My oldest daughter hadn’t been home from Russia for a month before we noticed her pointing pencils or other objects at us while contorting her eyes and face. Emily had come from a very traumatic background and she had plenty of psychological challenges. At first we thought she was just trying to intimidate us. Later we found that she was casting spells. Wow. I didn’t see that coming. I have enough trouble trying to increase my faith in God’s omnipotence. A spell cast by a troubled teen from a Russian orphanage barely got an eye roll out of me.
Later, I was in Phoenix with Emily, signing her up for a wilderness camp. At that time, she was telling me that one of the girls at her orphanage was magic and that she was really good at it. Emily told me she also had magical powers, but that she wasn’t as good as the girl at the orphanage. I told Emily that she could believe anything she wanted, but that I didn’t believe in magic. She was still insisting that she was correct when I pulled into a convenience store. She followed me in and watched me buy a Coke for myself; then we walked out to the car while she insisted that I go back in and buy a Sprite for her. (You know where this is going, don’t you…) I told her I wanted to save my money so she should make a Sprite with magic. It took twenty minutes before she admitted she wasn’t magic and I bought her the soda. Later that evening she reverted to her original claims and I had all but finished my dinner at the restaurant when she finally submitted to get me to order food for her.
Months later, I was talking to Emily’s psychologist and related the story to him. The psychologist was amazed. He told me that one of the tools they use to work with people with histories like my daughters’ were to ask them what they would do to fix a given situation if they could do so by simply waving a magic wand. This opens the patient up to talk about the difficulties in a much more open manner. Emily’s psychologist was amazed that children in an orphanage had developed (though subconsciously) such an incredible tool, which he imagined them using in survival-type therapy amongst their peers.
Ever since then, I have found many occasions to use that therapy to help my daughter. She no longer believes in magic, but she almost craves the opportunity to talk about happy “what ifs.”
A month ago my daughter was in one of her “two steps back” modes. She was really struggling and I had trouble even getting her to talk to me. Finally, I asked what thing in particular she was most angry about and how she would fix it with a magic wand. It took some coaxing, but finally she relented. One of Emily’s younger sisters was so damaged that she could never be removed from an institution. She is still in Russia. Emily told me if she was magic that she would make Lydia better and bring her to be in our family. After such a reply, usually we talk about what we can do, since we aren’t magic. This time I felt like we needed to go a different direction. I asked my daughter if I could tell her what I would do if I was magic. She humored me.
If I was magic, I would go back in time to the mid 1970s to find Emily’s mother; a little girl named Oksana, who lived in a Russian orphanage. I would wave my wand and find her wonderful Russian parents, who would take her out of the orphanage, love her, care for her and teach her how to be a good mother. Then, Oksana would have taken care of her babies and none of them ever would have been hurt. Still, I love my daughters and I wouldn’t want to lose them. So I would use my magic to make it so we were best friends with Oksana’s family, and I would be like an uncle to my daughters. Since I would be magic, we would be able to visit each other all of the time in both the United States and Russia.
Alas, I explained to Emily; I’m not magic. All I could do was to take her and three of her sisters from the orphanage, and try to do the same thing.
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