For years we have discussed the coming of “the bad fairy”. We were told this “bad fairy” would come and kiss our precious daughter on the forehead on her thirteenth birthday, and our sweet Aidan would remain cursed until she either paid her own rent, or had her own children. There was nothing special about Aidan that warranted this tale, just that she was a girl, and God willing, she would someday turn thirteen.
I was given this news when Aidan was just two. My husband and I ran a small pub in North Idaho, and Aidan was a regular fixture there – a village baby of sorts. When one of our regulars delivered the news about this inevitable ‘bad fairy’ (he had a far more explicitly vulgar name for her that refers to your butt) I laughed, rejecting the concept.
Over the years Aidan and I have warded off this fairy with bouts of long conversation, discussing life, religious philosophies, boys… whatever she wanted, whatever I wanted. Even when we knew it was in the neighborhood we joked about our elaborate plans to lock it out.
Then I began to notice changes. First they were small and easy to overlook. Then they demanded more notice, until finally, there was no denying them, and succumbing was my only option. I…was growing older. My taut skin had become less ‘form fitting’. My hair was swiftly leaning toward silver, and nothing short of duck-tape could support my sagging physique. Aidan was growing into the young woman I once was, and I was growing into an increasingly older version, and not settling easily into it.
Yes, we are told to grow old gracefully, and outwardly we do our best to present that. Inwardly, I think we all stretch back the years in the privacy of our own mirror and think…ohy!
Then it occurred to me, in a moment of impatience and struggle that perhaps the fairy did make it into the house, but it went to the wrong room. Aidan is pleasant and silly and spontaneous. She works hard and dreams wildly about the life in front of her. She shares opinions and conjures up ideas. I am (momentarily and very seldom) cranky, irritable, achy, and unsatisfied. Maybe this happens in many houses. The fairy just gets mixed up, turned around, or even worse… delivers a double whammy – the mother/daughter kiss!
No, we have developed a different kind of fairy, and welcome her kisses anytime. The Love Fairy. Her general opinion of ‘beauty’ is broad, and influenced widely by attitude and honesty. She sometimes has trouble keeping up with her own imagination yet sees quickly through imposters. She finds her expectations as enticing as her taste buds, and her adventurous spirit requires continuous fuel. Yet, there is no cure for her curse – children – rent – love – saggy skin – and death – there is no lifting it.