The Real Magic

Elke essays

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My timing as a parent is more often than not, off. Like way, way off. Like having a baby at the same age when all of my friends were thinking about getting a dog kind of off.

But I nailed the timing this spring break. My sons are 8 and 10—straddling the divide between magic and reality. They can walk all day, carry their own stuff and are generally willing to wait for something they want.

Which means, in short, they are perfect ages for theme parks.

We went big—Harry Potter, Universal, Disney and Legoland.

Theme parks were exactly what this little family of mine needed—a break from real.

– Elke Govertsen

My oldest son’s face when he saw Hogwarts (HOGWARTS, I mean, COME ON!) was where the real magic was—honestly, I cried.

Watching my eight-year-old wave at characters on parade floats with all of the sincerity in the world in his little arm—again, I cried. It was Alice in Wonderland, for heaven’s sake. And yes, all of my theme park crying was centered around characters from actual books.

Our life is really, really REAL these days. It’s busy, we are stressed, there is the flood of neverendings (things like homework, laundry and dinner after dinner).  Theme parks were exactly what this little family of mine needed—a break from real. We jumped in—we let go of words like “contrived,”  “commercial,” and “fake.” Because at this moment in time—this precious, tiny window between having babies and having teenagers—my sons believed. We held instead to each other’s hands and words like “magic”, “memories” and “together”.

And that was all I needed to believe too.

Cue the fireworks. And the crying.

About the Author


Elke Govertsen is a entrepreneur and founder of Mamalode. She has been featured in Real Simple, Forbes, Where Women Create, Ad Tech, and listed as one of Origin Magazine's "Top 100 Creatives." She has been a speaker at The Girls Lounge, Adweek, C2Montreal, HATCH, TEDx and (her favorite) in classrooms. She speaks on a variety of topics from entrepreneurship to overcoming obstacles. She loves consulting in the areas of community design, storytelling and brand building. Her special skills include extreme bootstrapping, overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities. Of the many things she has learned by doing Mamalode, her ability to work with absolute chaos/kids/mess just might be the best. She is learning that slowing down creates more impact.

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