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How A Flying Fairy Made Me A Better Mom

By on 10/01/2015
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flying fairy

The scene looks like many school mornings. We’re down to the wire. Bowls of half-eaten oatmeal line the kitchen island as I announce the countdown to the bus…7:28am looms large on the microwave clock. We need to get out of here now.

But in the middle of the crazy mess, “Happy Birthday” is sung to our very own sweet Julia. She’s seven years old today. For many months, Julia has saved her favorite fairy toy for her annual classroom ‘birthday share.’ It’s the pinnacle of every first grader’s life, and today is her day.

This isn’t just any fairy; it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. It’s a flying fairy, a purple and pink celestial wonder with a delicately painted face, that ascends from its stand and levitates in the air before floating around the room like an angel. Although the motor resembles something inside of my son’s remote-control sports car, it somehow sounds more like a hummingbird when tucked between two sheer, perfectly curved vellum wings. It’s no surprise that this is Julia’s prized possession, for it closely resembles her in some mysterious way, as most kids’ favorite toys do. With meticulous care, Julia prepares her fairy for its first commute on a school bus.

The bus is late and we make it. The kids pile in. Three more children to drive to school and, one by one, my minivan empties. And there I am, all by myself with “Baa Baa Black Sheep” still playing through the rear speakers. My face is unwashed. I’m in my pajamas, braless under my heavy winter coat. My hair is in a messy ponytail crying for some long lost attention. The outdoor temperature on my dashboard reads seven degrees, next to the ‘low tire pressure’ light that I’ve been ignoring for days. I grimace from the biting wind as I drop off the dry cleaning…via the drive-through. I know, but it’s really that cold.

The house is how we left it and I survey the scene while climbing over a spilled basket of unmatched mittens. A collage of toys covers the living room floor, and three puzzles carpet the dining room table. Bunches of grapes and now-crusted oatmeal lace the breakfast bowls. But it’s silent and I think to myself, “I will do it later.” I have a rare morning to myself- no appointments, no errands, just some peace and quiet to be spent as I wish. What a luxury! I smile to myself as I shun the mess and opt for a long hot, uninterrupted shower. I’m feeling giddy.

And then I see her. The fairy. She’s perched in her base on the kitchen table, right where Julia stood when I hollered the two minute countdown. The image of steamy hot water and clean hair has not left my mind’s eye as we, the fairy and I, stare at each other for something like three days. I see Julia opening her backpack at school only to discover the mistake. And I feel her little heart break…

What is better than a long awaited hot shower? What is more fulfilling than silence? It’s that thing that makes a mother… a mother. It’s the sudden memory of a love that matters more than my free time. It’s the recollection of my true identity that isn’t shaped by me, but by my love for someone else. And I say to the fairy, “You’re coming with me.”

She arrives at the school, attached to a “happy birthday” balloon I picked up along the way, just to say “I love you, Julia. I love how you make me be me. My true me. My better me.”

The pristine, purple fairy with a Mylar halo is shielded from the cruel January wind by a mom who is still in her pajamas, borderline indecent under her coat, with a messy ponytail and an unwashed face. The secretaries buzz me in and I appear before the sliding office window. They take one look and they know why I’m there. “We will bring this to her right away.”

As I drive home, I realize that it’s sunny outside, and it’s suddenly not as cold as I thought it was. I think of my sweet Julia- my real-life, fluttering, twirling fairy with arms for wings, the stuff that dreams are made of… and my eyes fill up. Without her, I would only have had a hot shower and maybe a good hair day. But today, I got a new heart instead. Happy birthday, Julia.

Tara Sareen
Tara is a Certified Health Coach for mothers in the Greater Boston Area. She lives with her husband and eight children. As the founder of iCrave Coaching, Tara coordinates her clients' wellness goals around nutrition, weight loss, appropriate physical activity and stress management. Find her at http://www.iCraveCoaching.com and on Facebook at iCrave Coaching.
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