When she was 5, my eldest noted our October door decoration looks like a ghost mailbox. Enter our family’s seasonal pen pals, Larry (a ghost) and Ferguson (his sidekick spider). Since then, once the mailbox is up, Larry leaves a note signaling Ferguson (Ferg for short) and he have arrived and are ready for correspondence.
When they were younger, my kids raced to the ghost mailbox to find a note. They worked hard on their return missives, asking Larry and Ferg thoughtful questions, and providing sound advice when solicited. Larry wore his feelings on his transparent shoulder, while Ferg, the loyal rogue, pranced about town in his eight cowboy boots. My kids urged Larry to be confident and use moderation at the Fair – he turns to the Krispy Kreme burger during times of stress. They asked about Ferg’s adventures and encouraged him through his ankle injuries (those boots have a bit of a heel). We were all a little sad when Larry and Ferg bid farewell after Halloween for some much-needed rest in an exotic location. (Larry prefers tropical climates; the wind blows right through him.)
Over the years the kids passed the baton of interest in Larry and Ferg. Slowly but surely, the eldest was more willing to let the middle find and respond to Larry’s notes. Likewise, the youngest rose the ranks and was Larry and Ferg’s most devoted correspondent.
This year the baton dropped altogether. Larry’s arrival note hung on the ghost mailbox for days. He added another and then another until I finally asked if anyone had noticed Larry was back in town. My youngest said the gig was up; the three figured out I am Larry.
I suppose I felt readier than not to let them let go of Larry, so I confirmed their deductions. But I’m unsure if I should have. Now that they’ve questioned Larry’s magic, it’s likely they’ll question other magic I’m less ready to let them release. On the other hand, the magic I want them to have might not have much to do with the magic they want to continue holding. Maybe I’ll have to hold my own magic while they lose, find, and, hopefully, create their own, in their own time. I’ll ask Larry what he thinks.