The Adventures of Eagle Girl and Her Most Wondrous Midnight: Hearts and Stars

Stars“Daddy,” my daughter said, “you will never die.” My wife and I, along with our two daughters, were circled around the dinner table. We were eating baked chicken, which my daughter, Regan, had pointed out, is white, not like human meat, which is red.

“Well, someday I might die, but you don’t need to worry about that for a long time.”

“No,” she was adamant, “you will never die.”

“Okay,” I said between bites, “why not?”

“Because Eagle Girl will use her magic on you.”

“And with this magic, I can live forever?”

“Yes.” Her tiny hands, indifferent to the world around her, were plucking off the chicken’s  cardamom dressing.

“What, exactly,” my wife asked, “does Eagle Girl’s magic look like? What does it do?”

“Oh,” Regan jumped up from her seat, “it’s filled with hearts that shoot out!”

“Hearts?” I asked.

“Hearts,” my youngest daughter, Ellis, squawked in response to Regan’s enthusiasm.

“Yes, and stars.”

Regan’s eyes were wide with wonder as her little sister echoed, “Stars.”

“Oh, I see,” said my wife, Natasha. “And what exactly does this magic, imbued with hearts and stars, do?”

“It makes Daddy live forever.”

“For—ever,” said Ellis, trying out the word for the first time.

“And me too?” asked Natasha.

“Oh,” said Regan, “well, maybe.” And then, as if remembering something from long ago, “Yes, and the hearts have birds in them!”

“Hearts filled with birds—epic. Do the stars have anything in them?”

“Well, the stars are kind of looking weird.”

“Weird,” mimicked Ellis.

“Weird,” I said.

Parenting: The Perilous Adventures of Eagle Girl

Eagle Girl“Dad,” she whispered. “Daddy, wake up.”

I opened my eyes. My daughter’s face was centimeters from my nose. “What?” I mumbled. It was still dark.

“Dad, Eagle Girl is here.”

“Who?”

“Eagle Girl, Dad. She’s here to protect you from the dragon.”

I jerked awake. “Dragon? Where?”

“Shh,” she admonished. “You don’t want it to hear you. Besides, Eagle Girl is here.”

My daughter, four, had recently created an alter ego by the name of Eagle Girl. She did this because her cousin, a boy, was rapturously in love with Spiderman. Eagle Girl though, or so my daughter said, was infinitely better than Spiderman.

Eagle Girl was half eagle and half lion. She could fly and run. She could speak to elves and dance. Eagle Girl was a voracious eater of ice cream, but, surprisingly, hated peas. She was big, but not too big, and when she wanted to, she could make herself as small as a thimble. The best thing about Eagle Girl though, was that she was a unicorn. I tried my best to untangle this amazing fact, but to no avail. Eagle Girl, my daughter insisted, was half eagle, half lion, and all unicorn. And how, exactly, did Eagle Girl identify as a unicorn? “Well,” my daughter would say, “because she has a corn on her head.”

“So,” I was back in bed on a dark night, “what is Eagle Girl going to do with this dragon?”

“Hmm,” my daughter placed a slender finger on her chin, “I think she will tickle her.”

“The dragon is a girl?”

“Yes.”

“And Eagle Girl is going to tickle her?”

“Yes.”

“No sword?”

My daughter cocked her head, “Sword?”

“Nevermind,” I said, drawing the covers over my head. “That sounds like a good plan. Do you need me or can I go back to bed now?”

“I need you.”

“Why?”

“Well,” she said, “because Eagle Girl is afraid of the dark.”

“Really?”

“Yes.”

“Okay,” I slid out of bed and snatched up Eagle Girl, “let’s go.” We shuffled to her room, navigating our hallways by the shallow glow of nightlights. I kicked open her door and dumped her into bed. “Does Eagle Girl need me to sleep with her?”

“Maybe. I think so.”

I lifted Eagle Girl’s covers and crept into bed alongside of her.

As I finally started to drift asleep, my daughter whispered into my ear: “Dad, Eagle Girl needs water.”