The darkness embraces me like an old friend. There is a certain familiarity between us that only comes from years of living together. Once upon a time I was a boy named Jack who both feared and loved the dark. The fertile imagination that inhabits my mind was only too eager to fill the blackness with dreadful monsters and amazing adventures.
More than a few nights I lay in bed wondering if tonight would be the moment in which the creatures that lurked outside my door would come for me. I would alternate between fear and the bravery that only children have. If you are a parent you are likely intimately familiar with this bravery. Your sons and daughters haven't been educated through life experience to not believe in magic. Wizards, witches, unicorns and ogres aren't relegated to stories- they are real. Jedi knights roam the galaxy using the Force for good and the Lady of the Lake is just waiting to tell you where to find Excalibur.
That imagination and belief in the impossible is part of what I find most endearing about my children. I love listening to their stories about what they want to do and what they think they can do. My son tells me that he is pretty sure that The Force isn't real. He finds it hard to believe, but thinks that maybe, just maybe we haven't figured out how to harness that energy. He says that maybe adults are too busy working to notice what lies just beneath our fingertips.
It is not a ridiculous idea or anything that I can deem to be far fetched. Because life is magical and the beauty is often missed because we are too busy racing from school to soccer fields. When you aren't responsible for making lunches and or transporting little people from here to there it is easy to notice little things. You stare at bugs and wonder why they look like they do and if they like the food they eat.
You stare at cars and wonder why people are mean to each other. You ask why grown ups don't know how to be nice or to wait in line. The rainbows you see after rainfall are not just pretty but the starting place for a treasure hunt.
There is magic and adventure everywhere. Endless opportunities and you feel like you have oodles of time to explore them. It makes it far easier to sleep deeply and without a care. And since I once again find myself at the computer typing in the dark of night I can say that this is a skill my children can teach me. Once I knew how to do it, but now I am not so sure.
In a few moments I will walk silently to my bedroom and climb into bed. I'll close my eyes and think about that little boy Jack. There in the dark I'll do what I can to tap into that magical world I once was connected to and maybe I'll dream about slaying the dragon again.