‘I don’t want Andy to lose his magic’, she said.
I understood this right away. For of course, Andy is magic exactly how he is right now. His delightful, now four-toothed, smile is magnetic. His strong bare little legs climbing him up staircase after staircase are beautiful. His sweet smile and almost daily new words are irresistible. And his hair, those sweet top-of-the head curls are adorable. Andy is a baby, our ‘precious, precious, baby’ Ben calls him. And he is magic.
There is something about a little one getting their first haircut that takes some of the baby out of them. Suddenly, they look more like a little person. So, I understood completely how Kaitlyn, Andy’s mom, wanted to hang on to every single second of his babyhood.
I suppose we all had magic to start with. But somewhere between Andy and ninety, we either lose it, or forget we have it.
I’ve been thinking about how and when we lose our magic. To lose something, we have to have had it in the first place. This idea gave me hope, since I know for sure babies have magic. Ergo, we must all have had it.
I don’t believe we lose it. I’ve seen too many examples of people with magic to believe this. But I do suspect we stop believing that we, or others have it. And I think, in the fast pace of our lives, we forget to notice it.
It’s even difficult to clearly identify magic. We know it when we see it, but it’s tough to define. It’s really just a special quality or ability someone or something has, that seems too wonderful to be real. That’s why it’s so easy to see in babies and so much harder to find in the rest of us. And it’s easy to feel like we have lost it.
We lose our magic anytime it is scary to let go of one stage and move on to the next, fearing the magic will be left behind. We lose our magic when we try something new. We lose our magic when we are stuck; stuck in a job we no longer like, stuck behaving in ways we know don’t serve us or those around us, stuck in routines that no longer hold a sparkle for us. We can lose our magic when we stop showing up as our best. We lose our magic when we begin to feel invisible.
Yet, I also know this. If we turn our eye away from a magic trick, even for a short moment, we miss it. This is true whether the magic is performed on stage with theatrical music and a person with a black hat, or whether it is found in our office, or living room, or car, or classroom or hospital. But the magic is there. I’ve seen it.
I’ve seen magic in kind gestures. I’ve seen magic in funny comments, as they lighten the mood of entire rooms. I’ve seen magic in the scenery on our hikes. I’ve seen magic shared in a glance. I’ve seen magic as people have become more than they ever imagined. I’ve seen magic when bravery was dared. I’ve seen magic when a hand was held in comfort. I’ve seen magic recently as countries have opened their doors to the refugees seeking shelter from a war, and as young mothers lined up empty strollers for the incoming mothers, fleeing the war, to use for their babies.
Just like at a magic show, the magician performs more and better to applause. So too, it is in our lives. If, when we see magic, we would not quickly turn away, but rather extend the moment by breathing it in, or noticing it out loud, or complementing it, or reflecting on it later, we would encourage more of it. We would teach others to see it, so they too could encourage more of it.
We need magic.
Andy did get his hair cut. Kaitlyn was right. He looked so much more like he was becoming a little boy. Two days after the hair cutting, I dropped Andy and Ben off at home after having played with them for the afternoon. I said goodbye to Ben who responded, ‘Bye Gramma. Thank you for the good day.’ Andy’s not able to say bye-bye yet but I said, ‘Bye Andy!’ And I waved. He smiled his beautiful smile. And then he waved. For his very first time.
Andy’s still got his magic.
So do the rest of us.
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations and for conducting leadership reviews. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to find your magic.