The evening sun reddined the picture windows. Dishes clinked softly in a matrix of soapy water. The wrinkles of my hands squish together like the pores of my wash wrag. From behind me I hear Amber sigh. I peek over my shoulder at my little girl. SHe impatiently tears at those long blonde curls that dangle in her face. Below her is a piece of paper with the charming scrawl of childhood upon it.
"Whatcha got there, Babe?" I ask, immediatly her pudgy arms make to cover it. "Nothing." I humph, nothing short of what I was expecting. My baby is always a shy one.
I grab a dry wrag and dust the water from my fingers. She sees me approaching and dips her pretty head into the cradle of her arms. I smile running a still damp hand over her golden hair. The adjacent chair creaks as I pull it undr me. Amber is sitting on at least three old phone books that I'd forgot we even own.
"Can I please see your pretty drawing?" I coo to her. The bouncy waves bob a 'No' I sigh then brighten as the beginnings of an idea form in my mind.
"Then I guess I won't show you my magic trick." Just as I hoped a little blue-green eye borders with long lashes peeks up at me. I pretend not to notice until the full of her face is visable. "Magic?" I smile at her. "You want to see?" She shoots me her best smile and knods. My eyes travel to the obscured picture and back up into her rosy visage. Her little voice brushes my ears.
"It's not good Mommy." Gently I press her arms with mine until she moves them aside.
There are three figures labeled on the page. One is tall with long dark hair and a caption saying "Momy" another is shorter, hand in hand with mine. Short curly hair covers a smiling face that reads "Me" and the last figure is small and with four legs and a head pointed up at the other two. Long whiskers protrude from its grinning face. All of us were lined in a hot pink crayon that I picked up while I admired my daughters work.
I glance from the picture to my little girls face. She does not notice. Her liquid eyes are glued to the pink sketches. One lip is completly covered by the other and captured in her loosened teeth.
"Amber" I try to pull her close. "This is absolutly beautiful." She wiggles from my grasp eyes briming with tears. "NO it's not!" She wails, "You don't even know what it is." I laugh despite myself.
"Well of course I do it's you and me."
"What about that one?"
She points to the four legged figure
"Aunt Candy's dog?"
"No Mommy!" She whines. "It's a wolf. I wanted to be like you and draw you a wolf." I want to bang my head against a wall. Why wouldn't she draw a wolf there were only a million various statues dedicated to them not to mention my paintings.
"I'm sorry Baby, Mommy wasn't thinking." She shoots me a 'Duh' glance that she could only have learned from her father. Then she sits up and pulls her hands in her lap like she's priming for composure. That was totally me.
"Can I see the Magic now?" She asks. I sweep myself from my seat and head to our study with her trailing at my heels. "Go get me some paper." She hurries to comply. I have to peer in the dimly lit office but I find the book I'm looking for and return to a whole sleeve of paper. "Wow." I say. "You expecting me to mess up or what?" She shrugs with a smirk that tells me exactly what she's thinking. I roll my eyes and settle in my chair. The book is face down on the table and she's watching it closely. I lift it up so she can see the gray black wolf howling up at her smile.
"Run your hand over it, Babe." The bumps and crevises make my little girl giggle. "Now," I say when she's finished. "I'm going to make this wolf appear on this paper by scribbling. You think I can?" She looks at me like i've gone mad. "No way! You always said it takes talent to make something bootiful. scribbling isn't talent." I grimace at my own stipling comment repeated from her angel mouth.
"Anything can be beautiful if you believe it. But nothing will ever be beautiful if you shoot it down." I see her glance at the paper with the pink figures then turn back to me. I took her hands in mine and looked into her beautiful eyes. "Do you believe me?" She nods and I smile. "Good, cause i need your help." I grab the pink crayon and a piece of paper covering the wolf's face.
"I need you to imagine that pretty wolf on this page or it won't work. Can you do that for me?" She grins with glee and pumps her head up and down. Then screws her eyes shut puffing out her cheeks like holding her breath would give me that extra umph to make it work. I press hard dragging the crayon across the page until the outlines begin to show. I watch in amazement as the immature fake lines take substance. I remember my own childhood, sitting at a table watching the flowers bloom from the very marks I make. Such a new and wonderful discovery found yet again like an old friend.
The wolf is half finished, a pink rendition of the book. "Open your eyes Baby" I whisper. She gasps and I keep scribbling making the lines clearer and sharper. The wolf is finished and Amber is crowding around begging me to teach her the trick. Then she's sitting in my lap with a new paper in her hand and she has the crayon. It's my turn to close my eyes tight. I tell her to press hard and never forget how beautiful it will be. I don't need to peek to know it's working. She bounces slightly in my lap and squeels with delight. I smile and open my eyes. She's done beautifully and she knows it.
Her chubby arms circle my neck in a bear hug of sorts and I hold her close. My daughter whispers in my ear. "Thank you for showing me the magic." A small tear threatens to fall from my eyes. In my heart I echo her words. The true magic.