When my kids were younger I supplemented our family income hand-painting furniture and wall murals. One of my favorite projects was a fairy bedroom for a little girl my kids knew from school.
Between her imagination, her mom’s and my own the room was filled with flights of fancy. My favorite scene included a mushroom set for a fairy picnic. I loved the berries set atop a platter of a green leaf.
But there is no one here to enjoy the picnic any more. The little girl has grown and is off at college dreaming new dreams that no longer include fairies. Her mom is reluctantly agreeing to repaint the room. The two of us stand in the room together as she laments covering up my hard work. I, too, wince at the thought of all those hours of my life and effort painted over, erased.
In the end we are mothers. We both know it isn’t the painting that is causing us mutual pain here. As the fairies disappear they take with them the childhoods of our children. Years that brought us incredible joy; years that we can never get back. Time does not hold still. Children grow, dreams change.
Standing in the middle of the room, we give voice to our loss. We walk to the door and she reaches to turn out the light, but not before I turn and steal one more look. The light dims and I whisper, “Good night, fairies.”