Up until last Friday I was a wizard and I had this magical power. No matter what the situation I could stop my two-and-a-half-year-old from making mischief simply by chanting the following magic spell:
“I’m going to count to three and if you don’t stop you are going to have to… [Insert appropriate ending such as “go to your room”, “go home”,” put away your toys” etc]
It worked every time. I felt like such a gifted being to have come up with such a trustworthy spell.
I used my magic sparingly of course and never took it for granted. I had seen enough wizard movies to know that if you abuse your magical powers they usually get taken away from you by “The Association of Magical Wizards”. This fearsome gaggle of overlords is like the co-op board of the mystical world. They put you in your place when you step over the line.
I always played it safe and only used my spell when my daughter was doing something like poking an animal with a stick or screaming relentlessly at the top of her lungs because she wanted apple juice. And because I was so sparing and so respectful I guess I just assumed that I’d have my power and be a wizard forever.
But last Friday, (oh, that cursed day), I got a rude awakening. I was taking a nice fall walk with Sage and one of her toddler friends. Both kids were happily hopping along the sidewalk and hunting for acorns when all of a sudden Sage spotted a pile of fallen leaves. Both children ran to the leaves, scooped them up, and then exploded them into the air like confetti. It was so picturesque I felt like I was at a calendar shoot for the month of October. But then the leaves on the sidewalk ran out and Sage happened to notice that there were more leaves in the middle of the street. “I want those,” she said, and darted past me towards the piles. “No,” I warned. “We can not play in the street. I need to keep you and your buddy safe and running in traffic is not safe.”
Sage was not satisfied with my response. She dipped her toe over the curb and slowly inched her body into a squat and then tried crawling towards the leaves. “No,” I reprimanded. “No running in traffic, no crawling in traffic.” I could see her buddy was starting to hanker for those leaves too. He was watching Sage in her attempts and clearly plotting his move. I knew I had to lay down the law. I could handle one rogue kid, but certainly not two. What if they both ran towards the leaves at the same time? How would I rescue them? This was about to get dangerous; I had to bust out my magic.
“Sage…” I said, taking my wizard stance; legs spread and arms akimbo. “I am going to count to three and if you do not start cooperating and listening we are going to have to go home.”
I waited for the shimmering sparks and the immediate shift in tone that usually follows that statement… but nothing happened.
Sage just stared at me, her face as unmoved as a brick wall. “OK,” she said, like she was sixteen and completely apathetic, “Let’s go home.” Then with a sprightly hop she once again tried trotting towards the leaves.
I lunged for her and took her into my arms, completely stunned. I just held her there dangling in front of me. I tried whispering the spell. I tried saying it in Elfin and then in Klingon. She just shook her head.
There was nothing left to do. We had to go home. I gathered both children into my arms and tried to hold tight as they squirmed and wiggled and begged for more leaves.
“No,” I said. “The fun is over. If you can not listen you can not play.”
When we got home Sage and I had a talk and then I hid in the bathroom and stared at my reflection. I just wanted to know what a wizard looked like when she’s been stripped of her magic. It was a sad, sad sight.
And now I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know if there is some sort of appeal process. Like, maybe I can go before the wizard association and beg for my power back. I can tell them how very important that magic was to my life. “Look, I need that power. I need it. That power allows me to stay sane. It allows me to keep food off of the walls and water off the floor of the bathroom. It keeps animals safe, it keeps my child safe. It keeps libraries quiet. Do it for the good of all humanity. What will become of my world if I no longer have the ability to curb the unwieldy ways of a toddler with my incantation? Regular humans might have other coping mechanisms to deal with these types of situations, but I never developed those skills. I was a wizard, damn it! I was special! It’s like you are taking a monkey who has been raised in captivity and suddenly throwing her into the jungle. Don’t do it. Don’t thrust me out!”
But something makes me think they might just laugh in my face and tell me to deal with it. Maybe they’d give me some speech about it being part of the journey. Maybe they’d tell me that being a wizard is not about spells and simple magic, it’s about hard work and time and persistence.
And that would really piss me off. After all, once you’ve felt what it’s like to have magic, even for a minute, it’s really a bummer to go back to your regular human ways.