The real and the extraordinary - FamilyEducation

The real and the extraordinary

April 13,2009
We have a silly tradition at our house on Easter Eve. We have many silly traditions in general around here, but this may be one of our silliest. On Easter Eve the kids pick out teacups from T.'s plastic Fisher Price tea set and we put them out in our bunny rabbit Loopy's cage. Once a year, the highlight of Loopy's life is that he gets to have tea with his old buddy the Easter bunny. They wait all year long, those two, for that one night when they can get together, munch on some timothy hay, drink some carrot tea, and reminisce about the good old days. The kids love this tradition, silly though it may be. I love the tradition, and I love that my children love it. I love that they still scamper around, setting up the tea cups in excitement, wondering over how excited Loopy will be to see the Easter bunny. I love how my pragmatic L., who is so rooted in all things real, factual, and here and now, ponders over whether or not he could get our webcam on the laptop to record the Easter bunny's tea. I think I am most touched by that--for in T.'s world everything is possible, but in L.'s structured world only the real is usually possible--the real as defined by the immutable scientific laws of gravity and matter and the workings of an ordered, if mysterious universe; yet he sat there in the office on Easter Eve wondering about the webcam. I was struck by how maybe there--in that intersection between the real and the extraordinary, in those overlapping circles between the two--if that's where all the true miracles can be found. One day far in the future I'll look back on Easter Eve and think about my grown-up kids, and old pet rabbit we once had, and I'll remember this silly tradition. I know I'll feel a pull in my heart, and melancholy nostalgia will wash over me. I'm in no hurry for my kids to grow up (if you've learned only one thing from reading my posts here you've learned that); I'm in no hurry to see the both of them push away from the shores of a place where the real and the extraordinary do intersect--overlap in splendid, and magical ways. Maybe this will be the last year L. will find himself caught up in this semi-enchanted place. Maybe next year he'll have sailed away already, eyes trained firmly ahead--to a horizon we all come to recognize sooner or later. He'll set foot on a new shore--a place of grown-up, practical, real and reasoned things, and give himself wholly to that place. But until then, I'll keep weaving these silly traditions into the fabric of my children's lives--setting out the teacups in April, the goblins and ghouls in October, the Christmas stockings and cookies in December. We'll keep building the fairy houses and the dream catchers and the firefly lanterns. And I'll ooh and ahh with L. over the endless designs he creates, as he plots and plans for a starship that will sail to the farthest corners of the universe. Out of the eighty or ninety years we have on this earth, only about ten of them are spent on that other shore--a place where anything is possible; where imagination defies reason, and logic curls comfortably around the extraordinary. Extraordinary