My 10-year-old daughter beamed as she jumped into the car after a playing at a friend’s house several months ago. “You know why Adam and I get along so well?” she asked. I shook my head. “It’s because we both like magic. Which is why we’re so excited for next year.” I had no idea what she was talking about and admitted it. “Hogwarts,” She replied, her voice implying I was not only an idiot but also unbelievalbly lame.
I was already a grown up with two babies when Harry Potter came out and I was the first of my friends to read it. I even remember one brave soul coming to the ward Halloween Party with glasses and a lightning scar on his forehead. When he walked by and I said, “hey, Harry Potter!” He look relieved and replied, “finally somebody knows who I am!”
I love to tell my kids that story; about a world when Harry Potter wasn’t a thing.
Today, though, my daughter turns 11. And as much as she knows magic isn’t real and Harry Potter would be closer to my age than hers if he really existed, I think maybe in the back of her mind she’s hoping an owl from Hogwarts will show up before the end of today. (Even though I explained that she wouldn’t get invited to Hogwarts in the first place because she isn’t British.)
My twenty-year-old daughter remembers the absolute disappointment of waking up the day after her 11th birthday and it finally sinking in that she wasn’t magical and Harry Potter wasn’t real. She would never find out for sure which house the Sorting Hat would place her in. She would never find the wand that was meant for her (or rather, the proper wand would never find her) or be able to play quiddich on an actual flying broom.
For me, I was slightly disappointed when wishing on a star didn’t make my dreams come true, no matter how many times I tried. (Thanks for nothing, Walt Disney!) So I guess realizing fiction really is fiction is a part of every child’s life. But it’s still sad to hear a child finally say that.
Here’s to hoping that tomorrow morning won’t be too big of blow for my Potterhead.