Friday, July 15, 2011

Thanks, Harry Potter. It Was Magic.

It’s 5:30 a.m. and Carter and Darling Daughter just went to bed. Five-thirty in the morning, and we just returned from the movies – an experience easily summed up with a single word – magical.

I’m referring only in part to the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (or, in devotee shorthand, HP7.2) – the final installment based on JK Rowling’s books set in a world of wizardry and magic. HP7.2 was, far and away, the best in the series, by turns demoralizing and compelling, poignant and playful, thunderous and hushed, terrifying and ultimately, uplifting.

More magical for me, though, was that Carter and DD were willing to tug their sleep-deprived, teenaged selves from bed at 2:15 a.m. so we could make the show. I tried not to make a big deal about it, but I was thrilled – or more apropos of the occasion, charmed, or perhaps, enchanted – that they’d deign to go with me and be among the first audiences in America to say goodbye to magic and Muggles, quills and Quidditch, witches and wands, and horcruxes and hallows.

As the final credits rolled, I was unexpectedly overcome with emotion – not because of the ending (which is faithful to the book – full of promise and hope), but because it struck me that I was marking another “last.”

I’ve made mental notes of “last” times for some 17 years now -- ever since I became pregnant with Carter. Over the years, I sadly noted the "last" time I'd experience the delight of an unborn child hiccuping inside my belly. The last time I’d ever nurse a baby. The last time one of them would be small enough to heft on my hip. The last time I'd be able to get them into coordinating Christmas outfits.  The last time I’d be acknowledged as the family computer expert. The last time I’d reach down – rather than up – to administer a hug.

Over the years, we read the Harry Potter books together, questioning our own “muggle-ness” and magical powers.  We were so smitten with the world set in Hogwarts that Carter once directed a barber to cut his hair "like Harry Potter."  And of course, we’d watched all the movies. In fact, in preparation for HP7.2, we’d “re-watched” all of them. 

HP7.2 was the last one. Another “last.” Another reminder that – at ages 16 and 14 -- my “kids” won’t be “kids” much longer.

Driving home from the movie, the adrenaline rush that had been sustaining us collapsed. The kids were subdued. Drained. Exhausted. As I tried to initiate some post-movie chatter, Carter said, “It was great and I’m glad we went, but Mom, it’s 5:30 in the morning. Can you stop talking?”

Once home, the kids crawled back into bed for a few more winks before Carter heads to his summer lifeguard job, and DD meets up with friends at the mall.

I headed to Starbucks. As I waited for my latté, the barrista listened to my story about getting the kids up for the movie. And then, she said the best possible thing, “Wow. They’ll remember that forever.”

Hmm. Not so sure about that. But I'm pretty sure I will. It was the last one. And it was magical.

Double-Chocolatey Rice Krispy Treats

The best recipes have a magical life of their own.  I adapted this one from my friend Janet in Charleston, who got it from her sister-in-law, Lisa, who got it from her mom, Sandra.  (Aren't moms always the source of great recipes?)  Although these unusual rice krispy treats don't include any marshmallows, they are plenty sweet.  Plenty easy.  And sure to, ahem, "disappear."  

4 cups crispy rice cereal
1, 12-ounce package white chocolate chips
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1, 12-ounce package milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 glass pan with baking spray.  Set aside.  In a large glass bowl, microwave white chocolate chips for 30 seconds.  Stir, and continue microwaving and stirring, in 20-second bursts, until well melted.  Stir in peanut butter until thoroughly combined.  Gently fold in cereal.  Spread mixture evenly in prepared dish and allow to set -- about 3-4 hours.  When treats firm up, melt milk chocolate chips in a small glass bowl or measuring cup, using the same microwaving technique described above.  When well melted, spread over treats.  Sprinkle with peanuts, if using.  Allow to set another 3-4 hours.  Cut into small squares and serve.