I had heard of growing pains but never knew that they happened to grown-up people too.
The pain of watching your child outgrow an idea, a safety port, a whole area in her world where magic and a world of little people existed. This weekend we had a bit of a coming of age, a shedding of the baby years and went straight forward facing into the pre-teen years. And I have cried. Selfishly, I have cried.
It started a few months ago with questions about the fairies, serious scientific questions like what does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth? Why does she use teeth? Why does Bella (my daughter’s fairy friend) use paper similar to paper I own to write her notes? And where the hell does she get the coins for under the pillows? Imaginative answers called for scientific questions, but I knew the end was nigh. And last Friday night the end did become the end and I wept with my child for the loss of the innocence, the belief, the magic. And the knowledge that I wanted this as much for myself as for her.
My daughter wrote notes to her fairy, confided in her, asked for advice. And her fairy answered in the teeniest of handwriting, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night when it dawned on her that the note hadn’t been written. We exchanged flowers, stories, beads, loving wishes and stories and during those exchanges, I entered her worlds, both personal and magical.
After our chat on Friday night, I spoke about there being magic everywhere. I told her that we are made of stardust. That to grow a baby and watch a baby grow from just feeding them breast milk felt like magic for me. That there are lots of things in the world that science can’t explain, coincidences, premonitions, dreams. The fact that the sun rises every morning is to me, a type of magic. All these things I call magic. I tell her that the druids spoke to the fairies in the trees and the rivers, and that when I am on mountains I speak with a friend of mine who died twenty years ago because I feel her presence in the mountains.
And so a new chapter begins - a new story even. My baby is in this Adult club now and some of the fairy dust has rubbed off. Her own fairies wings in her imagination are tarnished and fading. But I hope that she will continue to see and feel the magic in the everyday things. Like the sound of a river, or messages on the wind. And though weeping with her might not have been the Adult thing to do, this parenting lark doesn’t come with a handbook when the questions come hot and angry. I have two other girls, and knowing now how short and finite this make belief time is, I am appreciating it in all its preciousness. The magic is precious.