Dear Eliza, 42 Months Old

Full transparency: I am no longer writing and publishing these letters on your month-day. Life is getting really busy and it’s hard to be that punctual. I’m trying to write +/- 2 days from the 10th of the month. Close enough, right?

Fridays are becoming my favorite. I get to take you to pre-school and we stop on the way at Pao’s donuts. I always get a maple bar and you get donut holes or a vanilla-sprinkle cake donut.

This morning, your sugar-fueled mind fired off a series of questions: “How do you make donuts?” “How do you ice skate so you don’t fall?” “Will my hair get dark like mommy’s?” “How do bees make honey?”

Speaking of bees, you gave Mom and I a first birds-and-bees question earlier in the week, asking how babies are made. I think we responded with something vague about adults loving each other. We are crushing this parenting thing.

Back to present-time. You asked me how you can make magic like Elsa, a “Frozen” reference. You said you want to be able to shoot ice and snow from your hands. Ski resorts would like that magical power, too. You also asked how you can fly like a bird — you often ask about that.

I can see that you’re starting to make sense of what’s possible between what you see in movies and what you observe in the real world. Of course, everything looks so real in movies, it’s hard to tell what should be possible. When I was a little kid, I also had a small obsession with flying like Peter Pan. I decided that I wasn’t thinking about it hard enough, so I would sit in my room and focus on flying — more levitating — but it never worked out for me.

I’ll tell you here what I told you in the car: Magic is a little different in the real world. It exists, but it’s harder to see. The kind of magic you’re thinking about always works in imagination and pretending. That’s the good news. There’s another kind of magic, too. Your Mom has this special magic. She can magically keep you and your brother happy (and alive) every day. She can find a way to transition you from a moment of frustration to giggling. You can tap into that kind of magic, too.

We call that kind of magic “love.” And just like the movies, it sends emotions every which way and makes stories exciting. It can actually make you feel like you’re flying. Practice love and you’ll be practicing magic.

Love, Dad