Last night we took the kids out for dinner. We'd heard about a nice-sounding restaurant with a "kids eat free" night on Sundays, and we're always, ALWAYS trying to find places that fall within that elusive category of Noah Can Order A Damned Grilled Cheese Sandwich But Mommy And Daddy Can Order Something Besides A Damned Cheeseburger. This place looked like it might fit the bill.
I missed the thing on their website about the magician, though.
We didn't know about the magician until our waiter stopped by to check in on us -- yes, yes, everything is fine! The food is delicious! Love the kids' bento-box style meals! Ezra ate every bite, including the entire section of ketchup, and Noah still cannot BELIEVE he just got a side of Goldfish crackers AT DINNER, like ARE YOU KIDDING ME, OUT-OF-CONTEXT SNACKTIME, THIS PLACE IS AWESOME -- and he told us that a magician would stop by in a few minutes to show the kids some tricks.
Right on cue, Noah started to protest and amp up into a fight-or-flight level of worry. "No magic! No magician! I don't want a magician! I don't want that!"
Jason and I hugged and reassured, we explained and cajoled, we communicated telepathically across the table like: Get the check now. We know how this is going to end.
And then...poof! Like magic, he appeared! At our table! A magician! OMFG A MAGICIAN.
I wish...I wish you could have seen it, you guys. I wish I'd videotaped THAT, the whole thing, so I could watch it over and over again.
Noah wielded a blue crayon like a magic wand and shrieked with delight when it made a foam ball disappear. The magician handed him another ball that turned into two -- then three! -- when Noah squeezed it tight. Then he handed Noah a marker (uh-oh) and asked him to write his name (UH-OH) on a playing card (MAYDAY MAYDAY)...and Noah did it, along with a request to turn the O into a smiley face. He laughed some more and clapped and was thrilled and amazed with each simple slight-of-hand card trick. He asked for an encore with the magic balls and it was graciously provided.
Ten, maybe fifteen minutes, tops. Didn't matter. That tiny deviation from the expected. A kind stranger connecting with my child, making him laugh, helping him overcome the invisible whatever without even knowing it. It felt like it turned everything around, a big fat UNDO button for all of this summer's low points.
After dinner, Jason nudged me in the direction of the magician: "Birthday. Party. I'm not kidding. Go ask." He'd just finished performing for a mother and her son so I cut in briefly and asked for his card. That's all I meant to say, but then I realized I should probably explain why I was suddenly crying.
"Thank you," I kind of choked out, "My son doesn't usually...things that are supposed to be FUN sometimes...he gets...well, you really made our night."
He handed me his card and assured me that Noah did great. I stammered out something about birthday parties and said I would be in touch and felt kind of dumb.
The mother at the table smiled and nodded at me. "I know," she mouthed.
Noah got to keep the card with his name on it. "This is my magic card," he says. "The Magic Man gave it to me."