As I sit to write this post I’m not feeling very magical. I’m in a McDonalds while the girls are in gymnastics and I’m on hour 12 of a nasty headache. Awesome. I didn’t think “what if I felt well today” would make for interesting reading so I’m going a different direction despite my stupid head.
So let’s talk about this past Christmas. Christmas is a big deal to me. I mean a BIG. SERIOUS. MAGICAL. DEAL. I love all of it. Shopping, wrapping, gifting, decorating, family visiting, Santa visiting, the bustle, the radio stations that play only Christmas music, my iPod’s Christmas playlist, and it all begins with the trip to the Christmas Tree Farm the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Then it’s five fabulous weeks of anticipation, celebration, and joy. Apparently, however, everyone does not feel the same way I do?!
I’ve alluded to the fact that the past several years have been…umm…let’s call them challenging. And for some reason we’ve just never had a phenomenal Christmas. Not the way I’m used to spending Christmas. Happy, joyful, grateful, and feeling like everything is magical. This year though…THIS YEAR…we did it. It was HAPPY. JOYFUL. MAGICAL. Finally!
It got me thinking about why it has always felt so magical for me. As I thought about it I started to realize that a lot of other things I experienced as a kid were also pretty magical. It comes down to this. My. Mom.
I grew up with a single Mom. She remarried when I was 12 but from 4-12 she and I were on our own. We were not rolling in the dough, if you know what I mean. But every Christmas felt like the best day of my life! I’m telling you, things that I found at Fairs in the middle of Summer would show up under that Christmas tree by way of Santa. ‘How did he DO that?!’ I would wonder. I was so enamored with Santa that year-in and year-out I would ask him to please just send me an autographed picture of himself and Mrs. Claus. My Mom and I would Christmas shop, wrap gifts, listen to amazing old Christmas music by Bing Crosby, The Andrew Sisters, Frank Sinatra, and of course The Nutcracker Suite. We would make millions of Christmas cookies. We didn’t have tons of family in-town so often it was just us. I remember it as just pure magic. The whole season, not just the day itself, I remember feeling like people were more cheerful, more kind, more excited.
I found out the truth about Santa when I was in third or fourth grade. I was DEVASTATED. But my Mom told me that the magic of Santa and Christmas were absolutely real. And by God, that is exactly how I’ve continued to think about it, to this day.
But there was more magic than just what happened around Christmas. On New Year’s Eve we would stay up until midnight and then go outside and bang pots and pans together yelling “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” Every Valentine’s Day I would wake up to heart pencils, erasers, heart shaped containers, lip gloss, or other red and pink and white cutsy gifts on my nightstand. On my birthday in March, we would of course have a party for my friends, but I remember her taking me to dinner. At least once she took me to an old old restaurant that seemed SO sophisticated and fancy. For St. Patrick’s Day she bought (I think…sheesh maybe she actually did it herself?) green bread and made the sandwich in my cold lunch with green bread. For Easter I would wake up and have to go on a search for all of the teensy piles of jelly beans that were ALL OVER the house. Not to mention the bulging basket I’d find after collecting all the jelly beans. On Memorial Day the Indy 500 would be on and she’d tell me stories about my Grandpa when he used to work on pit row. I would sometimes visit relatives in OH for a week in the summers and one year I got home and my Mom had wallpapered my bedroom with fabulous floral wallpaper and found new matching bedding…I was shocked and so excited. The start of school meant extensive shopping trips for amazing outfits at JC Penny and Dayton’s. Elementary school meant participating in Brownies and then Girl Scouts and she’d do what she could to help me win my badges. Halloween didn’t mean finding a costume in a bag, it meant applying green face paint on my face, and making a costume to make me the Wicked Witch of the East.
Then there was her job. She worked in radio which, as a kid, seems like magic in and of itself. We were in parades in the radio truck. There were hot air balloon rides in the station balloon. There were concerts, concerts, and more concerts. And I had the opportunity to meet STARS. You think I’m exaggerating but does the name Cindy Lauper mean anything to you?! Yeah. Thought so.
The thing is there was A LOT of magic happening. And I’m telling you it wasn’t expensive magic…it was creative and thoughtful magic that made my growing up years just plain wonderful.
I don’t know about you but there are days I get home from work and seriously just getting through dinner and homework feels like running a marathon. Between activities, school, other kids’ birthday parties, school carnivals, and homework it feels like we are constantly running and constantly moving on to the next thing. Where is the magic??? Wait…was I supposed to bring the magic? Sh-t.
Children deserve to grow up in a world that feels magical and delightful. And I’ll tell you what, it turns out that the world just as it is doesn’t necessarily feel so magical and delightful, unless you have someone who really makes a point to bring it to life. I’ll tell you something else…I’m thinking that person might need to be me.
But here’s another thing…I feel like maybe all of us deserve to live in a world that at least SOMETIMES feels magical and delightful. I’m sure I can think of little things that would make my husband, and my friends, and my family members feel like a little magic is in the air.
TODAY: What if I decide to make the world a little more magical for the people in my life? Even if I can make their worlds half as magical as my Mom made mine…it will be pretty magical indeed!