My little girl was devastated when she got up one morning earlier this week. She broke her heart crying and sadness and disillusionment were written all over her little face. My stomach flipped but I knew exactly what was wrong and knew exactly that this would happen, although I was powerless to prevent it.
She had come home from school the day before on a mission. This is nothing new. Other mothers talk about cuddles and chats on the couch after school but that’s not the way with Diana. She comes home full of gusto to explore whatever it is that has been swirling around in her head all morning in class. I can see she is almost afraid to talk in case she loses the idea before she has a chance to hatch her plan. Sometimes it is playing with her toys, acting out some story or scene she has been thinking about. Other times she goes into the to garden talk to herself and imaginary people out there, or she gets straight down to drawing a picture. It’s all very top secret and she doesn’t like you to even enquire, so I don’t mostly. On Monday she came home and wanted to make a magic potion. She found an old pill bottle I’d given them before when they played hospital and decorated it with glittery tape and stickers. Then she gathered up her most twinkly bits and bots; little pompoms and sequins, a few sparkly bits of lego, the beads of a broken bracelet and popped them all in the jar, proud as punch.
Diana had it all figured out. She was going to write a note to the fairy that lives behind the door in the skirting board in her bedroom and ask that she, Matilda Fairy, would cast a spell on Diana’s magic dust. This spell would allow Diana to turn into a fairy so she could join Matilda on her fairy flights and shenanigans. I feigned delight and didn’t make too big a deal, hoping that her attention might turn to something else and the big plan be forgotten when her older brother and sister got home from school. But no, as soon as her Dad was in from work, he was recruited to write the note she dictated to Matilda. Doubts were expressed but Diana was having none of it because, what would Daddy know about fairies anyway? Her sister sensed the tension and pointed out that it was a dangerous request as Ariel hadn’t been able to turn back into a mermaid in the moving. Diana was undeterred. The note was left with the pretty little pot on the fairy’s doorstep.
The next morning, Matilda had left a reply and Diana ran into me to have it read full of expectation. Unfortunately, it turns out that Matilda is not allowed to turn little girls into fairies but did cast a spell on the magic dust so that Diana could shake it and know that Matilda was about whenever she needed her. No dice. Diana was disgusted. She cried and cried. The magic dust pot was abandoned in my bedroom – not so magical now. The tears were still falling when she ate her cereal. No words consoled. No ‘fairy story’ would do. You could see a little bit of her innocence was slipping away and everyone in the house was sad.
She went off to school and the day followed its usual pattern. I picked her up at home time and she was back to her usual self. Such is the rollercoaster life with kids. I opened the car door and she popped straight out and around the back of the house to do whatever it is that she had cooked up.
A few minutes later, as I wiped out lunchboxes and made snacks, I looked out the kitchen window and there was Diana swinging on her swing. She was taking turns between blowing bubbles from the wand in her left hand and blowing the seeds from a dandelion head in her right. When I asked what she was doing, I was told “Making wishes with my puffy, Mammy”. I have no idea what these wishes were and I am so glad that she was wise enough not to tell me and risk having the outside world come crashing in on her dreams again.
My little girl still believes in magic and wasn’t I a happy woman to have a lawn full of dandelions to make all her wishes come true. They are not dandelions, they are last year’s wishes.