Monday, December 03, 2007

Where the Hell is the Magic?

Today at work I was really busy. I had about 15 problems come up that had to be dealt with right away. 2 conference calls. Preparation for employee reviews over the next couple of days, which I've never done. I've only had 2 formal reviews in my LIFE, how do I review others? So I just buckle down and do it. I work through lunch. I drive home in the dark. I don't know where the day went.

And my question, as I was driving home looking at Christmas lights, was: where did the magic go? How did I get to a place where there isn't any magic? Everything can be explained away by logic or a quick internet search. Why can't there be some magic?

Remember when you were a kid and everything was so mysterious? It was fun. Beyond the fact that there weren't any "grown-up" worries like bills and taxes and food and car insurance and relationships and health (usually) and jobs and money and fat, there was magic. (I never tell kids that their worries aren't real. I remember how they sure felt real to me. You just grow into bigger problems.)

For instance, Santa Claus was REAL. There was no doubt in my mind. I'm sure the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny held a piece of my heart as well (the pay-off was never as good), but do you remember that feeling at Christmas? You'd work so hard on a Christmas list sharing the Sears catalog with your sister. You'd write the sweetest most polite letter Santa had ever seen. Then on Christmas morning you'd run into the living room to see the Christmas tree surrounded by WAY more presents than were there the night before? And he knew what to get you. And the milk and cookies and carrots for Rudolph were gone. One year we even got official badges from Santa, with ribbons and everything. That was overwhelming. Exciting and awe inspiring. And slightly unsettling- how did this man get into the house? And how did he get into all of the houses in your neighborhood, town, state? How did he get all of those houses in one night?

And how did he get all of that stuff into those stockings? I remember when I had to get up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to pee. I had to tip-toe straight past the stockings and I tried not to look (I was a weird kid- I never looked for hidden presents before Christmas either), but I could see these HUGE candy canes coming out of the tops of the stockings. Santa had already been! How did he do that? I slept in a room not 12 feet from the spot, and I hadn't heard anything.

It might have been the next Christmas (all I know is we were in the same house) when I swear I knew when Santa arrived. That was the most excited about Christmas I have ever been in my entire life. I was probably 6 or 7 years old, and I could hardly sleep from being so wound up. I just lay there tossing and turning, and I promise I didn't sleep all night. In the middle of the night there wasn't a sound in the house. All of the sudden I heard a pop and saw a flash of light through the slats in my door (we had those folding louvered doors in that house). And I just KNEW it was Santa. We didn't have a chimney, so why wouldn't he come to the kitchen? I was too scared to get up and look. Good little children were sleeping this late at night, naughty little children were spying on Santa. I wanted presents. And I didn't hear a sound or see anything after that, but the next morning the presents were there. (And looking back on that I'll bet I was a real joy to be with for the rest of the day. A ray of sunshine even.)

A couple of years before that my sister and I heard bells behind our apartment building. Whoa.

This is what makes me want to have kids- I want to see that magic again. Maybe some people get it with religion. I'm sure a lot of people on drugs want it back. Sometimes it's almost there when MHM and I are cuddling and he'll tickle me and I'll laugh until it hurts because there is love and happiness and laughter and a little of that magic that was in me a long time ago. But back when I was little it wasn't unusual, it was every day and it was real.

Maybe that will be my New Year's Resolution, to find the magic (of course not with pharmaceutical help). There is magic in the small things, I just have to be willing to see it.

PS If you didn't grow up in a Christian household (heathens!) I'm not sure what would impart the same sense of wonder.

PPS The concept of heathens is funny.

1 comment:

Heather Meadows said...

This was a really good post.

A couple years ago, I was headed home to visit my family in Kentucky. My brother asked me if I would get a certain balloon and bring it to his son. Apparently he had let a balloon slip away. My brother thought it would be neat to tell him that the balloon went all the way to Georgia to find me, and I then brought it back to him.

For some reason I felt very uncomfortable about this idea, so I refused to do it.

I don't know if I've become hyper-logical or what, but it just felt like I would be lying to my nephew, and I never want to do that.

But as I look back on it, I wonder: what would it have really hurt? Why does it still make me uncomfortable to think about it? If I had kids, would I tell them Santa Claus was real?