I know there was a part of me that thought the science behind that promise was a little shaky, but another part couldn't entirely rule it out. Mermaids did, after all, live in salt water.
|painting by someone named Christine Quimby, who I don't know.|
So at bath time, I brought the salt shaker into the bathroom. I climbed in the water, shook in some salt, and stared at my legs, tan and kissed with bruises. I swished the water around a little. I added more salt. I waited for magic.
For those of you who know me well, you're probably aware that I'm not a mermaid. The magic didn't happen for me that day. Neither did it happen in front of the mirror in the dark, chanting Bloody Mary with friends (THANK GOODNESS, am I right?). I eventually caught on to the disappointing realities that my dad's "magical sack," which produced small treasures to keep us kids entertained on road trips, was really just a bag of stuff he'd bought at the grocery store, and that there was no giant bunny hiding pastel eggs in our backyard every spring.
The magic trickled out of my life. It's not that joy trickled out along with it--joy stayed. But it didn't sparkle in the same way it did back when at any moment my world could be rocked by something incredible.
But! Now that I'm the mother of little ones, my joy is at times sparkly again. Yesterday the girl behind the bakery counter at the grocery store handed me two little cookies decorated with confetti, and when I presented them to Jonah, his voice became urgent: "What do you have??" And when he saw my prize clearly, he half giggled and half shrieked. "Two cookies! Two flower cookies!"
You should have seen his face.
And Andy, my 9-month-old, is even easier, if you can believe that. I smile at him and say "Hi, baby," and BAM. Sunshine. Pouring out of his soul. Exploding from his cheeks and eyes and ears and nose and sweet blond hair!
Sometimes in these moments I catch my breath. Tears have been known to come to my eyes and something in my heart tries to burst its way out. I don't know quite how to explain why, but in these moments the only thing I can think is: MAGIC.
|photo by the fabulous Malina May Grigg|