We had just finished decorating the tree with all our ornaments when it happened. I had told Peter Pan how each ornament represented something we did the year it was purchased, whether it was a trip we took or an event that happened. And I showed him how we each have an ornament with our name on it, given to us when we were born. Mine is three decades old and I love hanging it on my tree.
Then I told him to go look in his stocking. He was confused, but he did. I had put a personalized ornament in there, with his name and the year he joined our family. It was declared so cool and very thanks. Then he realized that the string at the top had come unknotted. Uh oh.
He handed me the ornament. I sighed dramatically.
“Five seconds you’ve had this and already it’s broken,” I moaned and complained almost to myself.
Then I looked at him with a smirk.
It took a beat, and I watched the change from dismay to comprehension at my sarcasm. His shoulders dropped in relief and the breath he had been holding came out in a guffaw as I redid the slip knot and handed the ornament back to him.
He took it from me and hung it on the tree, still chuckling and shaking his head. “Five seconds…” I heard him repeating as he laughed.
That is what these days have been like. In five second intervals, we lose our breath at what this is. It catches and fills us and comes out in rushes of connection and laughter and how is this possible and what kind of magic is this.
It happened earlier in the day when we were talking about hair. We were complimenting Peter Pan on his hair, and he said he really liked Little Man’s. I told him that Little Man gets made fun of at school for looking like a girl.
“Noooooo….” he said. “He is elf. He is this elf.” And he pulled up a picture of Legolas.
Oh, my heart. Thank you, Peter Pan, for giving dignity to an 11 year old trying to figure himself out. Five seconds and I already know you are a darling one. AND you are a Lord of the Rings fan. Bonus.
So instead of weeping all over him, I asked him the question of penultimate importance: how did he feel about Harry Potter? In five seconds, his face was alive with excitement, and he was Googling his favorite character: Bellatrix LeStrange.
In the next five seconds, Little Man had on his Death Eater mask, and was handing his spare to Peter Pan. Then he got out the wands and just as fast, Peter Pan was swishing and flicking.
Wingardium leviosa needs no translation in this house.
This happened again and again. A mutual love of Pokemon and Yu Gi Oh and Heartstone meant the boys disappeared from the Walmart checkout line to drool together over cards they liked. Plans for opening day of Star Wars were made and marathons have been had. Lightsabers and wands and costumes were dug out quickly and donned with excitement.
Peter Pan asked if we were excited about the new Deadpool movie. Umm, yep. So we looked up when it comes out—unfortunately, it will be after he leaves. Two crushed boys sighed forlornly, and for five seconds there was silence.
Without thinking, I said, “I guess we are just flying to your country then.”
Peter Pan’s head snapped up. I knew that he was having a five second moment and it was a little bit hard for him to breathe.
Little Man was not phased, however. He simply shrugged and said, “Or we start saving and he comes back right away.”
And I knew that they both know, too.
Magic can happen in five seconds.