Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Pain Of Growing-Up...

Thursday was a rough day for Erin. After the high of receiving her Grade 5 essay award for the entire province of New Brunswick on Monday night, the week went downhill from there. She’s getting into those mood swings as she heads towards puberty and the thought of eventually having 3 females in the house to tiptoe around during certain times of the month already has Nick thinking of switching to plastic cutlery or putting up a bed in the baby barn!

She came home in tears after school and wouldn’t really share much of what had happened until late at night after I got her tucked into bed. It turned out that she’d been teased for several things; playing football with the boys, starting this campaign to clean up the school property, singing so well in class during the National anthem and finally for still believing in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa.

Sigh! Any parent who has already had this conversation with a believing heart, knows how difficult the next little while was. Many of my friends found the discovery that such things didn’t exist a minor event in their lives. I can remember feeling sad for each holiday that first year... as if some of the magic had gone out of my world.

Then, as I grew older, I realized the importance of keeping that sense of wonder alive in my heart. Who is to say that there might not still be some corner of the world, undiscovered by our rampaging civilization yet, where unicorns can still graze? Who is to say Nessie or Sasquatch might not be out there? The quote on the bio page of my website contains one of my favourite quotes of all times from author Madeleine L’Engle:

‘The artist, if he is not to forget how to listen, must retain the vision which includes angels and dragons and unicorns, and all the lovely creatures which our world would put in a box marked Children Only !’

So there were tears and sobs, questions and sighs, cuddles and insights into some of the realities of growing up. There were also reassurances about what it is to be a believing soul, of how we become part of that Spirit of Giving that the first Saint Nicholas embodied, and how I don’t ever plan to stop believing in some things completely.

There were also promises and admonitions not to thrown these facts out in her younger sister’s face during some fight, so that Bethany may have the time to believe until she is ready to ask me the same questions.

Will the magic of Easter be any less tomorrow morning? Not at all! I will finally have one child free from this ridiculous new notion that the Easter Bunny brings toys just like Santa. I will know that for me, this is the most important day of joy and wonder in the whole year that has nothing to do with chocolate (though that is tasty!), and I will also find a way to look across the room as my oldest daughter and catch her eye. The smile I send her will be one that welcomes her on yet another of the milestones in the adventure of growing up.

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