lines of “If you believe that you can go there, then I believe in you”.
Yes, she pulled that answer out of her ass. No, the girl wasn’t buying it for a minute. But she did drop the subject for a few days, and they went on living their lives.
A few days later (which happens to be today), the girl started packing a bag with clothes and books and dolls. Curious, the mother asked why she was packing up her stuff. The girl indicated that she is leaving for Odwards in January and needs to get started on packing now because she’s bringing most of her things with her. Apparently she’ll be gone for 2 years! She did promise to visit though, crisis averted.
So how does one get to Odwards, you ask? Well, the girl has put in a special request with Santa Claus for a magic bean that she can throw to the ground, causing it to explode and create a portal right out of thin air. Because of course a magic item like that has to come from a magic person like Santa Claus, where in the world would a lame old human like me get my hands on a magic bean like that? Totally logical.
The mother decided once again to let it go, hoping that eventually the girl will give it up. At the very least, she can help fabricate a story about how this project didn’t work for one dastardly reason or another.. or at least that’s what I’m telling myself for now.
Er.. the mother, that’s what the mother told herself. All I know is I hope that lady’s kid gets with reality so that the lady doesn’t have to be the mean person that says “no, your story is ridiculous and it could never happen”. Nobody likes to be a dream crusher, am I right?
In other news, Little J lost a tooth the other day. It was a pretty big deal for me because I was tested!!! She sat me down at the table, looked me in the eyes and said: “Are you the tooth fairy?”
Well fuck, wasn’t prepared for that one.
I don’t know if you’re picking up on the reason for this post’s title… but I’ve been living a big lie here lately. Lying to the kid left and right between lost teeth, magic portals and the goddamn fat man that mysteriously brings presents to our apartment every year on December 25 while we are at my mother’s house.
In fact, I’ve been living one big fat lie for the last 8 years… and I think my cover is about to be blown. Little J is coming to an age where she understands a lot, and can read me like a book. It’s getting harder to come up with whimsical ways to explain away all the things that don’t make sense.. like how the tooth fairy carries around all that money and what she does with the teeth. Or how no one has ever seen Santa even with all the video surveillance in people’s homes and around the world. The simple answer of “MAGIC” is no longer flying around these parts.
So I got myself a big kid on my hands, and I’m not sure I’m ready for all the magic to die. I don’t want her to know that I’ve been sneaking into her room late at night to add another tiny tooth to the collection that is growing under my jewelry box (and why do I keep them anyway? EW.) I don’t want her to know that the super sweet letters she writes to Santa are just thrown away and that her Poppop is the one munching on cookies every Christmas Eve. I don’t want her to know that my husband and I map out the location of dozens of eggs every Spring for the kids to find and that it’s not some floppy eared bunny doing the work.
I’m not ready for her to grow up to the next stage of childhood… because it means that she is closer to leaving it. Closer to becoming a preteen.
Even worse, closer to becoming a teenager and my sworn mortal enemy for a period of 3-5 years.