This year Christmas will be very different in our family. For the first time in almost 19 years I don’t have to do as much sneaking around. Before your mind wanders to a wonderland that is clearly not G-rated, it has nothing to do with another man. Well, it kind of does – another man and an elf.
The magic began 18 years ago in a flurry of glitter and, well, more glitter, when we celebrated Jake’s very first Christmas. And from the very first sprinkle of those silvery star pieces, I was hooked because you can’t have magic if you don’t have glitter.
The build-up to Christmas was always epic, and, quite frankly, stressful. Did I spread enough glitter? Did I read all the stories I should have? Have I imbued my son with enough Christmas cheer to last through all the year?
It seemed that each year a new tradition was added on to the growing list. And as stressful as it all was making sure that we didn’t leave anything out, seeing the look of wonder on Jake’s face made it all worthwhile every single time.
And then his little Einstein brain started to question things. He was eight. I had a brief period of mourning, and then I got pregnant with a new believer to take his place. Just for the record, that’s not why I got pregnant, it just happened to work out that way.
Unfortunately, now my youngest, Nick, age 10, no longer believes. And since I no longer have my baby pocket, all I can do is accept the fact. So this year, Mario, the house elf, is no longer magic. Nick is fully aware that we would place him in his positions before we went to bed. However, now that he knows our trickery he says it makes more sense. There were several times that Mario failed to move during the night. Maybe because Mom had a glass or three of wine and forgot…who knows. Now Mario moves when any of us remember that he’s even around. The lack of magic and sneakery has robbed Mario of his fun. And believe me, that is a suck.
The Christmas Eve tradition of reading The Polar Express and listening for the bells is no longer the same. Yes, we will read the book. And yes, we will ring the bells, but the magic has diminished. For the past 9 years about an hour or so before time to read the story, Jake would begin to complain of a stomach ache. Oddly enough, when it came time for the family to gather and read the story building up to the finale of going to the deck to listen for the bells, Jake would excuse himself to the “restroom” downstairs, slip out back and wait for the cue – listen…can you hear the bells? And then in the quiet of the night we would hear a faraway jingle. Nick would gasp and look at me, and I would fight back tears as we both acknowledged that the magic was still there. Not once did Nick question the fact that Jake wasn’t around. We were very good at playing it off.
But this year we will read the book. And we will all walk out on the deck. And one of us will shake the bells just like every other year. Why continue with the tradition if no one believes? Well, our belief still exists, it has just shifted. And this year, since Nick’s belief has shifted, we will welcome him into the fold of those who are Keepers of the Magic.
There is so much in this world that is anything but magical. So those things that have the potential for magic, the potential to make someone smile and believe, we must continue to recognize. As I see it this is one of the single most important jobs there is. Magic slips away so easily in this world of fear and hatred. But as Keepers of the Magic we take every opportunity to remind others that magic still exists, and we go out of our way to create that magic for others.
So, Nicholas, this one’s for you. Welcome to the club!
And, just for the record, my side job is still Glitter Fairy.