Date with destiny

Max's magic

“Everyone grab coats! Get in the car!” I was moving fast, bellowing orders. In the scramble I saw Max scoop up the cape. Silky red, spangled with gold stars, it’s been knotted around his shoulders a lot lately. He’s recently decided he’s a magician, see, so he wears his cape, and blue gloves that once belonged to a Power Rangers costume, with a hole in the palm of the left one. Add one black, plastic wand, and you are a magician.

The cape is quite ragged, if you look closely. It’s just a length of fabric, not hemmed or anything, so it’s fraying all around its edges. I don’t hem, and even if I did, I wouldn’t have any idea how to sew such a slippery fabric, so I choose instead just not to focus too hard. If you stand back, it’s a vision in capelyness. It flows around his ankles with grace and panache, and perfectly accompanies his magic acts, which usually end with him shrieking, “DARNIT!” and dissolving in giggles and running out of the room.

Running gracefully. With his cape swirling at his heels.

So this was the cape he grabbed (instead of a jacket) on the way out the door. I stopped him.

“Is that what you’re wearing?” We were heading out on errands, you see. Library, allergist’s office. People would look at him. Sometimes that’s ok, sometimes it’s not. It’s like his hair. The longer it gets, the more people notice it. It’s gorgeous, thick and wavy. People often sigh, “oh, his hair is so NICE,” and you can tell they’re dying to touch it. It begs to be touched. And sometimes he raises his chin and says, “thank you,” with a small smirk of delight. Other times he stares at his shoes like he’s contemplating murder, then complains during the walk back to the van about how he hates it when people do that THING when they TALK about his HAIR. One never knows.

“Yes, I am wearing my cape,” Max answered me, with just a hint of the stubborn.

“That’s fine, if that’s what you want to do, but you need to know that it’s a little unusual, and people will look at you and probably make comments. Is that ok with you?”

He looked at me like I was speaking Swahili.

“OF COURSE that’s ok with me.”

I hesitated. I wavered.

Ok, fine then. We were off.

Everywhere we went, people did look at him. Some were startled, a few were knitted-browed-concerned, but mostly people smiled. As he walked past, people would watch him with a far away look, as though they were remembering the feel of a cape fluttering behind them, remembering striding out like that, bravely being someone else for the day.

I trailed behind, watching him light up his corner of the world. If he ever does get that wand of his to function properly, I know what I’ll ask him to do. The magic I want is to always, always know. Know for sure when to tell him no, and when to tell him to rock on.




That's just wonderful. My son used to have a raincoat that had a Superman cape attached to it and it always attracted comments when he wore it (he would have been 4 or 5 at the time). Usually, some unsuspecting stranger would greet him: "Hey! It's Superman!" to be met with the withering retort "I'm not Superman, it's just a coat!"


It's just like the girl and her purple cloak. People look at her, and by extension, me, which is the problem. I have to say I am relieved that there's more than one child who insists on things like this. Whew. Rock on, Max.

Amma D

Yes! Yes! Yes!

I must say, I am frequently surprised by how often you do seem to know when to shrug and let one or more of them rock on. Your mothering lights up my world.

Sorry about the mouse.


With your writing you are lighting up YOUR corner of the world. What a beautiful post.

Emily R

With that cape? Rock on.


As the mom of girls, I can relate, but instead of capes, my girls wear Princess dresses, lots of sparkly jewelry, shoes and the like all over town. They feel great in their get-ups and most people at places like the supermarket smile. I think you are right - they are remembering their own days of wearing the sparkly shoes that made them feel like if they clicked their heels they would go right back to Auntie Em.


I LOVE the cape! My 10 year old boy wandered in and saw it and thought it was cool, too. :)


Good for him. When he starts obsessing about what people will think - that's when it's time to worry.


Awesome cape! Do they make them in MY size?
My son is quite likely to walk out of the house dressed like a fireman, Spiderman, or a Ninja Turtle and sometimes I have to remind myself that he's only going to want to do that for such a short time and I should enjoy it while I can.


Mine wears his cape all the time too.

And people usually smile.:)

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