My Daddy, My Magic

I believe in magic. I may not believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or Santa, but that�s because I believe in the man behind the myths. For years, my daddy somehow managed to silently lift my long, blond locks in order to slip a dollar under my sleeping, toothless head. He�d wake up at 3 am to stuff stockings while sipping lukewarm milk and munching cookies, the bait I strategically left in hopes of capturing proof of my jolly fantasy. Whether it was coaching my soccer team while running up and down the field or sitting in the front row at everything from my middle school �academic excellence� awards to my master's graduation; he has always been there. He's my rock, my biggest cheerleader, the best man I know.

I had lunch with a friend recently who understandably disagreed with my belief in magic because “magic” intrinsically implies a naiveté, an ignorance or hopeless optimism that as we “mature” we are taught to disregard and replace with practicality. While I certainly understand the concept of evolving, I simply cannot shake the resplendent luster of life that my dad taught me. The appreciation for people and things, experiences and circumstances that present a daily novelty adorned with possibility. My concept of magic has evolved; it’s matured and is not defined by life’s "Hallmark" moments, but rather by the far more special moments that often go unseen, lost in obligations and nonstop, expected accessibility.

As I humbly witness my dad battle for his life against cancer, I can’t help but simultaneously witness the fear, doubt and insecurity that accompany these undesirable circumstances. I hold my breath with instantaneous paralysis at the mere thought of what a world looks like in which my dad is not here to love me, support me, breathe life into my seemingly impossible dreams and protect me, if only from my own self-criticism. At the ranch last weekend, my world was put on hold; nothing vying for my attention other than the company of my family and in that forced presence, magic happened.

I went to hug my dad, and time stood still. It only lasted a few seconds, but in that moment with my arms flung around his neck, his gentle voice booming, his signature smell and his heartbeat faintly guiding my own, I witnessed magic. I closed my eyes and, as he has taught me my whole life, I took a picture. I opened my eyes just to make sure I was capturing every detail and then closed them again to lock it into my memory. A smile spread across my face because I stole a moment of time that will forever be mine. You see, life is a whirlwind of colors, tastes, heartbreaks, unbridled joy, birth and death along with unforeseen twists and turns on a Technicolor roller coaster. If we are willing, though, to be honest with each other and ourselves, we have the ability to witness the most magical and sacred moments.

So with regard to my friend�s disbelief in magic, I hope to inspire you to redefine your definition. Understandably not in a hopping, furry friend or even a white-bearded North Pole native; but in life�s richest details that more often than not, go unseen. Magic is everywhere and childlike wonder is a choice that brightens the palette from which we paint our life�s greatest masterpiece. And to my daddy, thank you for some of my life�s greatest moments, snapshots and crystallized nuggets of wisdom. Most of all, thank you for teaching me to always believe in magic.

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