What Do You Do When Their Wishes Can’t Come True?

June 29, 2012 2:37 pm

I want her to believe in fairies.

I want her to believe in wishes.

But I don’t know how much longer we have. 

I bought the wish bracelets because they were a fundraiser for a mother and baby who were fighting battles with cancer (yes, you read that right — both have cancer … now you know why I HAD to buy). Made of a thin string with little adornment, they’re supposed to bust apart over time, at which point the “wish” you made at the time you put them on will come true.

Hers busted open at school one day. And she came home in tears. “I didn’t turn into a fairy, Mommy.”

No, sweetheart, you didn’t.

If you could see a broken heart, I wonder if it would look like hers. Everything about her face seemed longer, even her nose, as if gravity was forcing her features to droop. She curled close to me — something that’s becoming increasingly rare as she becomes a “big kid” — and sighed the deep and sorrowful sigh of disappointment.

She hadn’t turned into a fairy.

I could see her mind working, and I waited for the questions. Were they real? Any of it? Fairies? Wishes? Santa? The Elves?

They didn’t come. I’m glad.

I don’t know how to answer. I will tell the truth, but I don’t want the truth to be cold and cruel. I want there to be magic left in life. I want her to believe in something, to feel like some things may still be possible. If not fairies, then at least a spark.

That was months ago, and she seems to have recovered.

But for how long?

This week, with the babysitter’s help, she cleared the space in front of the “fairy door” that we bought for her 5th birthday and fastened to the wall so the little pixies can dance into her room at night to protect her from bad dreams (the designer, Kim Detmers, has her own Etsy shop — and she does fabulous work!):

When we installed it, I’d purchased glitter to one day make fairy footprints from door to her bed. I never got around to it, and the glitter still sits on my dresser. I won’t do it now. I don’t want to upset the delicate balance.

This morning she sat separating the change from her piggy bank to be taken to the bank, where it can be rolled and put in her college account. I was making soda, and I heard her from the living room. “I believe in fairies.”

I don’t know what brought it on. I’m just glad it happened. I’ve been wishing and hoping it would.

What magical childhood dream are your kids still clinging to? 

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