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For the past several years, someone has left flowers on my front porch steps on Mother’s Day.  Not bouquets in vases but flowers in pots, ready to be planted.  Different kinds each year, but always flowers.  I think it started the first Mother’s Day after Jonah went away.

This year on Mother’s Day I returned from visiting Jonah with my mom and saw the flowers there again, as always – a pot of bleeding hearts this time with a card from Boo, the handwriting unrecognizable (deliberately, I presume).

Always the flowers make my day.  A magician has come, I think to myself.  Someone who knows I drive to visit Jonah every Sunday.  Someone who wishes to remain anonymous…who knows my Mother’s Days are never all that happy since Jonah left, no matter what the day is like.

I used to think of all the possible magicians, trying to identify who in my life could possibly be that dedicated to this.  To me.  Since the flowers started coming, they have never stopped.  Year after year – for 6 or 7 years now without fail, I am visited by a magician who places flowers on my steps and slips away.  This simple, loving, ever-faithful gesture touches my heart more than I can say.

Of course I plant the flowers every year, usually a week or so after I get them.  I like to keep them inside for a while first, so I can look at them, smile, and think about whomever gave them to me – enjoying the mystery of the magician’s annual appearance.

This year, it finally occurred to me: the magician probably reads my blog.  How else would they be certain I’m not home when they arrive every Mother’s Day?  How else would they know I call Jonah Boo? After all, I rarely do so outside this blog.  The already small field of possible magicians narrows.  But I respect their desire to remain anonymous, and I do not intend to ferret them out.

Every year, though, I find myself wishing I could thank the magician.  And now that I am pretty sure they read this blog, I can.

In a “cosmic coincidence” kind of way, this is remarkably similar to a fictional scenario I love and have read many, many times:  the story of Sara Crewe, my all-time favorite heroine in my all-time favorite book, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

At one point in our heroine’s story, she is poor, hungry and living in the dingy attic of a fancy girls’ boarding school.  One day she wakes up to find the attic suddenly and inexplicably transformed with little folding chairs, blankets and pillows, books, steaming tea and little sandwiches set up on a little table, a fire in the long-unused fireplace, and beautiful tapestries on the walls.  Sara is astounded.

Every day the magician, for that is what she calls him, brings more and more little pleasant things to make her happy.  She loves the magic of it and abandons herself happily to the mystery as well, enjoying all that is brought to make her sorrow-filled servant life happier.  But one thing nags at her, and she relates this to Becky, her fellow scullery maid:

“I can’t help thinking about my friend,” Sara explained. “If he wants to keep himself a secret, it would be rude to try and find out who he is. But I do so want him to know how thankful I am to him—and how happy he has made me. Anyone who is kind wants to know when people have been made happy. They care for that more than for being thanked. I wish—I do wish—”

She stopped short because her eyes at that instant fell upon something standing on a table in a corner. It was something she had found in the room when she came up to it only two days before. It was a little writing-case fitted with paper and envelopes and pens and ink.

“Oh,” she exclaimed, “why did I not think of that before?”

She rose and went to the corner and brought the case back to the fire.

“I can write to him,” she said joyfully, “and leave it on the table. Then perhaps the person who takes the things away will take it, too. I won’t ask him anything. He won’t mind my thanking him, I feel sure.”

So she wrote a note. This is what she said:

I hope you will not think it is impolite that I should write this note to you when you wish to keep yourself a secret. Please believe I do not mean to be impolite or try to find out anything at all; only I want to thank you for being so kind to me—so heavenly kind—and making everything like a fairy story. I am so grateful to you, and I am so happy—I used to be so lonely and cold and hungry, and now—oh, just think what you have done for me! Please let me say just these words. It seems as if I OUGHT to say them. THANK you—THANK you—THANK you!

THE LITTLE GIRL IN THE ATTIC.

The next morning she left this on the little table, and in the evening it had been taken away with the other things; so she knew the Magician had received it, and she was happier for the thought.

And so, just like Sara, I get to say:

Thank you for being so kind to me—so heavenly kind—and making everything like a fairy story.  THANK you—THANK you—THANK you!

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When Jonah was a baby, I wrote him some poetry.  My best friend Gina shot and killed herself when boo was just 5 months old, and in my grief I went on a writing frenzy.  They say the writing saves the writer and I know they’re right. 

I need to write my Capital District Parent Pages article for September; it is due soon.  What to say?  I will submit it before he is gone, and it will be published and distributed after he is there.  I may go back in time, like I did for my July article, where I spoke mostly about his natural swimming ability.

I have been re-visiting his past – my pregnancy, his babyhood, everything that led to now.

There is a poem I called Womb Magicand parts of it again ring true; eerily similar to now.  After wanting a waterbirth, I had to have a c-section; it was the opposite of what I’d wanted, just like this. 

I need more magic, more faith.  More freeing of my mind from worry.  God help me but as the days draw to their inevitable beginnings and ends I feel rising panic in my throat, my gut, my heart.  Please, God, help me.  Help Andy, help Boo.  Please help me.  Please and thank you.

I am so grateful for everyone who reads, who reaches out, who understands, or tries to, who reassures and cyber-hugs me.  I am grateful I have this place where I can come and bitch or ponder, express the pain or the wonder or the anxiety.  Shaking, I continue because there is no choice but to continue. 

In the mornings I listen to beautiful music that carries me away – Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff.  I let it enter me and soothe like balm.  On the way to and from work I play Guster, LOUD, singing songs I know so well they are a part of me now.

Anyway, I thought I’d share the poem, for ‘cooking a baby’ isn’t easy – and may well be compared to magic – just like letting go of one (who seems like my baby, even though he’s 9) isn’t at all easy.

Womb Magic

Two rehearsals went awry.

First I stumbled, dropped the wand
I heard the heckling audience’s hiss

and then onstage I felt
I froze
I felt
unsympathetic ruby spotlights
stealing all the magic words
I ever knew.

Of course there is a trick to it.

I was under the illusion
I was under
it
would be effortless, the show’d go on
without me after all it was
a commonplace performance for the man
behind the curtain, for all the men
behind every curtain

and I said
if I was not the world’s best
well I could always adopt another occupation
I could take on an apprentice I could
quietly retire

but then
in time
at last
suspending
disbelief

I conjured you from soul and cell and bone
with nothing up my sleeve
in one swift sleight of
hand

and pulled,
to rave reviews,
a living breathing rabbit
from an enchanted empty hat.

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