Posted by: Mother Ruckus | August 26, 2009

The Magical Belly Button Jellybean

I’ve been working on a different post this week, but with my dad having surgery tomorrow, it doesn’t seem right.  Instead, I thought I’d write about what’s on my mind – my dad. 

A running joke in my family is I’ve married my father, not because Big Man and Dad bought matching Carhartt pants from Farm and Fleet without realizing it, but because Big Man’s sense of humor is very similar to Dad’s.  Perhaps that’s why I love them both so much -they make me laugh and laugh.  One of the funniest memories I have of Dad is the Magical Belly Button Jellybean. 

As an adult, I wonder how this family tradition began.  Some families anticipate money from the Tooth Fairy.  Others put their shoes out for Saint Nicholas Day.  My family celebrates the Magical Belly Button Jellybean. 

Easter is a special holiday for Christians.  They celebrate the risen Christ with singing, Easter baskets, family get-togethers, and rich food.  That isn’t quite enough for our Christian family.  Oh, no.  We have created our own unique Easter ritual. 

I can see it now.  Dad lying on his back in the middle of the living room floor relaxing after the morning chores (the livestock still need to eat on Easter).  His head propped on a pillow; his shirt off as he’s just finished showering and hasn’t yet dressed for church.  My older brother by nine years announcing to the rest of the family, “It’s time!  It’s time!” 

My two older sisters and I join my brother on the carpet surrounding Dad.  We sit on our knees with anticipation.  My mother takes a break from the kitchen long enough to stand above us in her robe, dishtowel over her shoulder, and smile. 

I worry, “What if it doesn’t happen this year?  What if the magic is gone?”  My oldest sister assures me that all we need is to believe.  Everyone stares at Dad’s belly button.  Nothing.  I lean in a little closer, shut one eye, and gaze intently at the fuzz inside my father’s navel.  Still nothing.  Sis starts to cheer on Dad, “Come on, Dad!  You can do it!  Concentrate!” 

We all join her effort at encouraging the magic, “You can do it, Dad!  Focus!  We believe!” 

The voices crescendo as we witness Dad strain under obvious concerted effort.  He lifts his head off the pillow, closes his eyes, and wrinkles his forehead.  Suddenly the family erupts into exuberant screams.  My parents laugh hard enough to bring water to their eyes.  My sisters and I jump off the floor to dance around Dad, “YEAH!  IT HAPPENED!   IT’S MAGIC!  IT’S EASTER MAGIC!” 

Sitting in Dad’s belly button is a solitary, black jellybean.

Me circa the time of believing in the Magical Belly Button Jellybean

Me circa the time of believing in the Magical Belly Button Jellybean



  1. This is really precious Angel. We’re all sending Magical Belly Button Jelly Bean good thoughts to both your mom and dad in Minnesota.

    All my love,

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