He holds on to an innocence that shines through his eyes even when he tries to act older than the decade he owns. He calls me Mommy and still asks to be tucked in at night, "You Are My Sunshine" his favorite lullaby as I tickle his back and bid him love and our own silly See You Later, Alligator version that he thinks is funny even though it's five years old. Maybe he outgrew it on his seventh birthday. Maybe he allows it just for me. Maybe he thinks this one moment when he's turned from a video game or distraction is the one moment that I live for - the moment that dresses him as exactly the boy I want him to be: gentle and needing me for more than clean socks and hot meals.
There is that little self-war over teaching what isn't real. And I do mean little. Magic was the medicine of my own childhood. Didn't the world get at little duller that moment we learned it was really mommy who loaded our stockings? And it was to hold on to the brightness that I fought against the telling - the breaking through that childish view and crashing it with the truth. What if it robbed him of all that sweetness he is yet to shuck off? That sweetness that flows over me when darkness falls and I say goodnight? I couldn't be part of it.
"I'm going to break your heart, Zander." This is how he begins the rending of innocence. The father to the son. And I can picture him, fretting boy, worried that some tragedy might spill out on him. But when the truth falls and magic is stolen he says simply, "Daddy, I've known for like two years!"
Can my heart get any fuller? Is it possible to love someone more whom you've loved unequivocally since the moment of their very conception? That he would live in this charade, playing his belief and making it real to a brother and sister who have no doubt...my cup runneth over! Magic isn't dead - it's born anew in the way he sees my love of this merry-man-fable and allows it without a question. The encouraged has become the encourager!
There is the great debate over fervently teaching your child a falsehood, over the mistrust it breeds and the hurt it causes. I fervently disagree and I don't care what anyone's opinion is. Magic is real. But secret magic is...well - magical!