Everything I Know about Faeries I Learned from my Four-Year-Old
From Syndicated Humor Columnist Robin O'Bryant
“Momma, dey can fwy weally high and dey hab wings and dey don't want you to catch dem.” Emma nodded her head, excited, her blue eyes wide and serious.
Her knowledge regarding the fae, it would seem, is limitless. But my six-year-old, Aubrey, a skeptic, couldn't help but argue with her little sister as Emma attempted to share her wealth of knowledge with us.
“EMMA! Faeries are NOT real!” Aubrey said with her hands on her hips. “They are just pretend, just like the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus-- but they don't like it if you catch them.” She contradicted herself without even realizing it.
I think I just heard you gasp. That's right, my kids don't believe in Santa or The Bunny.
Some people might call me a Bible thumper and they might be a little bit right. I grew up in the church and I'm raising my kids that way, which means we celebrate our holy days in very traditional ways. I hope you won't hold that against me because we spent an entire morning talking about faeries, and I really want to share it with you.
Signe was my neighbor in Charleston for a very short time. She moved in and I moved out in only a few weeks time. When we met and realized we were both writers, we immediately started quizzing each other on what the other was reading, writing, and who we knew.
Signe told me she was working on a book about faeries and I assumed it was fiction. When I learned it was non-fiction, I assumed Signe was wackadoo. (I kid. I thought she was amazing and lovely, because she is.) But I didn't understand exactly what she was working on.
I was intrigued but skeptical as I read Faery Tale, but after falling in love with Signe in person, I knew there had to be substance to the book. As I read, I found myself agreeing with Signe's insights again and again.
I'm not one of those Christians who thinks she knows everything, and I realize there are a lot of those around. From what I've seen of it, God's creation is big. If he exists, and I think he does, he must be even bigger. I'm teaching my children to love and respect everyone around them, regardless of how they look, dress or what they believe. And I am raising my children to believe in themselves, in the power of their creativity, in the power of their imaginations and that sometimes magical, unexplainable things happen.
I believe that there are spiritual things in other realms that we cannot comprehend and I think anyone would be ignorant to say they know what lies outside of what we can see.
Are faeries real?
I really couldn't say from my own experiences. But I spent Saturday stretched out on a quilt under the dappled sunlight of an extremely old pecan tree captivated by my daughters' imaginations.
Even my six-year-old cynic, Aubrey, while she firmly maintained her stance that faeries were only make believe, couldn't help but get swept away in our conversation. Aubrey mused that faeries must have saltshakers full of dew to sprinkle on plants and spider webs while we sleep.
Emma, the most mischievous and mechanically minded child I have ever encountered, borrowed an image from Disney and explained at length about “Tinks,” faeries whose job it is to fix or tinker with all things broken-- and believe me, Emma knows about broken things.
Sadie, my roly-poly, dimpled toddler strapped on some sparkly wings and giggling, ran through the grass with her bare feet, occasionally pausing to flap her arms.
To me, faeries are the glitter and the sparkle in my daughters' eyes.
They are the possibility of magic and something more.
They are at the heart of imagination and imagination is at the heart of faith.
How do we believe in anything if we can't first imagine it exists?
I don't know exactly what faeries are, but I know they turned a hum-drum Saturday at my house into an outdoor adventure full of magic and imagination my kids will remember for years to come, and that is worth believing in.
Robin O'Bryant is a syndicated humor columnist, author and tweetaholic. (@robinobryant) She blogs about the ridiculousness and hilarity of motherhood over on Robin's Chicks, which she hopes is never used against her in a court of law, because that would totally suck.