Growing up I was convinced that adulthood must be magical. Camembert cheese oozing on the cheeseboard, the clink of elegant glasses filled with forbidden liquids, the mysterious wave of laughter that moved through the room.
I remember donning pretty dresses to stay up past bedtime and go bush-dancing, watching behind the curtain as ladies slid into elegant gowns for a fundraising fashion show, sneaking spicy cabanossi from laden platters and watching my mother and father transform into different characters for costume parties.
Sunday nights after church became Supper nights. The teeming mass of children transformed McDonald’s playgrounds into settings for elaborate games, rearranged bedrooms to play Blind Man’s Bluff while a group of our parents took over the (Risk) world next door.
When we were older, Loren and I used to seclude ourselves at the top of the staircase, eavesdropping on the secret words of adults, straining to hear conversations and jokes that existed in the separate sphere below.
We were also well aware of the magic of childhood – late nights of bouncing on bunk beds, dramatic games of Murder in the Dark, cannon balls into the Hulls’ shimmering pool. But these elements seemed to be inextricably attached to the adventures of our parents.
Last night we hosted a party. It was a thrice rescheduled cocktail party put off again and again due to illness, exhaustion and surgery. In the end, only a handful of our closest friends could make it, but our enthusiasm was barely diminished.
As the hour of eight drew closer, Eli and Hudson grew giddy with anticipation. Donning suit jackets, bow-ties and collared shirts, they marvelled in awe as we transformed the room into a cosy autumn setting. Sticky fingers clinging to the top of the black table, eyes straining to see over to the forbidden treats above. Pretending to toast real marshmallows at the flickering fire cast onto the television screen. Jumping off couches, stretching to see who could hit the black flower decorations hanging from above.
The room was littered with candles, a caramel pumpkin pie aroma permeating the space, flame flickering and casting shadows. Frank Sinatra crooned from the speakers as the rain relentlessly pounded into the earth, spattering onto the window panes.
When our friends arrived, the little waiters burst into their roles, offering snacks to amused faces whilst liberally helping themselves. After a special mocktail they were shipped off to bed, faces aglow with the magic I remember so well all those years ago.
As for the adults, we sampled Cranberry Whisky Sours, Sex on the Beach, Cleopatras and Espresso Martinis. As the night wound down, we ended up on the couches, hands wrapped cosily around cups of Hot Buttered Rum, analysing ourselves and each other through the lens of the Enneagram. It is a night that I will treasure in my memories forever.
My suspicions as a child were correct. Adulthood is magical… but it takes effort to make it so.
I didn’t see all the planning, cooking, organising and fashioning behind the adventures of my parents, but I am so appreciative of their zest for life and the overflow of enchantment that found its way into my psyche.
The details that go into making these nights memorable are ingredients that, when pulled together, can transport us all to a place Elsewhere. Where the worries, regrets, memories and mistakes that torment us through the day are silenced temporarily, and we form stronger connections with each other.
And a new generation grows up believing in Magic.