My youngest son Liam is currently obsessed with Harry Potter. This is not surprising, given that my husband, my oldest son Ronan and myself are also in love with the wizarding world that J.K. Rowling created, and encourage the frequent reading and re-reading of the novels in our home. Liam just finished the seventh and final book last week, and spends his free time casting spells in our backyard with anyone who will play along.
About a month ago, Liam had a friend sleepover and we were watching one of the Harry Potter movies before bed. His friend asked, “We’re all half-bloods, right?” to which I responded, “No, unfortunately, we are all muggles.” Liam interjected, “Well, actually, I’m not sure yet. I might be a wizard.”
Today is Liam’s eighth birthday. I know that he was referring to the fact that he’s not yet eleven years old, which is the year that you find out for sure if you are a wizard in the world of Harry Potter. But I also know that my sweet boy is eight years old and he still believes in the possibility of that which we cannot see or know. He still believes in magic.
Most of us start to lose our sense of wonder sometime between the ages of eight and eighty. We start to define the world by the things we can be absolutely sure of, the things we can weigh or measure, see and touch, test and peer review. We forget that much of what we now know was only recently unknown, and that the future still holds discoveries about the universe that are beyond our capacity to conceive in our wildest dreams.
If I could give my son anything for his eighth birthday, it would be the ability to hold onto wonder. I’d tuck it away in the recesses of his heart, and cast a protective charm over it so he could retrieve it in the depths of his adulthood, when wonder is slipping through his fingers in the face of adult burdens and world weariness. I’d encase it in a golden snitch so he could open it at the close, or anytime in between, when he needed to be reminded that this world is so vast and we know but a tiny fraction of its magic.
I can’t do that though. I can offer a whisper of “lumos” to light his path, but ultimately, he’ll have to find a way to hold onto magic on his own. And I have reason to believe that he just might.
“Mom, no adult should ever really say that magic doesn’t exist.”
“Why is that Liam?”
“Because love is magic. We help other people when we love them like wizards help other people with magic. So as long as there is love left in this world, there is magic.”
Liam, we don’t need to wait for your eleventh birthday or an owl delivering a letter from Hogwarts. That you know this precious truth is all the proof we need.
You are a wizard Liam.