We went to a winter fair at Eva’s school recently, where a girl dressed as a fairy gave her a gemstone. This was a Big Event, much discussed at bedtime. “Maybe you’ll be a fairy one day,” I mused, picturing her as an older girl at the winter fair while unthinkingly crossing a boundary. Until this point in the conversation, the fairy had been a Real Fairy. We were in one reality, and then I stepped into another, expecting her to follow me like another adult.
Beautiful essay. I have a memory—maybe part imagination—that in your childhood home, the Magi figurines would start far off (several feet away, on a mantle or shelf, I think) and move closer gradually until they joined the rest of the crèche at their big moment in the nativity story.
Now I do this with my crèche each year. However incomplete my memory, I credit your parents with a lovely way of playing with the real.