Sunday, July 4, 2010
Loose eyelashes, striped stones, dandelion puffs, fountain coins and birthday candles; the list of wish-upons in my family seems endless. We are not ones to let the chance for something good slip by us. Serendipitously, this week I came across a book on the library cart that details the way in which children around the world make their wishes. On kites, stirring porridge, throwing flowers and hair combs into the sea - each country has their own tradition. Soon children in Japan will be tying their wishes to bamboo at the Star Festival held each year on July 7th. We recently celebrated several birthdays in our family. I wrapped up a year's worth of good thoughts into the paper, ribbon and handmade cards. I love birthdays and always enjoy the ritual of the wrapping. I don't know if the recipient is aware of the good tidings I'm sending, but I know that they are there. This past weekend's celebration was extra special, capped off with an evening of fireworks. My favorites are the ones that remind me of a dandelion puff - warm and fuzzy, yet sparkly and fizzy as they brilliantly streak across the sky. Each time I see one, I close my eyes and silently offer up a wish: that next year we will all still be together, a little older, (some of us) a little taller; with the warm air enveloping us, the cool grass below, faces tilted up to the iridescent show in the sky.
I posed the question to a carload of captive kids: "If someone gave you three wishes, what would you wish for?" B: "Go that way!" (He hasn't quite gotten the grasp of contemplation of the hypothetical.) L: "I would wish to be able to fly, and I would wish to be an airplane whenever I wanted. And...nothing else." T: "Well, first I would wish for the entire world, including me, to be poor. And then I'd wish that everyone was, you know, more nice." T's wish for global poverty caught my attention more quickly than than the fact they each made two wishes when the instructions called for three, perhaps because most of the imaginary wishes I've squandered have more to do with gaining in net worth than losing. I wish for all the bills to be paid without impressive effort on my part. I wish for enough money to pay off our house, and our parents' houses, and the houses of close friends and relatives, with maybe enough left over to rent a wee cottage on the shores of some large body of water, somewhere. But really, T's way makes more sense. If nobody had any money, we could all quit worrying about it and share whatever we've grown in the garden. Because it turns out money is a lot like wishes: when we have it, we waste it; we tend to dwell too often in the fantasy; even if we do have it - money or a wish - it can disappear in the briefest moment, like a bubble popped by the reaching hand.