"Birthday Fairies" visited our home when my children were small. The Fairies would leave a bouquet of balloons tied to the bed, ribbon streamers on the bedroom door, and always a small present. Every year, my children woke to this on the morning of their birthday.
The presents were always something I swore I would never buy them despite all their begging. For my daughter, the Birthday Fairy always brought something outrageously gaudy and sparkly, and for the boys, it was either a very messy project thing, or an inappropriate toy weapon – think silly string, a super soaker, or rapid-fire-nerf-dart gun.
This tradition continued well into their tween years… and my kids began making requests to the Fairies. As expected these requests were far more expensive than the original Fairy budget: the latest iPod or an XBox. The Fairies usually delivered.
My kids loved that the Fairies were far cooler than their mother as they bestowed upon them these banned treasures. I loved their bright, awe-struck, and magic faces when they ran out to the kitchen to show me the latest prized possession that the Fairie delivered.
One year I myself received a birthday Fairie gift! It was a box of Godiva chocolates and the kids beamed with joy at my surprise. Coincidently, they were the milk chocolate kind… with toffee filling… their favorite! I shared.
Now my 19-month-old granddaughter is the lucky recipient of Fairy contraband… perhaps just balloons this year. The family Fairy ritual continues.
As I age and watch my children become adults, I realize that Fairies are indeed real. They show themselves not only on birthdays but also as a smile, a show of kindness, or as a single tulip on the breakfast table. May we all see the Fairy gifts amongst us and within ourselves.
Michelle Hansen is the mother of three grown children and lives with her husband in Willow Glen, California. She enjoys hiking, swimming, traveling and doing New York Times crossword puzzles. She is a long time volunteer math tutor at Sacred Heart Nativity school in San Jose.