"Mom? Are fairies real?"
This is a hard question I got from my 4 1/2 year old the other day. Here are my opposing problems:
1. I can't lie to my kids. I'm not good at it and I don't like it. I can barely do hyperbole ("If you don't eat your peas you will get a vitamin deficiency and die" sort of thing). I'm fine with make believe and pretend but I can't look them in the face and tell them something is true when it isn't. This includes Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Boogie Man.
2. I really, really want them to believe in magic and fairies and wishing on a star and growing up to be a princess, etc. I don't want to jolt them into the adult world of "what you see is what you get" and I don't even believe that completely either. I mean, I can't see God but I know He's real.
So...In classic mom deflection, I said, "I don't know if they are real. What do you think?"
"Well, I don't think magic is really real."
That's it! You are four! C'mon! Suddenly, though, I was able to articulate what I believe. Here's the paraphrase:
I believe there are things that are real that I can't see. I believe in God and His Spirit and angels and demons. I believe another word for "magic" could be "miraculous" and I believe in miracles. There could be fairies or maybe they are fun stories we tell like Santa. I don't know. But I am not going to assume that I have the ability to understand and explain everything in creation. God is magnificent, miraculous and, maybe, just maybe, magical. I mean, He did speak everything into being, right? Talk about saying the magic words!
So, my dear daughter, hold on to unicorns and knights in shining armor. They tell us stories about our hearts and God. Look for the mystic beauty around us and choose to believe in the unseen. Hold on to your imagination, even as you get older and reality comes knocking. I hope for you that you will always have shining eyes filled with faith and wonder as you do now.
OK, I wasn't quite that eloquent. And I think she said, "Oh." But, it really was an "aha!" moment for me. I had never put it together. Hmm, what do you know? I believe in magic. Who'd have thought?