I remember it like it was yesterday. My sister and I sat totally still in front of the TV. Mary Martin, playing Peter Pan, was asking for our help for Tinkerbell. She was desperately ill because of the lack of belief in fairies. Peter told us that if we clapped our hands, and let her know we did believe, maybe Tink’s light wouldn’t go out. I clapped until my hands hurt and her light got brighter. “Clap some more,” Peter said, “she’s getting better.” I thought my arms would fall off but I clapped until once again Tink could fly.
Several years ago, my daughter’s twins and I made a fairy and gnome garden. It started small. Grey had a house for gnomes. Ella had one for fairies. We knew if we gave them a place to come, they would find us. And they did! Then the fairies and gnomes brought presents and friends that magically appeared over night, every night of the twins’ visits.
The real elves, fairies, and gnomes added figurines of themselves, as well as rocks and birds and butterflies and frogs, sparkly rocks and solar lights. What started on one side of a crepe myrtle in our backyard grew until it almost surrounded the tree. They even created a party glade where Ella’s fairies and Grey’s gnomes could come to dance and sing together.
Whenever the twins would visit, the BlueBird of Happiness would come out and our magical friends would visit…until after their Labor Day visit when we tucked the houses and the figures away for the winter.
I’m not sure who has enjoyed the magic the most, the twins or me, but I do know who needed it more. The great thing about childhood is that you always carry fairy dust inside…ready at a moment’s notice to help your spirit fly. But grownups fill their pockets with bills, and to-do and grocery lists, with have to’s and must do’s. We weigh ourselves down with troubles and squeeze out all the room for magic…make it harder and harder to find…until little ones show us where it is, and little hands give it back to us.
Ella and Grey are ten now, so I can envision a time when they are off and busy with other things, when they, too, start to add more and more grown up activities into their lives, and have less and less room for visits from fairies and gnomes, frogs and bunnies, dragonflies and tiny birds and butterflies.
I know that I will enjoy every moment of watching them grow. Seeing them now, I am sure I will be as proud of them when they are grown as I have been of them as little ones, just like I am for our teenagers, Caroline and Catherine. All four of our grandkids are kind and caring and sweet and loving, a tribute to their parents. But I also know, I will miss the wide-eyed innocence and wonder of their childhood, their unfettered joy and belief in the extraordinary.
I hope for all of them that someday their own children and grandchildren will remind them of the magic they have shared with me, and they will remember our times together.
But for now, I will treasure every moment we have with our grandchildren. No matter their age, the bluebird of happiness will always come with them. And for as long as I have a garden, there will be room for visitors, big or small…or magical.
You see, Magic will always be there. It is never completely gone. It is always waiting, because in some corner of our hearts at least a tiny bit of fairy dust will endure surrounded and protected by love. Forever and beyond, we will always clap.