So, yesterday before school, I decided to tell my kids a story. "There's a magical place in our back yard. The fairies came to live there. You know they'll only come to the houses where the kids are really good and the yard is wild."
"That's so . . . awesome!" The Hippie said.
The Scribe shook her head. "Are you serious, mom? There aren't any fairies there. There aren't even any bogarts. I looked." Her words broke my heart. I knew that during school, I should pull out all the stops.
I bought magnifying glasses, fine-ground glitter, strange candy they'd never seen before. I got everything I needed and when the girls came home, I told them we would go on an expedition. Light filled their eyes. Even The Scribe seemed excited as they put on their explorer clothes. The Hippie donned a tutu and a leotard. The Scribe pulled on some baggy jeans and a ripped shirt she loves.
All five of us crept outside. I told them to be quiet and I sang:
"We're going on an adventure,
to see what we can see.
We're going on an adventure,
my little kids and me.
We walk and walk, then we stop and we wait."
I held out my hand and everyone stopped except Doctor Jones who hobbled toward a mound of dandelion. I rolled my eyes and grabbed her. "Don't worry children. I've brought rations to tame this beast." I pulled some fishy crackers from my pocket and we continued on our long journey through the tangles of out backyard.
We skipped past the dandelion meadow. We crawled through the valley of twigs. We even jumped over the pond of reckoning before finally making it to the magical rose bush.
"Everyone, close your eyes," I said. The three oldest obeyed, but Doctor Jones insisted on being rebellious. So, while the kids had their eyes shut, I hurried, put Doctor Jones on the tramp and zipped the safety netting. That kid clapped and gooed. She drooled at the mouth and smiled as she ate more fish and I sprinted back through peril and danger just so I could show my kids the fairies.
"Now," I shouted. "Open your eyes!" I threw the fine-ground glitter in front of them. It spun and danced in the rays of the dying sun. It landed all over the rose bush, on my kids arms, on the dirt, everywhere. A bunch of little bugs flew up from the bush and glitter fell on them too. Their bodies shone as they flew up and around us. The Scribe giggled and lifted her hands trying to touch one. "They are real!"
The breathe caught in my throat; I hadn't planned on that. I knew what I'd done, but still it was gorgeous watching those fairies. I'd only hoped for the glitter to stick to the spiderwebs and we'd gotten so much more. We'd gotten true magic!
We bent down. "You see these." I pointed to the glittery webs. "Those are fairy roads. We can see them because I threw fairy dust. The true reason fairies don't want us having their dust is because it makes them visible to humans . . . even if only for a moment." The children gasped. They couldn't help staring. It was a beautiful scene. Each web shimmered brilliantly. We saw every one we hadn't before. It reminded me of an ancient dollhouse, with so many secrets. I wondered how each road was made, where each one led. All the parts were so special and filled with memories that weaved in and out of the living rosebush.
"Oh my goodness!" The Hippie yelled. She'd found the candy I'd hidden, and had pulled it from the side of the fence. She studied every detail, using her magnifying glass as best she could. "It seems to be . . ." Her eye looked huge from where I saw her. "The fairies must have left this when they flew from the bush!"
"What's dat?" The Zombie Elf asked, so excited.
The truth was, I'd bought Good & Plenty. I know you're wondering why that kind of candy, but it's because the kids had never tried it before. Sure, it might suck when you're a child, but I love the stuff now.
The Hippie stuck one in her mouth. "It's yummy."
The Zombie Elf shoveled hand-fulls in. As he ate, things suddenly went downhill. "Fairy! Fairy!" He pointed. Then faster than a bullet from a tiny revolver, he stuck out his hands and smacked the fairy dead. "I kill it, mama. I kill that bad guy fairy."
"Oh . . . my." I know it was only a bug, but my heart sunk. After all the glitter had made it magical!
The Scribe's watched us and shook her head, then without even smirking, an idea must have hit her. She glanced around mischievously and said, "You know what you're eating?"
Everyone turned to her.
"It's fairy poop."
The Hippie smoothed her tutu and glanced sideways at The Scribe. "Is not."
"Is too. Bite one in half and see what's inside. Once you get through the colorful part, that's when you'll taste the poop."
I cringed. I couldn't say a word as I watched. The Hippie sucked and sucked. Then her lips puckered with concern and as she got to the black licorice part, she spit the candy on her hand. That poor kid's eyes bulged. She screamed. "It's . . . brown." She wiped her hands on the grass as her lips trembled.
"It's brown because it's fairy poop." The Scribe grinned and suddenly shoved a few in her mouth at the same time The Zombie Elf did.
"Why you . . . What are you doing?" The Hippie asked, horrified.
"What does it look like? I'm eating fairy poop. They only poop out these colorful ones when they're happy. If you eat enough, then you can fly."
I'd never heard that version before! I wondered if Peter would have ever made it to Neverland if he'd known the truth about flying.
Anyway, The Hippie refused to eat any more and Doctor Jones started crying. The baby had seen the candy and in an effort to break free, had smashed her face up next to the safety net on the tramp. I laughed; even with a flat, crooked nose that kid looked cute.
The day did end well though. I got some different candy from the house (Reese's The Hippie's favorite). The Hippie and Doctor Jones got chocolate; The Scribe got to tease her siblings; The Zombie Elf got to kill a bad guy and I had a good laugh. We'd gone from a magical moment to very poopy one, but still a successful expedition all in all.
The Scribe walked up to me after that. "Mom, I think we're getting old enough that we can help you with the yard."
"You're kidding?" What kind of kid offers to help with yard work? I thought of her silly ways and cocked my head. "Are you serious?"
"Yep, but it's going to cost you."
I laughed as we walked inside. Those kids are hilarious.
Have you ever played with your kids and got so lost in the magic, you forgot you were just playing?