(This is one of the many faerie gardens we created together)
First, a little back story....
When my Littles were little, faeries were real. They just knew they were. My Shannon (around 3 years old or so) would go out back and have little tea parties with her faerie friend. It was not unusual to look out there and see her dancing around as if she was dancing with someone we could not see. She told me the story of her fae friend who lived in the drainage pipe in the stone wall in our back yard. Her little friend shared the hole with a friendly, but grumpy toad. Now, we always saw that toad around the yard...mainly because our dog Digger loved to play with him, poking at him to make him hop around (mind you, Digger was always careful not to hurt the toad...he wanted to keep him hopping). According to Shannon this was part of the reason he was always so grumpy...the big yellow beast was always picking on him :)
She once explained to me that adults couldn't see her fae friend because "you are grown up". Then she ran off to go play again.
We had gone camping down at Brazos Bend one weekend. We were on a small walk along one of the trails when we came to an open meadow. It was near dusk and the field was literally blanketed with the largest collection of fireflies I had ever seen in my entire life...it truly was awe inspiring. I knelt down next to Shannon and pointed to the meadow so she would see. She turned around and whispered excitedly to me "Yook mom, took at all the faiwees!" Then she stood there staring...in total awe....as did I at that point as well.
The next evening at the campsite, Connor, then around 8 years old, had caught a firefly in a jar and was watching it flicker and glow. Shannon came up behind him, clearly thinking he had caught a faerie in the jar. When she saw it was a bug, she looked a little surprised. Without skipping a beat Connor turned to her and explained that when faeries are caught, they make themselves look like bugs so people will let them go. Shannon seemed to like the explanation and the two of them watched it for a while longer, then let it go free.
I could go on for hours about all the magical stories my kiddos would weave during those younger years, but that would go on forever.
Since faeries were everywhere, well, we began seeing them everywhere :) When we went on family trips, we would seek out hollows that were potential faerie homes. It became a common thing when we camped for the kiddos to run about looking for them. When they found one they would shout out about it then look for tiny trinkets or treats to place at the entry...as a gift for the tiny being that obviously dwelled within.
Here is a picture of what they excitedly called "A faerie apartment building" in a giant redwood tree somewhere near Big Sur. The tree had hollows all up the trunk as far as the eye could see :)
Back home, they would spend hours in the backyard using twigs, stones, moss, mud, leaves and flower petals to build some pretty wonderful faerie homes or playgrounds. Always at the base of a tree, near a hollow....but never blocking up the hollow as that needed to be clear so the tiny being could come out and enjoy what they had created.
At night, they would leave berries outside as gifts for the faeries and in the morning there would always be some sort of gift in return. Sometimes it was a bird feather....other times it would be an acorn cap or pebble. Occasionally, it would be a tiny wooden bucket or plates and flatware. On rare occasions, it would even be tiny vials of pixie dust. This Pixie dust was to be sprinkled, in tiny amounts on their beds at night to help them go to sleep and have wonderful dreams.
One time the faerie folk left them a collection of tiny sketchbooks. They spent hours drawing in them to fill them up and then return them to the faerie folk as a special gift to them. Something tells me the faerie folk still have those wee tiny books with all their wee tiny drawings in them...tucked away in a special keepsake spot :)
As you can see, we had so much fun during this whole magical time in all our lives.
By now you have figured out, this is not so much about faeries, as it is about allowing our kiddos the precious space and freedom...and all the encouragement we adults can muster ... to see and live the magic they see around them every day.
Children are amazing! They see magic in every single little thing around them...I honestly believe that when they invite us into their world...even for a little bit, they are giving us one of the most amazing gifts ever.
Childhood is such a magical time...never again in our lives will a hole in the base of a tree be the door to a magical being's home.
We adults get so busy with the mechanics of day to day life. We end up forgetting about all the fun we used to have....all the magic we too used to see. We really do forget how much magic is all around us.
Children, by contrast, live in the moment they are in....by encouraging their imaginations and being with them in this period of their lives, we too are being granted an amazing gift.
We get to be children again for a brief while.
A special second chance, only this time we are adults so we are aware of how precious and fleeting this time is...and we are capable of making the most of every second.
This is the gift of children....this is the gift they bring to us...if we are willing to stop, put down our phones, turn off our computers or stop thinking of the next task we need to accomplish long enough to see.
I hope that by sharing this with you all, that I have inspired some of you to get out there and play with your kiddos...in their world. Each child has their own world...it need not be faerie folk. It could be anything really. Talk to them...you will see.
Some day, I will share with you the nightly adventures of the two teddy bears named Guerin and Turco and how they could never seem to get back into bed with their little boy before he woke up. Nearly every morning, they would be caught mid act trying to climb back up in bed, playing in the wooden block castle he built the day before or half in and half out or the toy bin across the room.
One morning they were even found in the hallway with a trail of treats behind them that they pilfered from the kitchen.
They were troublesome bears to say the least :)