If you ever want your inner spirit renewed...observe a magic show at an elementary school and watch the young ones as they ooh and aah at the magic mirror and magic hat...the multi-colored scarves and the magic rope.
I had the occasion to accompany my son to a magic show yesterday. He won a ticket as a prize for selling five items in the school fundraiser earlier in the year. At first, I didn't really want to go and I hoped he would change his mind and opt to stay home instead of traipsing out into the oncoming blizzard for a "silly magic show." And, I have to admit I was a little put out that it was scheduled for a day when he didn't already have school. I mean, the EFFORT (I was apparently struck with the woe-is-me bug earlier this week and had yet to shake it as of Friday morning).
But when we arrived and the school secretary ushered us in, I was immediately glad we had made the trek in through the snow and wind. His eyes sparkled and he smiled through the entire show. My eyes grew misty as I watched the awestruck children in the front rows. It was (at the risk of sounding corny) magical.
I was approached by the "class mom," who thanked me for bringing my son in for the show. She explained how they scheduled it this way because the T/R kids get all the assemblies...COSI, etc...and they wanted the M/W kids to have something special too (Let me tell you, the woe-is-me bug disappeared immediately).
I moved to the back of the gymnasium so I could stand and keep Myles moving in the stroller (you know...back and forth...forth and back...for an hour...). Something caught my eye. A little girl in the back row designated for fifth graders. Jeans, t-shirt, hair in a pony tail, glasses...she could have been me so many years ago. With every slight of hand, she proudly announced to her friends and her teacher "how" the trick was done...a real know-it-all. She had all the answers. She had it all figured out. She was so in control. Yes, she could have been me...
At first I was so angry with that teacher for letting her do that...letting her delve behind the curtain and sort through the "secrets." The teacher just sat there, a small smile on her face, nodding almost imperceptibly with each explanation delivered by the girl. I even started to grit my teeth during the last half of the show as the explanations continued...
...until I remembered to watch the front row for the happy wonder found on the faces of the younger children...on the face of MY child.
After the show, as we drove home, I thought about the audience as a whole...and about that little girl and her teacher, in particular. Somewhere between kindergarten and fifth grade, she lost her innocence...her ability to just let go and enjoy the magic of it all. Her teacher knew that. She's probably seen it a thousand times during her teaching career. She probably knew there was nothing she could say or do to recapture the magic for that little girl right now. She probably knew it's going to take some time...maybe even another twenty-some years...until the girl finds the magic again. Maybe on a cold and snowy day...in the face of her own child...at a magic show she didn't really want to go to...she'll finally feel the magic again. If she's lucky.