“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yeah, that stuff’s for kids.”
And just like that, my tween closed the door on his childhood without so much as a nostalgic look back. As he continued purging every last youthful reminder from his bedroom, heaviness began to fill my heart. I’ve felt this heartache before — the time he walked 400 feet ahead so no one would dare suspect he had a mother, the declaration that everything he loved just six short months earlier was now for “babies,” the goodbye hugs he suddenly had no interest in giving. These momentary reminders of adolescence surely stung, but they didn’t hurt half as much as the realization that this was more than just a phase. My son was growing up and inching closer with each passing day to the person he’s destined to become.
Sure, Boy Wonder will always be my baby, but the eyes of the world are beginning to see him differently. He senses it and he’s excited by it and by golly, he should be! But carelessly boxing up his childhood as if to suggest it never happened would be an incredible disservice to his character. He may not know it yet, but the spiritual souvenirs of his youth — magic, possibility, creativity, imagination, freedom — are the very treasures that will ensure his happiness throughout adulthood. But how could I show him that growing up didn’t have to mean leaving the best parts of his spirit behind? Simple, by incorporating magic into our every day.
With a little imagination and optimistic heart, I discovered five ways to recapture the magic of childhood with my tween.