Monday, September 21, 2015

Pixie Dust

As a fourth grader, she's on the edge of childhood, when magic and fairies and other things of whimsy still dot the mental landscape as tangible and real. But the day creeps ever nearer when they won't.
This weekend, she participated in a cross country meet. She was one of 94 girls, eight dropped out over the course of the two miles. I worried the whole time she would quit. I knew it was farther than she'd ever run. 
When I saw her come over the hill, part of me wanted to run with her, to get everyone to run behind her so she'd know, finishing mattered and how proud I was of her. I needn't have worried. The other mothers and girls that lined the course seemed to get the importance of this last runner puffing along. They cheered. They clapped. They heard me and her brothers and sisters screaming her name and others took it up.
"Come on! Come on! You can do it!"
The organization has runners called "Rabbits" who track with the fastest and slowest runners, and her Rabbit jogged along side, he also cheered her on. When she finished, I don't think she heard a single cheer, but the smile on her winded face told me, she got it. Finishing mattered.
A water and an ice cream later, she told me, "I am never doing that again." and my heart sank, I hoped she wouldn't quit, but I wasn't going to push. The coach came over and gave her a hug and talked about running being a constant race against yourself and how proud she should be for finishing. Other parents from other schools saw her and said, "Great run." They knew how fragile a moral victory can be.
When we got home, she informed me how the other day when she'd lost two teeth, the tooth fairy missed her note. While she watched a video, I went to her room and found it. "Dear Tooth Fairy, I would like some fairy dust." I sat with the note, weighing everything and the tooth fairy, wrote back.
"My Dearest,
Your mother found the note and put it under the pillow for me. I want to tell you something. While Fairies need Pixie dust, we do not make it. You my darling girl, make pixie dust.
When you persist when things are hard, whether it is homework or running or learning an instrument, you create a finer world via your work, and it is wondrous to behold.
When you are brave when things get tough, and stick it out even when you feel like quitting; you create pixie dust.
Fairies fly because of people like you, creating more amazing things than we magics can ever imagine. So keep up the good work! Don't quit. 
Love, T.F."

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