Monday, September 14, 2009

The Reliving of Childhood; Finding Magic Again in Circuses and Santa Claus

The smell of hot popcorn filled our noses. The long line of families anxiously pushed along, children hoisted up on their father's shoulders. Anticipation permeated. My son's hand filled mine as we waded through the crowd to find our seats--my mind brimmed over with the knowledge and appreciation that I had an evening ahead of me in which I would experience one of my most favorite, most-loved aspects of parenthood; the reliving of childhood.

The "Greatest Show on Earth" was just a short, excited drive from our home, north of Seattle, and we had tickets. My husband, Jason and I, were thrilled to have the chance to take our two sons, Joshua (4) and Noah (2), to the spectacular Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus!

And what a show it was. The cotton candy was ignored, not being able to compete with the flashing lights, the theatrical music, the clumsy clowns and the parade of elephants, horses, zebras, tigers and dogs. Pastel-colored spun sugar was no match-up for the alluring spectacle of magic and fascination displayed before us. Like a child, I let my eyes be fooled and my mind be tricked. What had been a recent growing cynicism inside of me was left at the door along with the world of grown-ups. I only kept in touch with that world for one moment as my eyes wet over with such motherly joy as I observed my children encounter such awe and delight. Then I realized I was actually about to cry at the circus and fought the tears back.

To me this was a hidden part of becoming a mother that I was completely unaware of--a surprising gift that I receive over and over again. As my abdomen swelled with my first pregnancy, I understood that I would love my children more than myself, that I would find joy in their joy because I loved them so much. But I could not foresee that it is so much more than that. Their joy truly is my joy. So much that I can even try to bring them happiness out of selfish reasons, for I genuinely feel their mirth as my very own.

Furthermore, as my sons have met the magics and wonders of childhood, so have I lived them now more fully than I had during my own youth. Let me tell you now with utmost sincerity and honesty that when it comes to the magic of disappearing acts and Santa Claus, I believe.

As testament to this, every Christmas season I read The Polar Express with wee ones on my lap, succumbing to tears on the last page:
At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.
I will go even further in saying that as I've grown old, my faith is even deeper and more fervent than it was so many years ago. I no longer search for any signs that I may be naive, no longer rummage through my parents' room for clues to this mystery, no longer am I worried that I am being hoodwinked. And no longer is my belief just the effect of what my mom and dad have told me; no longer is it just a source of fun and entertainment and presents.

No, for now my trust in that which I cannot see has deep purpose and meaning. And I experience this purpose as the ringmaster wills a tiger to vanish, as Joshua discovers under the tree the exact Tonka crane that he asked of St. Nick.

My faith is stronger as I see my children's faces light up with marveling and merriment, for I choose to believe.

Do you?

In awe and wonder, Joshua experiences the magic of childhood while the ringmaster commands twelve tigers.

Enormous elephants standing on two legs mesmerize my four year old.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on Mamma Vintage! I love to hear your thoughts and experiences.