Yesterday morning, we got up bright and early to join the excited witches, wizards and muggles for the 9.01am launch of the new Harry Potter book.
And as we stood there in Carlton, on the cold Winter weekend morning, memories of the other times we did that flashed through my mind.
I have a lot of Harry Potter themed memories. It was my mother-in-law who first introduced me to the books. She had become hooked after reading the first three, and one long weekend when we were visiting their farm, she suggested I read them. I don’t think I moved from sitting in front of the open fireplace for the rest of the time we were in Mansfield, speeding through the chapters at the rate of knots. Aaron read them as soon as I finished and together, we became hooked on the story of the ‘boy who lived’.
The fourth book had just been released, so as soon as I finished the third book, I bought a copy of that and caught up. And started the count down until the launch of the fifth book, re-reading the already released books in the lead up – a tradition that would precede the big launch day of subsequent instalments.
The launch dates of the remaining books were marked in my diaries and on the day, I’d push little kids out of the way to get my pre-ordered copy, spending the rest of the day cuddled up on the couch ploughing my way through, refusing to even glance online for fear of spoilers!
In November 2001, I counted down until the first movie came out, lining up the opening weekend to see if the film came close to capturing the magic on screen that had leapt from the pages of the books. I loved it, just as I did all the films.
In London a couple of years ago, Aaron and I (without our kid – excellent parents!) spent a day at the Warner Bros Studio where much of the movies had been filmed. I burst into tears as I turned a corner during the tour to be faced with a scaled model of Hogwarts. We drank butter beer, rode broomsticks and flew above the trees in a Ford Anglia.
And then there was the delight and beauty of introducing our daughter to Harry Potter and watching her discover the world into which I had escaped years earlier. We loved seeing her fall in love with the stories and get carried away with the characters. Nights become a battle ground as we caught her reading with a torch under the doona after lights out because she was desperate to keep turning pages…
She loved the movies too when she was old enough to watch them – and after she had already read the books. That’s the rule in our house: books before movies!
She has other Harry Potter memories too – not only the books and the movies, but also dressing up as Hermione during book week when she was Year 1, and a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando last year.
And now she will remember the launch of the eighth book where she was an active participant. She has heard our tales of the excitement of launch events and yesterday, she got into the spirit of the occasion, standing out as the only Bellatrix Lestrange in a sea of Harrys, Hermiones and Rons. (Very proud parenting moment!!)
I love that she has memories of Harry Potter and I wonder if these will be the occasions that stand out in her mind when she grows up and looks back on her childhood.
She has had some pretty incredible experiences that have made for pretty magical memories. Where does mum having diabetes fit in there? She asks me a lot of questions about diabetes that I try to answer as honestly as I can, but there is so much I want to shield from her – or at least, not have her think about.
A while ago, she asked ‘Is diabetes scary?’ and I paused before answering ‘Sometimes, but not too much.’ The truth is that it scares me senseless a lot of the time, but I don’t want her knowing that. I know I am not alone in this. My mum still tries to downplay things if she isn’t feeling great, and I am now over 40 and far less easily fooled by her ‘putting on a good face’ routine. Although, maybe I just tell myself that our 11-year-old can’t see through my lies about how I feel.
When our daughter is an adult and remembering her childhood, I don’t want her to think about diabetes. I don’t want her to think about me having to stop to deal with a ‘diabetes thing’.
I want her to remember the hours we spent reading, watching and talking about Harry Potter and having ridiculous discussions about who we would be if we were characters in the books. (I can tell when she is annoyed with me – then she says I remind her of Dolores Umbridge!)
Diabetes doesn’t get a look into our world of Harry Potter. In that world, there is no diabetes; there is no fear of complications; there are no scary lows or nasty highs. In that world, I don’t think diabetes. Because, those things don’t exist. There is magic. Only magic.