Heidi Mae Bratt
Heidi Mae Bratt

Do You Believe in Magic?

I was thrilled when Yehuda read Macbeth.

It brought back memories of my sixth grade speak-out, a poetry-performance competition that I won in that grade. At the time, I had not read the Shakespearean play, nor did I understand the significance of the three witches who steer Macbeth toward his ambitions, and act as symbols of fate, temptation, and the supernatural.

I only knew that the witch’s chant was very dramatic.

And so was I.

So I “double, doubled” in memorizing the famous lines of the Weird Sisters, feigned a voice with a crackle and a cackle, made sure to carefully enunciate the stomach-turning ingredients of the witch’s brew (“eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog”) and brought a touch of magic into the auditorium of my Brooklyn middle school during the performance.

It worked like the proverbial charm, and I was on my way to bigger competitions.

That was the last time I dabbled in “magic.”

That is until one my children anointed me mighty with power.

“Ma, do your magic,” Yehuda said.

My magic??

Exactly what kind of hocus-pocus was he talking about?

Was it cajoling the ear doctor’s office manager (having bypassed the scheduler) for an appointment on a day when the doctor had a double-booked, jam-packed schedule? A day when I was already told: “no way, no how, sorry but we can’t accommodate you, absolutely not.” And after more pleading (there was no other possible day and the kid couldn’t hear!), I got an appointment.

Is that the kind of hocus-pocus he was talking about?

Okay, magic.

Or was it the time I managed to get that silly prop for Pink Day after being informed of its necessity pretty much last-minute, and then called several stores, and had to travel to the least convenient one, and got there a few minutes before the store closed, but luckily found it and bought it?

Is that the kind of hocus-pocus we’re talking about?

Okay, magic.

Or, the more serious and frenetic runaround when I went looking for the medicine that was necessary, but more than one of the big-box drug stores in the neighborhood didn’t have it on its shelf, but after an exhaustive and late-into-the night hunt, I found a lone box.

Sometimes I wondered whether my doggedness in these situations, was not some kind of vestige of an occupational hazard. Was that trait left over from my gunning and running days when I was a hard-news street reporter? If I was on the beat, I may have come up against one too many no’s, but I knew that no was not an acceptable answer. I had to bring back the story, not excuses. I knew that if I wasn’t getting in the front door, I needed to get through the window. And if that window was closed, I needed to climb down that chimney.

But then recently, I listened to another mother talk.

She is a friend, who was never a journalist, and she was speaking about her youngest daughter. She was explaining that she needed to find out what her daughter wanted to do in a situation.

And then I heard her say, “Please, Rachel, make up your mind. If you want to go, I’ll make it happen.”

Ah. She said she’ll “make it happen.”

Not with a twitch of her nose, or a swirl of a wand, or an abracadabra. With her blood, sweat, and tears. And, with a hefty dose of luck. She’ll make it happen. For her kid, she’ll make it happen.

Okay. Magic.



About the Author
Heidi Mae Bratt is an award-winning journalist and the editor of About Our Children, the parenting magazine for the Jewish Standard.