"And they all lived happily ever after."
To a hardened cynic, or at least a squishy cynic with a crunchy outer shell, those words are pretty but ultimately empty, and mean nothing but "This is where the story ends, and if it didn’t, you’d see more unpleasantness."
Sometimes, though, magic words can come true.
Sometimes, two mothers will go to a party with their babies and lay the little ones down on the bed to make them easier to watch over. Sometimes the babies will end up liking each other as they grow older, playing together anywhere and everywhere, getting into trouble and having fun. Sometimes the two children will attend high school and date each other, and sometimes, they will get married.
This is where most stories end, because "And they all lived happily ever after" is easier to read than "They worked hard, scrimped and saved, made wise decisions and kept loving each other despite everything."
"Happily ever after is easy." In real life, the story keeps going, and "happily ever after" evolves as life changes.
Seven children, 15 grandchildren and 60 years later, my grandparents are still busy living happily ever after. They’re just as glad to be with each other, just as content to tease each other and just as happy, in short, as they ever have been.
They did not live happily ever after.
They are living happily ever after.
These are magic words indeed.