Tuesday, December 28, 2010

what the eye can't see

This year, more than the last, Ryenne had some questions about Santa.

"Is he real, Mom?"

In response to her question, I told her what I firmly believe.

"Yes.  The magic of Santa Claus is real."


I read once that magic is only real so long as you believe in it.  Once you stop believing, the magic stops. 

I believe.


This afternoon, I was looking through our pictures from Christmas morning.  What I saw (or didn't see) almost made me cry.  There were hardly any pictures at all.  It had been such a fun morning- in fact, it was magical.  As I scrolled through the pictures on the screen, I realized I have so little to remember this special morning by.  I suppose I feel a sense of panic because I'm realizing that mornings like this won't last forever.  After all, Ryenne is almost eleven.  Growing up before my eyes, she is.  Kate and Emmy?  Not far behind.  My little girl days aren't going to last forever. 

Eventually I put my camera aside and went on with my day, but my mind stayed back on those pictures.  I moved on with a tight heart, wishing with all I had that I could go back in time to capture the morning but knowing that the opportunity was lost. 

I'm afraid about next year, next month, next week even.  Will I remember?  I have a few pictures, yes, but I've looked through them several times already.  I can't see the magic.

I want to remember the squeals of delight, and the joy in their faces when the girls realized that yes, Santa did come!  "And look!  He even left candy canes on the tree!"

I want to see the way Kate shrugged as she looked at her presents and concluded, "I don't think Santa brought me a sewing machine, but that's okay.  We didn't really need one anyway.  He knows what will make me the happiest."  Sweet, sweet girl. 

I long to recall forever the happiness at each and every gift.  Not one moment of selfishness.  Not because the girls got just what they had wished for, but because they loved what had been given them.  They had come to understand that a gift is just that, a gift.  Something given from the heart.  Not an obligation on any one's part, but simply a kindness given from one to another.  My heart was happy when I saw them wait to open their own presents because they were so excited to see a sister, a grandparent, or a daddy open a gift they had so carefully chosen and wrapped.   I saw the goodness in my girls that morning.  I loved what I saw.

I hope I'll never forget the look on Ryenne's face when she opened up a small package and squealed, "Toe socks!"  And the giggles that followed with an exclamation of, "And they even have frogs on them!"  At was as if she had thought it couldn't possibly happen, but it did.  In that moment, I saw a little girl, my little girl, and for just a moment it seemed as if she would always be so.

For a moment, the world seemed far away.  All of the pressure to grow up, to quit believing was gone.  It was just us, our girls, and the magic of childhood.  Life was just the way we wanted it to be.  Nothing too fancy, not one gift even required a battery- only an imagination and a dose of creativity. 

As I remembered our morning, I realized why I have hardly a picture.  I think that as I sat and surveyed the scene, I was a little bit afraid to miss anything.  I didn't want to view it behind the lens of the camera.  I wanted more than anything to be present, to soak it all in, and not miss one magical moment. 

Maybe a picture wouldn't be able to capture it anyway.  Perhaps it is best this way. 

The magic is tucked away safely in my memory.


A few weeks ago, Emmy's primary teachers told us a funny story.  They had been talking about the upcoming excitement of Christmas and asked the children what they were hoping Santa would bring.  As they moved from child to child, they were surprised when one child (six years old, mind you)  responded that Santa wasn't even real.  He went on to tell the rest of the class that Santa is only mom and dad who buy the presents and put them under the tree. 


You can imagine the stunned silence.  Brother Nelson said he was pondering on what he should say when Emmy stood up and faced the unbeliever.  Those were fighting words, you see.

I know Emmy, and  I am pretty sure she had fire in her eyes. 

She stood tall and lit into him, defending her beliefs with something like this, "That's not true!  Santa is real!  He IS real!  I know because my parents wouldn't spoil me like that!"

Seeing the wisdom in her logic, the class breathed in a sigh of relief and quickly rushed to her defense.   In a sudden show of solidarity they bolstered their six year old hearts together with a collective,  "Yeah!" 

Don't mess with the magic.


Amongst Ryenne's gifts on Christmas morning was a letter in response to her question.

"Yes, Ryenne, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life it's highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Ryennes.

. . .Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies.

.. .The most real things in this world are those that neither children not men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in this world.

You tear apart a baby's rattle to see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.

Only faith, poetry, love, romance can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Ryenne, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."


Why do I believe?

Don't we all need a little magic?  A little joy?  A moment every so often when the impossible seems suddenly within our reach?  Who, old or young, doesn't need something to "gladden our hearts" now and again?

I am most certain that there are some things the eye cannot see. Some wonders that can only be seen and understood by those who know you the best and love you the most. True happiness- real magic comes when you are part of something bigger than yourself- when you take part in giving someone something that they couldn't give themselves.  Sometimes those things that are the most real can be felt only in the heart.

This Christmas season I know one thing for sure. 
Magic is real, so long as you believe.

1 comment:

Darcie said...

oh what a sweet post Kelly... so glad your christmas was magical.