I believe in magic. I really do.
Not the magic from fantasy novels and films that I longed for as a teenager. I still love the escapism that those offer – the ability to vanquish enemies and do good in the world by concentrating your special powers. But I know that doesn’t exist.
I’m talking about a different kind of magic.
There is magic in so many aspects of life: a spring bud unfurling, birdsong soaring me skywards, sunshine on my face, music that has the power to raise goosebumps. The power of words that can tell me I’m wanted and loved. An unexpected gift. We just have to take the time to look for these and appreciate them to the full though I’m not always good at that.
One magic that works every time though is the power of one small boy’s smile.
Whatever mood I’m in, Pudding’s smile will sneak its way past my defences.
When I’m frustrated in the morning and am chasing a semi-naked boy round the house to get his trousers on before the school taxi arrives, he’ll look back at me and grin. Suddenly it’s not a chore, it’s a game.
When I’m trying to get the dinner ready while answering a thousand questions from T about Dr Who monsters and simultaneously sending an email, Pudding will worm his way between me and the work surface to look at the food. A hopeful smile and I cave, letting him have a tit-bit before he thunders back to the TV.
Half-asleep when I open his door in the morning, how can I help but respond to his excited grin when he pushes past me to throw himself onto our bed and his Daddy?
Even though I adore the peace and quiet of having the house to myself, the best bit of my day is watching him get out taxi and knowing the smile that lights up his face is just for me.
I love the games of tickle that Hubby plays with him, Pudding’s excited anticipation that breaks into deep chuckles; it makes me smile just thinking about them.
And then there are the times when I watch his face watching the TV. That beautiful slow smile spreading wider and wider until the magic shines out, wonderfully and irresistibly. His joy is bottled in my heart to buffer against the darker days.
There is nothing fake or forced about it – he simply wouldn’t know how.
The magic doesn’t just work on me; countless friends and strangers have been drawn in by it. He may not say hello or goodbye any more, or even acknowledge people as much as he used to. But one smile and it doesn’t matter at all.
Whatever he loses, I hope he never loses that. I know from other boys that their beautiful smile can stay long after much else has gone.
I believe in magic.