My mom is truly amazing. She has always exercised the part of her brain that most adults let vanish. She has maintained magic and intuition. She has maintained the imagination that most of us forget about, and she realizes it for people all around her. She has done us, her children and grandchildren, a profound service.
An example is from when I was a child, when monsters abounded. They lived under my bed and in my closets (where my brothers would stake out for a night and scare me with their spooky sounds). Do you remember that feeling? Trying to lay so still in your bed so that they couldn’t see you? Tucking yourself as deep in the middle without a limb off the side? These monsters were totally scary. My mom, though, she knew something I didn’t, she knew something that most people I still don’t know. They live here… in Mankato, Minnesota.
We didn’t live in Mankato. So if the monsters inhabited that place, my room was clear.
It didn’t stop there. The next generation, my nieces and nephews, get to experience Grammy’s magic. The eldest girl takes after my mother. She wants to believe in little things. They recently constructed a fairy garden in my mother’s back yard. I have seen my niece pull up a chair and wait for a fairy to show up for nearly two hours. Just staring. This is a girl that I can barely get to sit through a meal. This is all thanks to my mother’s indulgence, and perhaps, her own child inside of her.
There, sometimes, is the possibility that this can backfire. This last winter my niece came into the room and suddenly asked me a question. “What happens to you if you eat blue snow?” she asked. I wanted to chuckle. I answered “It’s not good. You can get sick. It might be the fluid that is supposed to go in the car to make the windshield wipers work. Or it could be something else.” She looked like she was worried or might even be sick. “Did you eat some snow?” “Yeah” she said with tears starting to well in her eyes. At Grammy’s magical house, blue snow is blue raspberry flavored. At Grammy’s house, maybe you could see a whole bunch of flavors here and there, under trees and next to Christmas lights! I reassured her…and kept a closer eye on her…
As I aged, I could see that the greater world isn’t as great as the one that Grammy helps me to imagine as a child. I started to let that part of my brain turn to mush. Sometimes, I regretted it, as I tried to see the things my nephew saw when we played. I found it difficult to act silly. But recently, Grammy has invigorated my inner imagination. My mom got me thinking about nesting dolls. You know the Russian dolls that are identical to one another where one fits into another and into another and into another? They are usually wooden and they are in a set of all different sizes? My mother told me about how these are like her and me and my sisters, and every other woman I know. Warning…stoner thought: When a baby girl is born, she is born with all of the eggs that will become her children already inside of her. Before she is born, that girl, with all of her eggs, is inside of her mother. All of that human potential is inside of two bodies. Like those dolls. I was in my mother who was in her mother. WHOA. I have let that percolate. My baby girl was in me, in my mom. That is something truly special. Something mysterious. Something profound.That sort of magic exists in the world in which we already live.
I have come to understand a few things. Monsters do NOT live in Mankato. Fairies MAY exist. (Icelanders believe in them!) and blue snow is most definitely not safe to try. But Grammy could very well be on to something. Don’t count her out! She is certainly raising a group of people who are encouraged in their spirits and alive in their surroundings. I feel lucky that my Little Anouk gets to grow up living in the adventures that her grandma encourages her to believe in.
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