The Rebirth of Magic
by Theresa Reichman
When you’re a child, time is dotted with marvelous, glowing treasures: the holidays. Each holiday is awaited by children – filled with more anticipation than a virgin on prom night – their cheeks smudging up frosted windows, eyes searching for that round, jolly man in the red suit. Kids lying in bed at night squeezing their eye lids shut and willing themselves to sleep so that the morning – and a basket with a chocolate bunny – will come sooner.
But it’s about more than just the round, jolly man, and the human-sized rabbit. Not a single
wonder of the holidays is lost on a child. You absorb the velvety sound of Elvis Presley’s voice
singing “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree,” and you do rock around it. You stare up in awe at that looming green giant, all aglow in lights of every color, pretty ornaments dangling from its every bow, and the zest of the holidays fills your little spirit completely.
Then one day while you’re sitting in gym class, that know-it-all with the turned up nose looks
over at you and sneers, “Santa’s not real, y’know. Duh.”
And you go home and ask your mom and dad, your eyes pleading with them to say it ain’t so. But eventually, the truth comes out. All that time you spent smudging up frosted windows? It was for naught.
Slowly the magic of the holidays slips away and is replaced by… stress. Instead of waking up to find mountains of bowed boxes under the tree, you find yourself frantically perusing aisles in Bed, Bath, and Beyond trying to find the right shade of crimson towels to match your grandma’s bathroom floor tile and then hurriedly papering and taping objects up, mentally assessing the damage you’ve done to your bank account.
This Halloween, however, I learned a beautiful lesson. The magic? It comes back.
For me, the excitement of Halloween has been lying rather dormant for years. Once you’re able to drive, running around the neighborhood looking like a woodland fairy and pestering people only a decade older than you to give you candy starts to become frowned upon. So instead, you resort to answering the door about a bazillion times in one night and dumping handfuls of candy into extended pumpkin buckets. Fun? Sure. But much less exciting.
For yours truly, the past three years my Halloween has been spent hauling babies and toddlers from door to door, showing them off to neighbors and friends while they cried and whined, and angrily rubbed off their face paint.
This year, Scarlett was three full years old, and we went around the neighborhood with her very own friends. I expected fun. I didn’t know what I was in for.
The first five houses we went to, my husband (aka Super Dad) carried our 3-year-old crying bundle of bumble bee because she was not at all convinced that the scary thing in the Darth Maul face paint was in fact her best buddy, Joshy. Eventually we managed to convince her. She was still timid about this trick-or-treating thing. But with the crisis averted, she got the guts and knocked on a door all by herself, she grabbed a piece of candy, and she put it in her little orange pumpkin, and then – be still my heart – she turned around and shrieked with victory and joy! The kid was stoked. She got it! She knew what was up and she was going to rock this holiday out!
After that? Sheer bliss. We adults hung back and feasted our eyes on the herd of our screaming ghosts and ghouls (and one very cute bumble bee) that raced to knock on doors. They laughed and chased each other and were completely soaking up all of the Halloween goodness they possibly could.
And I literally laughed out loud. Not because it was funny, but because my heart was so happy – so excited – I couldn’t contain my holiday delight.
This Christmas, while I sit and sip on cocoa and string popcorn for the Christmas tree, I know where Scarlett will be. Her cheeks will be smudging up frosted windows, eyes searching for the round, jolly man in the red suit.
And it will not be for naught.