I Do Believe in Fairies, I Do, I Do
It is mid-morning and Bailee and I are knee deep in an addition problem using the Stamp Game (a Montessori math material) to help her understand how do to exchanges. She has come a long way with math this year and I am pleased to see her pace quicken a bit with today’s work. However, by the third problem I grow weary of sitting by her side and notice that she, too, is has lost her focus.
She pauses midway between moving the pieces of the game around, then turns to face me directly. Sitting this close together her pale, white face looks as delicate as a silk slipper and her deep brown eyes are soft like the soil after a rainstorm.
“Ms. Katey, are fairies real?” she asks in her southern accent, a slow smile spreading across her face. Immediately I sense the importance of this moment and my heart begins to melt in the warmth of her innocence.
“If you believe in them, then they are real and you might be able to see them,” I say, recalling the Peter Pan mantra I do believe in fairies, I do, I do.
Bailee sighs a little, somewhat unsatisfied with my answer. Then she puts her hand on mine and speaks again. “Do you believe in them?”
“I do believe in fairies,” I fib with only love in my heart and the hope that this first grader, who is our classroom nature-lover, will let her imagination leap into the forest that she plays in and see whatever it desires. “Do you?”
“It’s kinda heard, ya’ see, cuz you cain’t see ‘em. They’re invisible. I don’t know if I believe in them,” she says this with a bashful grin on her face, indicating the intimacy of her sharing this secret with me.
“Do you know that Locke believes in fairies? And she has even gotten a few letters from them?” I am referring to a second grader in our classroom that brought in letters from the Tooth Fairy a few months ago. Bailee nods, remembering. “And did you know that Megan has actually seen them? Do you want to see fairies, Bailee?”
At this her grin transforms into a full-face smile and she squeezes my hand. “I do, I’d really like to.”
Just then Locke comes over to ask for my assistance.
“Well, I do believe in fairies,” she says matter of fact, sniffing her stuffy nose, “but I haven’t actually seen them.” Her manner of speech is very enunciated for her age and she puts her hand on her hip as if in deep consideration of the matter. “But actually you should talk to Megan, because Megan is the one who has really seen them. She has even seen Unicorns!”
The two girls look at each other in amazement, locked into a dreamland vision that my adult frame of reference can scarcely recall. But the look on their faces is enough to make me believe in the grace of little girls, the freedom of the imagination, and maybe, just maybe, fairies.