At our house, we go big with sunscreen. For the kids, we use a mineral-based brand. It turns their skin just a little bit white, and they look like little ghost children playing in the pool or on the beach. But I’ll be loyal to this particular brand forever because in 2017, we went to Florida for ten days in August, and we had not a single sunburn. That’s a mom win right there.
Today, I was putting this sunscreen on my middle daughter, and she said it made her skin look pale like Elsa’s. Then she asked me, “Mommy, why was Elsa born with magic?”
I didn’t really want to go into the plot holes that I feel run rampant in Frozen, so I simply said, “I don’t know.” Then, in a miraculous moment of genius, I brought up the book we have been reading at bedtime. I said, “Why was Matilda born with magic? Or why were Harry, Ron, and Hermione born with magic?”
We didn’t come up with the answer to any of these questions, but I looked at her and asked what magic she was born with. She was quiet for a minute, so I clarified. “What were you born with that makes you special and unusual?”
“Well, isn’t it obvious?” she said. (Yes, those were her exact words!) “My voice, and my body. And my brain because that’s where it all comes together.”
And even though I’ve never been a big reader of fantasy or science fiction (I’m 37 years old and reading the Harry Potter books for the first time), I suddenly understood why we can all still connect with those in literature who are born with magic, even if we aren’t “magical” ourselves. We’re all set apart, all different. No one else can be us, and we have the power to do a lot more than we think we can.
Frozen 2 wasn’t much better plot-wise, but a line from one of the songs really struck me, when Elsa decides to “step into her power.” I’m looking for chances every day to help my kids find their powers, their “magic,” and embrace it and use it for good.
Myself, too. Writing might not be a superpower, and I might not change the world, but I know I feel more at home in my own skin when I’m writing regularly. When I’m not “stepped into it,” everything else just seems off.
And something as simple as applying sunscreen can be a magical moment, too.