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When you wish upon a star … well, it doesn’t always work

Submitted by on Friday, 6 March 2009 No Comment

starStar light, star bright

first star that I see at night;

I wish I may, I wish I might

have this wish I wish tonight.

I wish I’d never taught the guys that little ditty.

Sure, it’s kind of sweet to see them gaze up every night and pour their hearts out to the constellations. But it’s not so sweet to see their little hearts shatter when the wishes seldom come true.

And it’s definitely a bummer when they start fighting over the wishes because commodities in short supply often trigger wars.

Mommy! Big Guy’s taking all the wishes! I want wishes, too,” Boots wailed last night, despite the abundance of stars in the cloudless skies.

Mommy! Tell Boots to stop wishing! It’s my turn!” Big Guy protested.

The problem – aside from a child’s basically hopeful nature – started with Big Guy’s birthday candles last year. He wished for a bicycle, a plea that happily coincided with the gift from Dad. When the bike rolled in at his party, he became a big believer in wishing.

He wishes on all the classics – stars, dandelions, turkey bones – and catalogs as well. Sadly, the guys always are with me when I check the mail, so there’s no way to hide them.

Last week it was a Fisher-Price catalog. “Easter Little People! I wish we could have that!”

Yesterday it was a Target booklet loaded with toys. The pogo stick on the cover that Big Guy thought he should be able to play on in the house. A Nintendo DS (“No, Big Guy, not until  you’re 10). A ton of Thomas. A half hour of thumbing through the catalog, repeated “I wishing” and brawls when one thought the other had passed his wish quota.

I suppose it’s not any different from the eagerness with which we grabbed the Sears Christmas catalog when we were kids — yes, technically its name was The Sears Wish Book — except that came only once a year.

The junk mail in our house lands practically once a day, which means I get to hear arguments and see hearts broken more often.

I’ve been tempted lately to rig the system in Big Guy’s favor, just to give him a reason to keep faith. There’s a police car he particularly covets, and I could easily make that happen. Never mind that it took me months to eradicate that last annoying one that found its way to the house.

But then what am I teaching him? That getting what you want in life is as simple as wishing? Oh, don’t I wish!

I tried floating a compromise: The stars know Mommy said “no more toys,” but maybe if you keep what you have cleaned up for a week, you’d get your wish.

Big Guy saw through it immediately. “Mom! That’s not wishing. That’s work,” he said.

Yes, Big Guy. And the sad truth is, the occasional bout of dumb luck aside, you have to work for most of what you get in life.

Bummer. Silly stars.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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