The Magic Cliff

It is a late fall night. Feels like midnight, but it’s only 5:15 pm. We, my sons and I, are making our way home.

I’m mentally preoccupied with dinner. The boys are discussing a download...a video game, I think? The guy on the radio is daring to dangle off the impending fiscal cliff.

“Mom, I have a problem.” Will’s words cut like crystal through a sea of extraneous chatter. I turn the radio off. This sounds serious.

“What’s wrong Will?” I ask.

“I don’t believe in Santa,” he says.

I am ready for “So and so says there’s no Santa,” or “Mom is there a Santa?” 
But: I don’t believe in Santa. It’s clear he’s mulled the facts and arrived at an outcome. 

Lucky, for me, John the older brother chimes in.

“What do you mean? Of course there’s a Santa!” he says.

“Really John?” Will replies. “A guy flies around in a sleigh with reindeer and drops presents into chimneys? And he makes it to every kids’ house in the entire world in one night?!”

“I don’t believe in that part either. I think it’s a real guy who flies around in a plane and there’s a system for shooting packages down the chimneys,” John says. 

He is backing off from his firm resolve but resolute nonetheless.

“You think someone applies for the job of Santa?” asks Will. 

“Yes, the guy who gets the job has skills,” says John. He says the word skills like he’s talking about a basketball game.

“Who would want that job?” Will asks.

Um...that would be your brother, I want to say. But, John beats me to it.

“Will, you’re just going to have to deal with it, there is magic in the world!”

“He’s right,” I say. You’re both right, I want to say.

It’s clear we are, once again, dangling off our own magic cliff. The gig’s just about up. I think John already knows. I also think he’ll make an excellent Santa someday. And Will, well, he'll eventually be satisfied to have his hunch verified. He’s a realism kind of guy. 
Still it can’t hurt to keep it going for just a little longer. Until I’m sure they have the find the real magic. 

Post Sandy

Sandy came and went. 

On Monday, the day she arrived, we watched the wind whirl and random sheets of rain move rapidly through, leaving a trail of branches and leaves strewn across yards and streets. 

On Tuesday, we connected with family and friends, many of whom were without power. But thanks to last year’s streak of storms, most had generators. The all to familiar post storm dance began.

“Do you have power?” “I hear your neighborhood is next.” “Sure hope school is back up and running tomorrow.” 

By Wednesday, Halloween, all the schools in our town were back except for two, one was the school my sons attend. Turns out our fifties era structure, with it’s evolutionary additions and improvements was providing challenges of an electrical nature. A flurry of texts and e-mails flew. And finally in the late afternoon hours official word arrived: the kids were indeed going back to school in the morning!

I traipsed back to CVS, in search of the required portable sugar, before heading home for pizza with friends and taking my post at the front door.

As soon as the automatic doors opened, I bee-lined for the mass of brightly colored bags. But in their former place of Halloween glory, were rows of empty shelves. A shift in seasons was taking place. Sandy or no Sandy, retail was moving on.

Where was all the candy?! 

I once again made my way past the toilet paper and batteries (now stocked) and paper towels and decks of cards, to find three straggler boxes of candy bars near the cash registers. The leftovers for deadbeat shoppers like me who’d left trick or treating to the twelfth hour. I shoved ten bags of delinquent scraps into my basket.

Thanks to a steady stream of ghosts, goblins, Angry Birds and my personal favorite three pre-teen girls dressed as the 70s, 80s, and 90s-- a few short hours later our candy was gone too. Leaving us to pick up the pieces, the random candy wrappers of life. 

This morning, ten days after Sandy, eight days post Halloween, we woke to a blanket of snow. Not a one inch lightweight summer blanket but a several inches deep covering foreshadowing what is to come, or already here. 

Yes, Sandy came and went, so did Halloween and apparently fall too. Time stops for no one, or anything--not a hurricane or Halloween or me. 

Thank goodness there are the little things that rarely ever change. Like how In a few weeks, I’ll make it back to CVS for stocking stuffers, just in time for the display of rotating sunglasses to arrive.

For all the people still reeling from the devastation left in Sandy’s wake: our thoughts and prayers are with you.