On proof and existence

When Namine got her nails done and a princess crown face paint, she noticed something on the ceiling.

The La-Ti-Da Spa is located inside a castle. The waiting area is the foyer, and the pretty making is done in the tower. The ceiling is painted to appear as though it’s open, with a giant looking in.

Now, the thing to remember is that pretty much everything here is fantasy. The fairies that put your very own Make A Wish Star on the ceiling of the castle, the mayor of the Village is a giant rabbit who will come and tuck you in (super creepy, if you ask me), the trash cans are clowns that want to be fed (even creepier), there is a tree that grows your very own pillow, and so on. And of course, all the employees do everything in their power to make it as real as possible. So it was with the giant looking into the tower.

Jessica and I have never been fans of what amounts to lying to children. Namine has been taught from the first that Santa Claus is not real, the Easter Bunny is not real, the Tooth Fairy is not real. It’s fun to pretend, but that’s all it is. But just this once, to make this Make A Wish trip as magical as possible, we’re playing along. Just this once, Namine can believe that magic is real.

But this giant was bothering her. Fairies are one thing; fairies are more or less good. (She’s reading Peter Pan, so she’s familiar with the idea that fairies are not good all the time.) But in all the stories she’s read, giants are not good; so the idea that this giant was real bothered her.

When Namine was finished getting her nails and face paint done, she pointed out the giant to me and asked me if it was real. I told her to reach her own conclusion. She said we had to go around the castle and look for him, so we said thanks to the salon lady and circled around the castle.

After walking around the castle, we did not see the giant. Namine was not satisfied, and she was not happy with the idea that the giant was not only real, but possibly in hiding. (The idea of Mary Poppins being real, by contrast, did not bother her. But then, Mary Poppins does not steal princesses or grind bones to make her bread.)

In an attempt to ease her mind, I said, “We didn’t find the giant. Isn’t it possible that we didn’t find him because he doesn’t exist?”

Namine responded, “No, just because you can’t find something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

Sometimes, I think she’s a little too smart for her own good. She’s a rational child, and she hasn’t turned off her analytical brain even here, in this place of magic and wonder.

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