Monday, August 25, 2008

Kids and Magic

It was a few years ago. I sat with a friend I've known for the better part of three decades. We were drinking beer in a tavern, catching up after not seeing much of each other for a couple of years.

He'd always been one of the funniest people I've ever known. I mean, the guy has had me falling-down laughing a bunch of times. But he suddenly got uncharacteristically serious.

"How old is your son?" "He's four," I answered. He locked eyes with me. "Kids live with magic, until adults take it away."

Wow. Where did that come from? I didn't know what to say.

I'd long known that my friend hadn't enjoyed an ideal childhood. He'd always been guarded about the details of his growing-up years, though. Until that night. That night, he told me stories.

There were parts of his childhood that could have come from a Stephen King novel. It was hard to avoid sitting there with my mouth hanging open.

He changed gears again. "But that's not my point. I didn't mean to tell a sob story about myself. (A "sob story"? It was an effin' horror story.) But Johnson (he almost never called me by my first name), you have to promise me one thing." "What's that?" "Johnson, grownups take their kids' magic away, little by little, and sometimes they don't even realize they're doing it. Don't take your son's magic from him."

"I won't," I replied. But that night, as I tossed and turned in bed, his words rang in my head: Sometimes they don't even realize they're doing it.

9 comments:

Debby said...

I think you're doing okay there, Hal. From everything I've read, you're doing it right.

Kelly said...

What a sobering thought! ("without even realizing they're doing it")

I think society in general is as guilty of stealing that magic as parents are. As my daughter likes to remind me, kids just grow up faster these days!

Sad, but true.

Pam said...

I agree with Debby, Hal, you're doing it right. The magic will be there for a long time to come.

I'm hoping the magic in my youngest 2 grandsons, the ones with me, will have lots of magic, still to come.

They may have lost some, but there is still so much I can see in their eyes. My boys are still believers in the magic of all that is for them.

Redlefty said...

Whoa.

quid said...

Not to worry. Sometimes kids restore magic to their parents' lives. Goes both ways.

quid

Mary Paddock said...

Heck of a thought. And one that makes sense to me.

It sounds like you're doing just fine with your son.

Bob said...

I feel for you friend, Hal . . . he obviously spoke from experience. Most of us trip up every once in a while and might take away some of that magic temporarily. I' ve had to apologize more than once for being a jerk to my own children. Fortunately they are very forgiving. I'm with the others, Hal, and think you're doing a great job.

Annie said...

Thanks for sharing the story, Hal. A good reminder for all parents. Sometimes the magic is stolen, sometimes it just goes, and it's no one's fault (I know I lost some of the magic when my parents died, both by the time I was 10). We have to do all we can to make sure we don't take it away from them.

Mikey said...

That's profound right there. Food for thought. A good reminder to adults.