I believe in magic. Who would have thought? After a long career running large organizations with up to a thousand employees, managing finances and budgets, negotiating labor contracts, and making strategic plans it’s hard to fathom that there’s magic in the world. The bottom line can slap the idea of magic right out of your mind. But then, one weekend in October changed my mind.

By magic I don’t mean sleight of hand or pulling rabbits out of a hat. What I am talking about is more substantial than tricks and illusions. When real life outstrips our imagination and when reality surpasses dreams and fantasies it’s magic. These are enchanted times when everything is better than we anticipated.

The weekend involved my two grandchildren – Claire and Luke. Four years prior, my daughter died unexpectedly giving birth to Luke. Claire was just four years old. It was a horrendous time for me and everyone else in the family. I made a silent pledge to my daughter that I would be an active part of the kids’ lives just as if my daughter were still alive.

I always dreamed of having the two Florida grandkids kids visit me at my home in Connecticut. So, when Luke was four and old enough to travel away from home, I asked my son-in-law, Bill, if the kids could come for a long weekend on the “farm”. While a ‘city-slicker’ from Chicago, I live on a farm owned by a wonderful family. My small home, once a farm utility garage, has been transformed into a unique place with character and energy.

I thought we would walk the land, see wildlife, and enjoy nature together. So during the first weekend in October, I flew to Florida to get the kids. Our flight was delayed and we got to the farm very late after midnight and the kids and I were exhausted. In bed that night, I wondered if Claire and Luke were going to be up to the visit or if Luke would get so tired that he would miss his Dad and want to go home.

The next day the fall colors, warm breeze and the crisp blue sky created a storybook aura for the day. Living in the north my whole life I took the gold, red, and amber trees for granted. But to Claire and Luke they were like pictures from a fairy tale. Luke and Claire couldn’t believe their eyes. Magic … just like magic.

We picked apples at the orchard, went on a hayride pulled by huge Clydesdale horses, and picked and carved pumpkins. We walked the farm, played wiffle ball, blew balloons, and sat on the farm machinery. Claire and Luke loved helping Peter, my neighbor, clear the garden, harvesting big sunflower buds, and eating carrots right out of the ground like “real farmers”. We put in long days “doing” things.

While the “doings” were fun and memorable, the magic was in our “being” together. The night before I was taking the kids back home, I was parking the car in the driveway and spontaneously we all held hands and sang “What a Wonderful World” along with Willie Nelson on the CD. Our connection in that moment was magical. We celebrated the fact that we belonged together — connected through history, blood, and love.

The enchantment we felt in being together and fulfilling a first-time dream of a visit to grandpa at the farm was truly magic – “wonder-ful”, joyful, and inexplicable. No metric can measure that weekend.

Do I believe in magic – you, bet. Children are open to believing in dreams and so am I. They are the foundation for the profound magic of life and belonging.