Christina M. Currie
Christina M. Currie's Touch of Spice column appears Fridays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
It's happened. I'm losing credibility.
And who's beating me? Whose words and experience mean more than mine?
Pretty much anyone between the ages of 8 and 10.
I have to say, I'm a little hurt.
My 8-year-old daughter Katie has a new best friend, and her life has now been consumed by her.
"Shoshana said :"
"Shoshana does :"
"I wish I could just call Shoshana!"
It's a name I hear more often than my own.
On the plus side, Katie's now excited about going to school every day and has said that she hates weekends.
On the negative side, that sentiment has absolutely nothing to do with a newfound passion for learning.
Let me tell you, Shoshana is the bomb.
"Shoshana can turn into a mermaid!"
No, baby. She really can't.
"Yes, she can!"
Katie was pretty upset. I was questioning the word of a Goddess.
"Baby, have you ever SEEN Shoshana turn into a mermaid?"
She hadn't, of course, but that was only because Shoshana tried and tried, but guessed that she couldn't do it in front of people.
So, I put Katie and her sister in the bathtub. Nikki evidently was in a hurry, because she hopped out early (or may have been kicked out) and left Katie alone.
I could hear Katie murmurings the enchantments that would turn her into half a fish.
A few minutes later, Katie emerged, towel-clad and dejected.
"I don't know why I can't be a mermaid like Shoshana."
I explained, and for the first time, Katie actually listened, that Shoshana could not turn into mermaid.
Then the tough question came, "Do you believe in mermaids, mom?"
Ouch. This is the Santa question in disguise. It's bigger than fiction, it's fantasy and imagination and believing even when you can't see.
"I do, baby. And I think that you probably can't just turn into a mermaid, you probably have to be born one. And, no, I haven't ever seen a mermaid, but that doesn't mean they don't exist."
It was a tough blow.
Shoshana might just be fallible. She might just know as little about the world as Katie does. That was tough to swallow. And a bit reassuring. It's hard to have a friend who is so much more knowledgeable and magical than you are.
But I did strike a victory for mom.
I didn't shoot down her dream, but I did offer just enough reality to stave off frustration.
And I reminded her that mom does know a thing or two about the world she's living in.
That doesn't mean I don't have questions myself, and it doesn't mean that I don't whisper a chant every now and then in the hope that I sprout wings or a tail or poof into invisibility.
There's always hope.
And I pray that no matter what dose of reality Katie may have to swallow, she always has hope.
Yes, Katie, there is a mermaid.