Some friends and I were swapping parenting stories last week when my buddy Ric Cochran shared the following anecdote:
"When my son, Nic, was in second grade, about 7 years old, we moved to Florida from Marietta," Ric said. "The move was kind of tough for him. We had no family there, and he missed having relatives around. He especially missed his cousin, Kristin, who was 12 or 13 at the time and he absolutely idolized her. Thought she was the greatest.
"So we're living in Florida and Nic's missing his cousin, and one day, while Nic was in school, Kristin and her family showed up for a visit. It was just too perfect an opportunity to let pass.
"I've always liked doing magic tricks. Mostly just simple sleight-of-hand, make-the-coin-disappear and reappear sort of things, but I was always mixing it up and adding new tricks. Except in Nic's eyes, they weren't tricks. He completely believed I was capable of magic.
"Anyway, I got Kristin to hide in the bathroom and I hung a blanket over the door, and just a few minutes later, Nic got home. Of course, he immediately noticed the blanket and asked why it was there, so I told him I'd been practicing a new trick: making a person appear.
"'Any person?' Nic asked.
"'Not just any person,' I said. 'It'll only work if it's the one person you want to see more than anyone else. And you might as well pick someone who lives far away. If I'm going to do this, let's make it worthwhile.'
"It really wasn't all that hard to lead a kid his age where I wanted him to go," Ric said. "Plus we'd just been talking about Kristin and I knew she'd been on his mind, so I wasn't surprised at all when he said her name.