Of meteors and magic…

Often I think about the selves we leave behind, trailing after us like ghosts of ourselves at any given second. The one I miss the most is my seventeen-year-old ghost, wide-eyed and laughing, staying up too late reading poetry and burning contraband candles in the dorm. That girl knew some things about magic–things it’s been all too easy to forget in the adult world of bills, parenting, mortgage payments, leaking pipes, totaled cars, obligations. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s any room left for magic.

Spoiler: there is. Dragons know this. And it may have something to do with shaving cream.

When I think of my college-freshman self, I miss that magic. For a long time I feared it was just gone. Spontaneity, wonder, riotous laughter–where is the room for those things amidst schedules and groceries and appointments? For a long time, I haven’t known what to do about it.

Then, at some point this summer (finally), I had an epiphany. The magic is there if I make it. 

So I have set out to make magic.

Part of my magic these days is making faerie crowns.

Grown-up magic is different, maybe, from kid-magic. Well, maybe not always, but a lot of the time, and this is what I didn’t realize. As half-wild children with unblinking eyes and unflinching fingers and dirty feet and tangled hair, we drink in magic, absorb it through every pore, because the world is chock-full of it. It is air, rain, sunlight, the silvered sheen of the moon.

Some time before last Christmas, Thing 1 realized that Santa is parents. Thanks to a post shared by a friend, I was prepared. I told him that once he figured this out, it meant he was ready to become a Santa. He was delighted. I was massively relieved. I had not, in fact, destroyed his entire childhood.

As I think about magic, I realize that Santa-magic is just one small category of grownup magic. The magic is not gone from the world–it just shifts, or rather, we shift with it. We can still be consumers of it, but now we also get to be its creators. We are freaking wizards, and this is kind of mind-blowing.

Last night, we had friends over to watch the Perseid meteor shower. As the sun set, the sky was clear in the gaps between clouds, the stars sharp and shining, Mars hovering just above the roof of the house. We talked, laughed, ate, drank, while kids ran rampant through the yard, blasting each other with Nerf guns, yelling, eating too much candy. We issued cans of shaving cream, as my parents and their best friends did when I was a kid, and they absolutely slathered themselves and each other in foam. Then they jumped in the pool, shrieking and diving for glow sticks, churning the surface of the water to a Barbasol-scented froth. They emerged well after dark, dripping and ravenous. They ran around again. They ate every possible s’more. They torched marshmallows that blazed like meteorites in the August night. We fussed at them not to catch each other on fire.

Fire-crown. Inspired by Thing 2, who nearly inadvertently torched several small children last night.

Then the clouds moved in, closing off the sky. We had to content ourselves with the light from the firepit, the bazillion glow sticks now strewn across the yard, the twinkle lights festooning the back porch, and the soft sheen of piles of shaving cream, white against the blackness. Of course we would have liked to have seen a rain of stars across the arc of the sky. But it also didn’t really matter. The magic was still there, because we put it there.

We never saw any meteors. But as our children blazed through the night, fueled by sugar and dripping pool water and shaving cream, the heavens, for a few moments, touched down.

This is what the aftermath of a shaving cream battle looks like, in case you ever wondered.


7 thoughts on “Of meteors and magic…

  1. Your ability to make magic out of the everyday and then put it into words has amazed me since our first interactions. I’m not kidding.

  2. Greetings Herm & Firm buddy!!! 😊 Sally told me to mention that this is me; as in Mike. As I work to manipulate my pudgy, stiff fingers on this amazingly tiny phone screen keyboard; I am grinning as I think about what a wonderful person you are Brenna! Please note, I was careful not to say what a wonderful person you have “become” as the numbers representing your birthdays have increased, because I have known you for your whole life and you have “always” been a wonderful person! So perhaps I should say you are “still” a wonderful person! No, that is non-sequitur because it connotes that there was a possibility that you may not have continued to be wonderful person which is far from the truth! So now I am talking about wonderful Brenna and truth . And the wonderful truth is that your husband, things one and two and everyone who has the pleasure of coming into contact with you, either in person or on your blog, are better for having done so. When I ultimately retire from home maintenance and then eventually retire from working I want to spend more time reading your blog and anything else you write because you are incredibly gifted Brenna and your eloquent vision-creating words bring joy to my heart and fill my mind with warm cozy memories. I would like to ask a favor. Sometime, when you have a free moment, please send me your autograph because there is no doubt in my mind that that before too long the world will beat a path to your door in an effort to publish your incredibly excellent and wonderful writing. With love and hugs and thoughts of wonderful Fawlaychum times to come! Mike

    1. Mike, thank you so much for all your love and support. I am fortunate to have so much family, both biological and not. I was thinking of you, Sally, Sara, and Matt as the kids were running around shaving cream-ing each other and laughing. Good memories. Thanks for creating so many sparks of fun that have touched my life with magic.

  3. Yes! Fun. Thanks. Nice to be transported to those magical days and that place. Loved your words.

    Still have my magical invitation to meteor shower nights.

    1. It made me think of Fawchum kiddos running wild, covered in shaving cream (and one in a turtleneck and a shower cap)….such magic memories. the

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