Sunday, May 11th, 2014...1:47 pm

I Believe In Fairies

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This Mother’s Day weekend, I’ve had the extreme honor of participating as a cast member in the Listen To Your Mother Austin show. Sharing my story along with fourteen other talented women, reading before a live audience for the first time, hearing the support of so many of my family and friends have made this an experience beyond what I imagined it would be. Being part of the cast was the greatest Mother’s Day gift I could imagine.

Today, I’m sharing the piece I read in the show. It was a piece I started working on last Mother’s Day for BlogHer and added to this spring to submit to Listen To Your Mother.

I Believe In Fairies

It’s the moment before my fingers hit his skin that he laughs the most. The moment where he anticipates the tickling, anticipates his own laughter. I haven’t yet reached him, but he knows it’s coming. He stares into my eyes and his whole body smiles, tenses, releases.

I finally reach down to tickle and he laughs harder, barely breathes as he squirms away only to look right up and say, “More!”

I didn’t know this before I was a mother. I didn’t know that the split second before the tickle is the best part, the moment when it is all still just a possibility, a thought hanging there in front of you.

I didn’t really believe it when people used to tell me that anything is possible. I refused to believe in magic; I failed to relish the moments when possibility hung in the air like a promise.

The white fluff from the cottonwood tree down the street fills our lawn with possibility each spring. My daughter, Nora reminds me not to step on the white “feathers,” the wings of fairies who make our world more beautiful while we are too busy to notice.

Last week we walked hand-in-hand to the store for an evening treat and as we rushed across the busy road she looked at me, full of seriousness, and said, “I believe in fairies, Mom.”

“I do too,” I told her.

Six years ago, I never would have said that. And if I had, it would have been a lie.

Before I was a mother, possibility scared me off. I used to think that imagining possibility was naïve, maybe even stupid. I had dreams and wishes for myself that I kept quiet, that seemed impossible, that I have only voiced since becoming a mother — because as I watch two small children grow, as I see the whole world as one big possibility through their eyes, I can’t help but start to believe that they are right. That there is much more magic out there than we adults usually admit.

They show me each day that life is full of possibility.

I see it when I catch them holding hands on the couch as they sip their milk.

I feel it when her eyelashes flutter on my cheek as the closing act to the long show of bedtime.

I hear it every time he says “Mama,” purposefully, with love in his eyes and pride in his voice.

Children believe in fairies, pretend to be superheroes, think they can fly and capture magic in their hands. I may have believed this once long ago when I was young too. But I had forgotten it until I started to pin capes to the back of every t-shirt he wore, until I helped build a home for fairies out of old rocks and leaves, until I watched her jump fearlessly into 10 feet of water with complete confidence in her own power, until they forced me to slow down and notice that believing in the things we can’t see doesn’t make me weak or ignorant. It may, in fact, do just the opposite.

My kindergartener draws unicorns. She draws them almost every day at school. She adds rainbow wings and rainbow tails and rainbow manes. We walk into her classroom and she hands me a unicorn. And each day that she does this I celebrate the magic that is childhood. The magic that is motherhood. I plaster my walls with these unicorns lest I forget for even a moment to believe in possibility.

She came home this week with a book about unicorns and their magic. We sat and read the rhymes about the magical creatures. She insists that they were real, that they may still exist. And I can’t argue with her. I won’t. Because maybe they are. Maybe one day we’ll walk through a forest and there one will stand, single-horned and majestic. Because as the book said, “…there has to be some belief in the magic – however small – for any world to survive.”

Motherhood has shown me that magic hides all around us in the mundane, that life is all about the possibilities.

I’ve now watched two children learn to jump. I’ve watched them bend their knees and think about getting air-born. I’ve watched them leap with only one foot successfully leaving the ground over and over and over and over again until they give up for the moment, completely undiscouraged. I’ve watched the magical moment when it happens, when both feet leave the ground and for a split second they feel like they are flying. They believed it was possible. And it always turns out that they were right.

ltym piece

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