The last couple of weeks have provided a few “magical” experiences, thanks to three little maestros.
A few of our friends – all grandparents – look forward to swapping stories of our respective broods when we get together. Our friends, A and R are preparing to celebrate the fifth birthday of their granddaughter, M. The cute little doll has lustrous hair extending well below her knees. Recently she learned about some young kids fighting cancer and announced that she wanted to have her locks shorn off to donate for a wig. I am enchanted by one so young in years taking such a responsible decision.
Close friends, S and E recently came over for dinner and amused us with the latest antics of their soon-to-be seven grandson, Q. As his birthday approaches, Q came up to his grandmother with a piece of paper and asked, “Ammamma (grandmother), do you like to come to my party?” She said of course, so he proceeded to “write” her name on his “list”, then turned to her and said, “That will be three dollars”. She told him Ammammas get to enter free, but he stood firm. S pretended to give him money that he made a show of accepting and putting away stating, “Now you are all checked in. What gift are you going to give me?” The grandmother thought this would a good time to teach Q that one doesn’t ask for gifts, that one says thank you and should be happy with whatever one gets and so on. Q listened patiently but was obviously single-minded in his focus. “Are you going to get me a surprise? What is it going to be?” S said, “If I told you what you will get, it wouldn’t be a surprise any longer”. To which the darling little shyster said, “No, please, please, please tell me. Whisper it in my ear, I promise I won’t know the surprise!!” Spellbinding stuff, isn’t it?
Last weekend, I was putting our seven years old granddaughter, S to bed. Following our established routine, I was requested to tell “at least three Nana (grandfather) stories”. S is becoming an advanced, proficient reader and told me with pride, “Nana, I can now read chapter books and want to read your blogs with the help of my dad!” Thrilled, I decided to use the contents of my April 28 blog to talk about magic. She listened intently to my explanation about how magicians perform their tricks and sitting up suddenly asked, “So, Nana, is there no real magic? Is it only a trick?” I was now in a bind! How could I tell her the “magic dust” that I had been sprinkling around her (and her kid sister’s) bed and their closets to scare dragons and spooky figures away, meant nothing! I was not willing to take responsibility for the age-old Tooth Fairy being made to disappear in a “poof”. And, what about Father Christmas? No, I told her, not everything is a trick just because we cannot see what is really going on, or cannot explain how things happen. If you want a brownie, and mommy suddenly asks you and your sister to help her bake them, that’s magic!
S curled up with her favourite stuffed characters and soon dozed off. But her innocent question continued to vex me late into the night. Do we not believe in miracles? There is magic when we choose to believe in it. The start of a loving relationship. The first protesting wail of a newborn. A chick emerging from the shell of an egg. A magical sunrise or sunset. The still waters of the lake reflecting a silver full moon. A long forgotten melody suddenly coming alive on the radio.
My mentor and guru, late Professor Singh often quoted the example of a little kid, playing all by herself/himself with nothing more than a scrap of paper. This would be enough to keep the child amused for hours on end. It would turn into a boat or an airplane, transform into a house, a doll or just about anything that the child imagined and chose to believe in. Lo, magically that’s exactly what it would appear to be.
I am not suggesting that we remain naïve by continuing to wait either for good days to come or promises that will make us great again, but we do need to believe in magic that could help tide us over the doom and gloom around us.
If kids can do it, so can we.
Peter, Paul and Mary had, back in 1963, crooned about the loss of childhood in this magical piece: