633: “Are fairies real, Mommy?” And … “Will we see fairies?” What do you say?

ll this week, we’ve explored mystical realms that can light up fresh spiritual awareness for us (like “The Night Fairy” on Monday), or can embarrass us (like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on Tuesday)—or can both enlighten us and embarrass us at the same time (like the Harvard Psychedelic Club on Wednesday).
    TODAY, let’s talk parent-to-parent about the fun of fairies as our children are growing up and exploring the world with us. Author and marketing consultant Lynne Meredith Schreiber—a parent herself—writes a two-part story for us about these delightful real-life encounters …

The Story of Ann Arbor’s Fairy Doors
    … and the Roots of Belief, Part 1 (Click here for Part 2)

By Lynne Meredith Schreiber

We were driving home from a playdate when Asher asked if we could take a trip to Ann Arbor to see the fairy doors.
“Sure,” I told my 8-year-old eldest son. “During February break from school we’ll spend a day finding them.”
Then 6-year-old Eliana chimed in. “Will we see the fairies?”
Before I could respond, Asher jumped in with a question.
“Are fairies real, Mommy?” he asked, in all his growing-older skepticism.
Like any good mother who wants to prolong her children’s innocence, I shot the question back to him. “What do you think?”
“I don’t know. I can’t see them,” he said.
“Of course they’re real,” Eliana insisted. “If the tooth fairy is real, these fairies have to be real, too.”
“I don’t know if the tooth fairy is real,” Asher said.
I honestly had to bite my tongue to keep from smiling. Thank God I was driving and had to face forward.
“She IS real,” Eliana retorted. “Otherwise, who would leave the money and take the tooth?”
“Well…maybe Mommy did,” Asher said quietly.
Damn. I kept listening, not wanting to jump in until I had to.
“She didn’t! I know it was the tooth fairy. Otherwise why would Mommy have her phone number in her address book?” Eliana said.
Two years earlier, when they asked how the tooth fairy knows about a lost tooth, I’d told my kids the parents contact her. Asher wanted to see her contact information, of course, so I pointed to a blank entry in my address book and explained that phone, fax, address and email are written in special ink that only adults can see. When he turns 18, I said, he can see for himself.
My children believed me. Asher even pulled out my address book during a playdate to show other kids. I love this part of childhood.

Back to the car that day and the fairy doors: Asher replied to his sister’s comment that he’ll remain unconvinced until he turns 18 and can see for himself. OK. That buys us 10 years. And in the meantime, Asher wanted to see the fairy doors.
But the topic of believing in something we can’t see brought God into the question as the conversation unfolded. Finally, it was my turn to jump in without giving away the secret that imagination is simply imagination.
“Well, you believe in God and you can’t see Him,” I told Asher.
“That’s different,” he said.
“How is that different? You believe in Africa and Australia though you’ve never seen those countries. And you believe in lots of other things that you haven’t seen or can’t see but still you believe in them. Fairies are exactly the same.”

And besides, I thought, there are actual doors peppered throughout the city of Ann Arbor, behind which, apparently, fairies live.

    MEANWHILE, test your vision with the photo below. Can you find the Fairy Door?

Lynne Meredith Schreiber has written five books and many magazine articles. She is the Chief Creative Officer of Your People LLC, a company that provides community-focused marketing and public relations.

NOTE on the photos with this story: Some of the illustrations with this week’s series of articles come from Victorian-era picture books, now in the public domain. The color photographs of Fairy Doors, like the one above and more photos with Part 2, were taken by photographers from Divine Light Media, a high-school-age media-production group at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, which includes: Alex DeHart, A.J. Gay, Sarah Higdon, Joey Houghton, Alex Koukios, Blake Martin, Eric Seitz and others. The Divine Light crew retraced the steps of Lynne and her children—hoping to catch glimpses of what they saw.

(Click here for Part 2)


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    (Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)

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