If I'm being entirely honest here, my parents are mostly to blame for my overactive imagination. It's Christmas Eve, and I can't help remembering the great lengths my mom and dad went to in order to bring Santa to life every year for me and my sister. Before our rational brains got the best of us, my sister and I enjoyed some truly magical Christmas mornings.
We didn't just find presents from Santa under the tree. On the plate of cookie crumbs, there would be a (typed) thank you note from Santa. Out in the yard where we left hay for the reindeer, there would be a few scattered bits left behind. Eventually we got wise. We thought about it. How come the presents from Santa were wrapped in the same paper mom used? (The answer: because mom left it out for the elves to wrap them.) Why were Santa's thank you notes typed? (The answer: they left the computer on for Santa to use.) Our parents' attempts to keep the illusion alive were commendable, and I always laugh thinking about it. They were determined to make magic real for us for as long as possible. And even when my sister and I got wise, we let Mom and Dad think we still believed for a couple more years. We hadn't quite figured out that we weren't getting extra presents from Santa. Now, however we realize that we would have had the same amount of presents regardless of a couple having Santa's name on them instead of "from Mom and Dad."
It wasn't just Christmas, though. My fondest memory of magic in my childhood had me believing fervently in the tooth fairy. When we lost a tooth it was the usual routine: put it under the pillow, wake up in the morning to a dollar. When I was 6 I had to have my two front teeth pulled. This was the big one, or the big two I should say! I mean, because of that "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" became the most played song during the holidays. Anyway, I put those two suckers under my pillow that night thinking a couple dollars would be waiting for me in the morning. Boy, was I wrong. Beneath my pillow were two five dollar bills! Those bills were covered in glitter (excuse me, "fairy dust"). Not only that! There was a trail of fairy dust from my bed, out of the bedroom, down the hall, and across the living room to the window. That morning magic was real and I will cherish that feeling of knowing the Tooth Fairy existed for all my life.
I truly have my parents to thank for so much, but especially for my imagination. I kept those sparkly five dollar bills for the longest time. I couldn't bring myself to spend them until I came to the relization that the tooth fairy was my parents. When the lost teeth were found in little baggies inside my mom's jewelery box, the jig was up. I wish I still had those bills. I appreciate the illusion of magic even more now than I did then. If I could tell my childhood self anything, I would tell her to lock those precious momentos up somewhere safe and NEVER spend them.