“Where are your wings” he asked; he was about seven and quite serious, not at all trying to be funny.
It was just before Christmas and I had gone to the nativity play at the school where my Goddaughter is deputy head. She writes it and she conducts – I love watching her. The Head had introduced me to the audience by saying that they all had someone there to watch them and enjoy their performance; and that Miss Burton had someone too “this is Miss Burton’s Godmother and she has come to support her”. The whole point was to make those whose parents hadn’t made it feel better about having grandmas, sisters, cousins and aunts there to support them instead. So this little boy came up and said “if you’re Miss Burton’s Godmother…where are your wings?”
Someone else called me a Fairy Godmother last week but she didn’t want to see my wings. She was talking about how I make things happen. In reality not only do I not have wings; I don’t have a wand either. But these two lovely comments made me think, perhaps I do spread a little magic, and I love the thought that I might be sprinkling a little stardust on the way.
My oldest Godchild is now 39 and all this talk of fairy godmothers made me start to think about what I have made happen for her and the other six? I hope lots of things. Mostly I have tried to be there when they needed support; there to answer questions; there to be a sounding board; there to believe in them; there to offer wisdom – if wisdom is sought and only then.
I have shivered on cold tow paths year in and year out watching the two who rowed; Henley Royal Regatta is all very well but you’ve got to get through the rest of the season first. Mostly watching rowing is cold and wet, and woe betide you if you blink and miss the boat going past. Watching rowing involves yelling a lot, clapping a lot and administering a great deal of hot soup and sympathy.
Then there are the rugby players; watching rugby involves getting cold too. And as I am in a wheelchair it also involves seeking out a place where I can actually see what is going on – easier said than done – fences are always at the wrong level.
Watching rugby involves lots more yelling and clapping, less soup, more sympathy, more mud (and a lot more beer).
Sometimes there is a phone call “Auntie Liz can you do a mock interview for me?” Well yes, I can and yes I did and yes he got the university place he wanted.
Sometimes they turn up on the doorstep “Auntie Liz my A’ level results are rubbish I need a plan before I go home and talk to Mum and Dad.” More tea, more sympathy but we were warm and cosy and we crafted a plan. My godson survived the wrath of his Mum and Dad and is now a successful company lawyer.
So yes, I have to admit I do make things happen, but I can’t conjure up glass slippers or golden carriages appearing in puffs of smoke. The person who called me her Fairy Godmother this week valued the time and space I gave her to think about her business and the help I gave her to explore her ideas in a positive and creative atmosphere. Then she went and made things happen for herself…. I’m pretty sure she didn’t see the sprinkling of fairy dust following her out the door….