Fairy godmothers

OK, I’m not really talking about fairy godmothers, but I thought it might be a topic that people were curious about.

Well, actually, yes, I am talking about fairy godmothers, but not in the fictional sense.

There is a concept without a name (at least one that I am familiar with) that I would like to explore. If it’s been written about before, I would love to hear about it, so please let me know.

Having grown up in a home that wasn’t the most nurturing, I had to find validation other places. Here’s where I found it: there were teachers who smiled at me, there were my aunts who made me feel loved, and there were my grandmothers. All of these people were, to some extent, fairy godmothers. They were around sometimes and it was often merely their presence in my mind that formed for me a safety net in the world. As long as they were around, even if only in recent memory, I felt loved and supported. As a group, it felt as if I was encircled by them and protected.

As the years went by and I learned how to appreciate my own value and accomplishments, I didn’t need fairy godmothers so much. But still there were my parents there in the background, out of sight, but still potential supports. After the death of my father, I substituted my uncles in his role of standing behind me, supporting me.

Somewhere in my 30s or 40s, I began to realize that I took the place of fairy godmother for some Lamaze students I taught and some clients I worked with as a therapist. They carried me in their pocket or their mind or their heart, to take out when they needed reinforcement and stability and, I guess, love. I only knew, because they told me.

As time goes on, I realize the world is full of fairy godmothers. They are the people who are in our lives who just by their being there, even when they are far away, give us affirmation and strength. As we get older, often they are mentors, peers, and nowadays, facebook friends– people whose presence enriches our lives.

Often, our fairy godmothers don’t know the function they have in our lives. Often, we don’t realize it until they are no longer around.

So today, look around at your fairy godmothers. Figure out who they are. And appreciate how they have made your life better, just by being there.

And then, think about whose fairy godmother you are, because whether you know it or not, someone who is not in your family– who you may see only occasionally, someone’s life is better just because you are in it.

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  1. Nice.

    I believe the song אנשי הגשם expresses this idea well.


  2. Kol hakavod for this beautiful post.
    I was thinking about just this topic now as we named our new baby girl after two boys this shabbat. When I was youynger I experienced very much what you described and within time my maternal grandmother’s godmother status grew in my mind. I always knew that I would name my girl after her. As I matured and am now as you described going through thr process of the 30’s I was faced with a dilemma.
    My husbands grandmother passed away this year and after twelve years of marriage I had come to love her dearly and appreciate her many creative, positive and nurturing qualities. I didn’t want to combine both grandmothers names and chose the recently deceased one because it is meaningful for me and my husband to name after her within the year of her death at the old age of over ninety.
    I know that I will carry my maternal grandmother/godmother in my heart always.
    I am also thinking and can see the beautiful cycle of becoming someone else’s godmother and bezerat hahshem I will see my daughter go through her process of enrichment and development