I believe in magic. The kind of magic that can happen in life when you are just living it.

Like when you meet someone for the first time and end up talking for 4 hours and still have things you want to say to him and things you want to hear from him.

Or when you are reading aloud to a class of 7-year-olds the part in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where Charlie is opening the very last candy bar that he will ever, ever have. It’s his last chance to get a golden ticket. The last golden ticket. And he slowly, oh so slowly, pulls just one corner open to see if there is a golden ticket and you notice that every child is leaning forward, perfectly still, with those eyes of hope waiting for you to read the next few words…that moment is magic.

Or when you are riding the crowded subway at evening rush hour and everyone is quiet and gloomy, but you have Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal blasting through your ear buds and inside your body you are dancing exactly like Michael and then you see your reflection in the subway car window and smile at yourself.

Or when one of my students sounds out a word and blends the sounds together for the first time all by himself after working on it for 2 months and I raise my arms in the air and shout: YOU’RE READING! and I see that smile s-l-o-w-l-y spread across his face that let’s me know that he knows something big has shifted over in him and then we have a little dance party.

Or when in the middle of the night I hear and feel a slight, steady vibration in my pillow and I realize my cat is lying on the other side of it purring.

Or when my son and I are watching Chimp Eden on Animal Planet at 6:30 on a school morning just like we always do and I start crying because Lily, the baby chimp, helps Zoe, the older just-rescued chimp, feel not as scared by crawling in to her lap and my son notices I’m crying and says “It’s okay, mommy, it’s just love.”

Or when, after pinning-sewing-pressing and ripping out, then pinning-sewing-pressing and ripping out, again pinning-sewing-pressing and ripping out, AGAIN pinning-sewing-pressing, I have made a shirt collar that has points in the right places and will sort of look right if I hide a safety-pin in just the right place and all I have left to do is figure out how to make the rest of the shirt.

Or when I am in a meeting at school about my son with the psychologist, social worker, principal, guidance counselor, speech therapist, special education teacher, general education teacher, and occupational therapist and someone says lovingly that my son has a lot to say and he wants everyone to hear it and everyone at the meeting smiles quietly and one of my dear colleagues says “I wonder where he gets that from?”

Or when I use to look in my mother’s blue eyes and she didn’t know who I was, but I could see that she saw herself in me and I saw myself in her.

Or when I start thinking about something and I start writing it in my head and it grows and percolates in my head for hours or sometimes weeks and even sometimes years before I finally am ready to write it down on paper.

I believe in that kind of magic.


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