Please be aware that this post contains spoilers which may affect the holiday celebrations of your family.
I have spent a week now focusing on joy and it has been fabulous. There have been some changes in who I am and the way I look at things. It’s been exciting. But it is not to say that everything has been perfect and easy. Not too long ago Daughter came to us and let us know that she “knows the truth” about Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. There had not been opportunities for the magical mythical creatures who define youth (in our family culture, anyway) to make an appearance since this revaluation. It had been an emotional experience, but we’d all weathered it well and come out the other side.
And then Daughter lost a tooth.
It was no big deal, really. We were at the community pool for the first time of the year and as Daughter was climbing the stairs for the waterslide for the tenth time- a huge accomplishment by the way- she abruptly turned around and walked back to me in my cozy chair. She handed me a tooth and we were both relieved as it had become irritating in the past few days. We laughed at the casualness with which it came out. She went back to sliding. I went back to trying to read.
That night Daughter was a bear, behaviorally speaking. She was grumpy and rude and snapped at us for everything. We had no idea what could have brought it on. Being in the sun all day can exhaust you, though, and add to that the hours of swimming and sliding and we thought it was a case of being overtired. We didn’t excuse the behavior but we felt good knowing where it was coming from. At bed time she broke down into wracking sobs, just utterly inconsolable tears. She couldn’t articulate what was bothering her which is pretty rare for our little one. Then she took a deep breath and said, “I’m just so disappointed that there’s less magic than I thought.”
I’ve been fighting the fact that Daighter is growing up a lot lately. I’ve been telling her no and actively and physically trying to make her slow down. That comment let me know I was losing the battle. Husband and I talked with her for quite a while about the magic that we choose to see in the world. We talked about our God and nature. We shared stories of Saint Nicholas and people we love. We talked about fate and chance. She was still disappointed but definitely felt better. She went off to brush her teeth.
Husband and I each shed a few of our own tears while Daughter brushed that night. I think we were both wondering how much of the magic we really do believe in. I think that both of us are going to seek the magic in life along with the joy. It’s there if you look hard enough. And after she brushed those teeth, Daughter explained why she knows fairies are definitely real, so at least she still has that, and I can hold onto my baby just a little bit longer.