Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Touch of Magic

Three years ago, I had newborn twins. My three-year-old wet her bed every night and tantrumed every day. And my kindergartener was essentially kicked out of public school for antisocial behavior.

Wonderful friends wanted to help...and they did. But there is only so much friends can do. An amazing extended family offered lots of support, but most of it was long-distance. My husband was a great help, of course. Still, someone had to pay for all the diapers and Enfamil...so basically I was alone most of the time.

With four kids 5 and under.

Then, an eleven year old boy swooped in on his Nimbus 2000 and saved my life.

I had heard about Harry before. In fact, I'd started reading about his Hogwarts adventures at the urging of family and friends. But, as much as I love reading and children's lit, I just couldn't get into the fantasy genre. His movies got great reviews, but I never got around to seeing them. I was busy living in the real world.

By the winter of 2004, however, my reality left a lot to be desired. Crying, spit-up, sleepless nights and laundry piles were all to be expected. The reality of autism in my golden, freckled five-year-old was a crushing life sentence.

This time, when I entered Harry's world, I brought a friend. A troubled, often misunderstood little boy who knew broomsticks could fly and cats could talk. A boy who knew how Harry felt, because he, too, had caused trouble he couldn't explain and had thoughts he couldn't control. Someone who also felt like a foreigner among Muggles.

Every day after lunch, I'd hurry to clean up and tuck the younger ones in for naps. Then, my little wizard and I would snuggle under the covers and spend an hour or two at Hogwarts. I don't know who needed the magic more, the listener or the reader.

The delicious descriptions and delightful details of Potter's world made reading aloud so pleasurable. His friends lived and breathed for us and became part of our family. His enemies became real, as well, and made our own Muggle muddles seem a little less tragic. Harry's magic spells charmed us through many dark snow days, doctor's waiting rooms, and long, hot summer afternoons.

Now, Harry's back again and a lot has happened in the meantime.

My little bedwetter magically transformed herself into a big girl. In true Hermoine style, she has mastered charms and can cast a spell on unsuspecting victims. Her beauty is second only to her intelligence. She is comfortable being the only witch among wizards.

The twins, of course, are following in the footsteps of the famous Weasley brothers. Like Fred and George, their two heads put together cook up all manner of mischief.

And, although we didn't have a sorting hat or receive an owl-delivered invitation, my oldest found just the right school for his needs. Teachers with the patience of McGonagall and wisdom of Dumbledore taught him to read and write. To make eye contact and speak up for himself. To make a little more sense of his own world, to get along with Muggles.

While Quidditch isn't offered as an afterschool activity around here, my guy has learned to fly on the soccer field, at the gym and in the pool. Sitting still through Sunday meetings takes more effort than winning the Triwizard Tournament, but he gets stronger every week. Like Harry, he struggles to know who his real friends are, but those closest to him are fiercely protective.

This boy has a lifetime of battles to fight. But, I know, like his hero, he can find the magic within.

Thanks, Harry, and welcome back!


Nimmy said...

This post is so sweet! Cute Jake. . .you are a wonderful mother to this little wizard!

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

You are such a great writer. I just loved this post.

Have you finished the 7th book yet? I just finished yesterday and would LOVE to have someone to chat with about it. So, so good!

lainakay said...

What a wonderful post! I don't read Harry Potter but now I wonder...maybe they would be good read aloud books for my munchkins.

Rochelleht said...

How fun! I had a great time reading #7 and feel sort of down the last couple of days because I miss it. That's the problem with a super great book. You can't wait to get to the end, but then it's over too quickly.

I loved this cute post!

gab said...

I'm reading it aloud and will probably not finish til the end of summer vacation...we've got to make it last...so please, no one tell me how it ends!!!!!!

Annie said...

That gave me chills. It's miraculous the difference a good book can make...let alone a whole series! I read the first one out loud to my crew and then they took up the rest on their own, leaving me in the dust. This makes me want to read the whole series this summer for myself in one fell swoop.

p.s. both of my little HP fans cried at the end of #7...mostly just knowing it was all over.

marta said...

so cute! i am glad that i get to come be a character in your cottage full of magic! your life is a harry potter book.. how crazy!!

Mique said...

Hi there- I've lurked for awhile and decided to finally show myself. I'll be honest- I haven't read any Harry Potter (I know, I know) but reading your post made me laugh & was so well written. I've visited you quite often and for some reason did not know your oldest has autism...mine too....I always feel an instant connection with a mom when I find out their child has autism (you're in my club ;) Anyway, just wanted to say hello and say congrats on all you've accomplished. Have a great day!

marta said...

I think it was Jake who said,:" Luckier than I you can never be...I had a mother who read to me." What a fun tradition!

Marty: said...

I am stealing Marta's identity. My last comment came from her. Is it the hogwart spell? I'll try to find myself.

Shaka said...

your children are beautiful!

Celia Fae said...

You are right. This is your best post. I loved reading it all over again.

Lisa-Marie said...

I'm so glad that you shared your favorite post. That was beautiful and you are amazing!

Jenibelle said...

Harry and friends really are magic aren't they?

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