Down the street and around the corner from our home is a nature trail. Our family of four loves this long, paved path; almost every day, we walk or bike on it. (And sometimes, I end up carrying my younger daughter’s bike, and occasionally her too, back home. If you’re one of my neighbors and you happen to be reading this, then you know this is true. 😉 )
One afternoon recently, Anna and I were on the Rail Trail together. Anna pointed to a sunscreen dispenser, and wondered if her scooter could use a few squirts. “Scooters don’t need sunscreen,” I told her.
“But it would be fun, Mom.”
We moved along.
Spring is in full bloom, and Anna and I admired the deep-green grass and myriads of wildflowers on both sides of the path. Then Anna exclaimed, “Look, Mom! A wish thing.” She squatted down and pulled up a dried dandelion, not yellow anymore but puffy white—perfect for blowing.
Anna blew it, of course, after she made a wish. She spoke it out loud, so I heard her wish—and it made me smile—but it’s not my wish to share here, so I won’t. I’m sure you understand, friends.
Possibly the best thing about parenthood, for me, is having the chance to experience childhood again. Moments like that—stopping to admire “wish things”…taking a deep breath…exhaling a wish.
Believing it will come true.
What we wish for evolves the older we get, the more life we see. In my experience, the wishes of our youth tend to be longish, and specific. For example…“Please can I have one of those watches that lets me talk to my mom from across the playground, that I saw another kid talking on to their mom? In pink, please, please, please.”
Flash forward about 20 or 25 years, and when we blow on dandelions (if we do anymore), we often exhale wishes for good health, or more good times together.
I read once that it’s similar with job titles. When you start out in your career, your job title usually is longer, more specific. One of my first job titles was something like “community programs and public relations assistant.” Or maybe it was coordinator rather than assistant. Still, I had about six words after my name in my email signature, when only one word is needed to describe the person in the top leadership position: CEO.
…the wishes of our youth tend to be longish, and specific.
Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. And I am. I’m not Jane Austen famous, or J.K. Rowling rich, but I’m so thankful to be doing what I love to do. I am grateful every day that I get to work with words for a living. It was a wish thing, from my childhood, that actually came true.
Would it be nice to, someday, be rich and famous too? If that were to happen—a huge if—it probably would be nice, sure. But by now, I’ve seen enough of life to know that those are not the things that make me happy…that take my breath away, as a dandelion through my daughter’s eyes does.
Because I’m a writer and, by default, book lover, I read to my daughters quite a bit. A couple of months ago, we read a book together for the first time that we just loved: “Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney. This is a beautiful story about a little girl named Alice Rumphius who dreams of traveling to faraway places, living in a house beside the sea and making the world more beautiful. She, too, makes her childhood wish things come true.
Miss Rumphius makes the world more beautiful by (spoiler alert!) planting lupine seeds near her seaside home, eventually covering “[f]ields and hillsides…with blue and purple and rose-colored flowers.”
This story is beautifully illustrated as well, and the girls and I marveled at the celebration of nature in the pages of “Miss Rumphius.”
But by now, I’ve seen enough of life to know that those are not the things that make me happy…that take my breath away, as a dandelion through my daughter’s eyes does.
Yesterday evening, Grace, Anna and I were on the Rail Trail together. We stopped at a park; the girls practiced cartwheeling and played Pirate Ship on some outdoor exercise equipment. I had left my phone at home so that I wouldn’t be distracted, so I sat on a bench and…well, that’s it.
I could have attempted some pull-ups on the exercise equipment, or joined in the fun of Pirate Ship, but…yeah, I just 100 percent loved sitting on that bench. 😉 The evening sun felt good.
As we got ready to head back home, Grace exclaimed, “Look!” She was pointing to a cluster of tall, skinny blue flowers. “Lupines!”
“Are you sure?” Anna and I looked.
I’m not positive, but I think Grace did find lupines in the park. The girls were delighted to have found something they had read about in their beloved story. I was happy they could get just as excited about lupines as they could about pink smartwatches.
As my daughters get older, I hope they still take the time to stop and admire lupines, squat down and blow wishes on dandelions.
I hope their wishes come true.
I hope yours do too.
The road to wish things.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short story, “Backtrack.” An engaging read that’s can’t-put-it-down good.