I feel pretty lucky to now live by my sister and nephews. I can share the holidays in a way that I never really got to experience when I was growing up: by messing with my extended family.
It's amazing how life really does change from "child-like" desires to "adult-type" ones. Jake, my nephew, lives to play. He's five, and we moved from playing catch, to basketball, to building a puzzle, to bike riding, back to catch, back to basketball, to a board game, to reading, and back to basketball again. That is a full day.
My other nephew, Mason, is about 1.5 years old...and he is just happy to grunt and point and hug and kiss. So, I might have more common with him.
Anyway, while I was bike riding with Jake, we got to this part of our route that had a mini-road block. Basically, it was a curb. To get over the curb, Jake had to get off of his bike and walk it...while I could basically just go over it.
Jake: Uncle Mark...How can you do that? How come you don't have to get off the bike.
Jake: (Eyes Widening) Magic? What kind of Magic?
Me: (Quickly searching for ideas) Um...My watch is magic...so it lets me ride my bike over the curb.
Jake: Whoa...really? (Eyes REALLY open...jaw dropping). Where did you get that watch?
Me: From a wizard.
Jake: Wow...a wizard? What's his name?
Me: Um...Frank....Frank the Wizard. He lives in Canada.
Jake: Canada? Wow. Why did Frank...
Me: Frank the Wizard.
Jake: (Way into this now) Sorry Uncle Mark. Why did Frank the Wizard give you that magic watch?
Me: Because I killed a dragon for him.
Jake: Was it a talking dragon?
Me: Of course! He could breathe fire...and everyone knows that fire-breathing dragons can talk.
Jake: Oh my gosh...how did you kill the dragon, Uncle Mark?
Me: Well..I told the dragon lots of jokes...and the dragon kept laughing...until the dragon couldn't breathe anymore. So, Frank the Wizard was so happy, he gave me this magical watch.
Jake: Whoa!!!! How old is Frank the Wizard.
Me: 255 years old.
Jake: Wow. That's pretty old. Frank the Wizard is older than my mom and dad.
Me: (Laughing) Yup.
Jake: So when he dies, he comes back to life?
Jake: (Searching to pick out JUST the right question) How come Frank gets to be a wizard?
Mark: Because of his parents.
Jake: His parents? Who are his parents?
Me: Oh...Bob and Mary.
Jake: Frank the Wizard has parents who's names are Bob and Mary?
Jake: And they live in Canada, too, Uncle Mark.
And to set the stage for him to go back and be able to fully retell this story to my sister...I quizzed him on some of the facts. He got them all correct, and we raced home.
He brought up Frank the Wizard three times in the next few hours. And while part of me obviously was just having fun, I was so enamored with Jake. The look on his face when hearing and thinking about this fantasy was so sincere, so honest, so fully of wonder...that I realized not only how truly thankful I was that magic did exist, but also how lucky I was to experience it.