61: Fairy Wings

61: Fairy Wings

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Multitasking Mom's Survival Guide

Fairy Wings

Nothing can be truer than fairy wisdom. It is as true as sunbeams.

~Douglas Jerrold

“Mommy, I need my wand and my fairy wings.” I sighed. Up to my elbows in boxes and packing material, my first instinct was to tell my five-year-old that she was out of luck and should find something else to do. But the loving mother in me knew that the poor girl had just moved four hours away from everything and everyone she held familiar, and the least I could do was grant her wish so she could grant the wishes of others.

“I saw your dress-up box in your closet,” I said. “Wings and wand should be in there.”

Libby cheered and skipped off, her blond ponytails bouncing.

I emptied two more boxes, found enough bedding to get my eighteen-month-old son down for a nap, and started the dishwasher before Libby came in and interrupted me again.

“Mommy, come meet my new friend,” she said.

How could I refuse? I walked out onto the porch and met my new neighbors, a delightful couple who had carried over sloppy joes, raw veggies, homemade cookies and lemonade for us and the rest of the neighbors who had become my impromptu movers. Everyone was taking a break and enjoying the feast.

“Down here, Mom,” Libby called to me from the yard. I noticed that she was now wearing a pink princess dress under her wings and a plastic “jeweled” tiara over her summer-mussed hair. Her sandals had been long since discarded somewhere in the yard.

My breath caught as I saw my blond-haired, blue-eyed Swedish doll standing next to a tall, dark young man confined to an electric wheelchair.

“This is Nic,” she announced.

“Nice to meet you, Nic,” I said as I walked down the steps to join the kids. Nic lifted a hand stiffly and vocalized a greeting.

“Yuck! You’re drooling again,” Libby blurted out as she grabbed a towel from Nic’s tray and wiped his mouth.

I blushed at my daughter’s bravado. We are, after all, supposed to be discreet about the faults of others.

“Let’s go!” Libby shouted, and Nic motored off behind my daughter with a big smile on his face.

Walking down the steps to join me, his mother answered the unasked question about her son. “Nic has cerebral palsy. It was a difficult delivery, and he was oxygen-deprived for a period of time.”

“Oh.” What else could I say? Nic was a handsome guy — Libby pointed out his resemblance to John Stamos while watching an old episode of Full House. It made my heart hurt that what had happened to him was an accident.

Our children came around to the front of the house again. Libby was flitting her wings and waving her wand, while Nic was smiling. Nic’s chair was equipped with a computer that allowed him to communicate. It spoke phrases at the touch of a button and could play several nursery rhymes. Libby’s laughter rang out when he played “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “London Bridge.”

Libby twirled to the stairs where I stood and looked up at me. “Can you be the Mama Fairy?” she asked.

“Of course,” I responded in my fairy voice. This was a game we had played before.

“Mama Fairy, please let me help this human.”

I knew the rules and shook my head. “You know that fairies are not allowed to help humans.”

“But, Mama, his legs don’t work, and he needs wings to fly with me.”

“You’re right,” I said softly. My voice was a whisper as I gave permission. “You may give him wings.”

Libby waved her wand, admired her work and then flew off with her new fairy friend close behind.

With tears in my eyes as I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder how my daughter, so young and innocent, was also so very wise and wonderful. How she knew in her heart that we all long for a friend who cares enough to let us know when we’ve got toilet paper stuck to our shoe, lipstick on our teeth, or drool on our lips. How she was drawn to a young man who was just as worthy of such a friend and far more in need of one. How, as many times as I had used words to tell her that everyone should be treated the same, she knew exactly how to do that with someone who was so very different.

~Becky Tidberg

More stories from our partners