At a local Artisan Fair this past weekend, my three boys and I chose an unfortunate route that traveled right next to The Children's Booth just before a Magic Act was starting.
Harv and I had to sit in the back as we cringed at how awful this "Magician" (a creepy looking man with a mustache, of course) was at both magic and jokes. As in: he was controlling a sweet young volunteer girl's arm to hit himself in the gut.
But. Then we looked up front where our boys were sitting and saw them laughing hysterically.
The failing magician's last magic trick: He gave each child a penny. And they had to follow his instructions: "Press it firmly between your hands, squeeze it tightly, and repeat my name three times... And then open your hands."
It was still a penny (though I confess, I did look).
He then instructed: "Yes, it is still only a penny. However, the magic will happen tonight while you're sleeping. When you wake up in the morning you will discover it will have changed into a loonie (a Canadian one-dollar coin). And if it doesn't work, have your parents call me tomorrow. Here's my card."
This marketing disaster was a total sell on my 6-year-old. He held tightly to his penny in his coppery hands all afternoon and couldn't wait to put it under his pillow when we got home.
Sure enough, as soon as he woke up the next morning, I heard him shriek: "Mom! Dad! Look! I have a loonie! It worked!"
Though I wonder how he would've reacted if the magic hadn't worked. I do believe that this child totally expected it to. The way he totally expects lunch in his lunchbox and me to cuss loudly when I spill something.
Myles, the 8-year-old, was a bit more skeptical. He came to my bed that same morning, loonie in hand, and asked, "Mom, you put the loonies there, didn't you?"
And mostly because this child already has trouble sleeping, I decided to alleviate any additional anxiety about a creeper's strange magic happening right underneath his pillow. I said, "Of course I did, but don't tell your brother."
But then he came back a few minutes later: "Mom, is it you that does the teeth too?"
I first asked him, "Do you really want to know?"
"Well, do you really think a strange little fairy creature comes into the house and flies into your room at night to steal your teeth?"
He seemed ready to give up his suspended logic, though I could tell he also wanted to hang on to the fantasy a bit longer. The same way I approach a scale. He was a little hesitant, but couldn't admit it.
Finally, "Of course not Mom, I've know that for years."
I reminded again, "Just please don't tell your brother yet."
"I won't Mom. It'll be our little secret."
A smirk, a nod, and a mother-son moment: I had welcomed him into the adult world where magic is only pretend and where we all tacitly agree to play along when we watch young people who think it's real.
Just a normal parenting moment. Ri-ight?
It was sweet and funny and horribly sad at the same time.
There is no re-entry stamp available for those who exit the land of innocence.
This is a loss that substantiates grief.
Someone told me while I was pregnant: "When you deliver that child, you'll deliver a part of your heart, and from then on your heart will live outside of your body."
My little hoarder came back once more and asked, "So what did you do with all of my teeth?"
And, today, a bonus. These Canadian authors aren't so bad:
"The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise."--Alden Nowlan,Canadian poet, novelist and playwright
When did you enter adolescence?