I remember my mom telling me a story about her teenage years when all she wanted was to be 21. She thought everything would change for the better on her birthday. She would tell her grandmother this, and Grandma Eide would say, "don't wish your life away." My mother would tell me this story several times when I was younger. To be honest, I don't remember the context. If it was a "lesson" moment or rather a time when she simply wanted to talk about her grandmother, a woman she loved deeply. The next part of the story involved the sadness my mother felt when her grandmother died before my mom turned 21. Maybe it was a lesson in irony. I don't know.
When I was about 11 or so, I wrote a poem that was really a song in my head about this story... the lines I remember:
I was sitting next to grandma braiding her long hair
and I asked her 'bout the good old days when she was twenty-one.
She laughed and smiled and asked me why I wanted to know.
I told her that I could not wait until I was twenty-one.
She looked at me and said,
"don't wish you life away dear, don't wish your life away."
I had not thought about this story or these "lyrics" in a long time. And somehow those words are in my head because I can hear the melody that accompanied them.
I am struck by the images of wishing that appear in fairy tales...the young girl wishes for her handsome prince...and all the drama that happens before her wish can come true. I always related to this story. I wanted my prince. I wanted to be old enough for my prince to come and rescue me and take me to far off lands where I could eat cake and wear pretty dresses and dance at the ball. I imagine my mother was having similar thoughts when she was wishing to be twenty-one. As though all would change when she became an adult at that magical age.
It is easy for me to get caught up in the magical world of wishes and fairies and castles and talking animals and creatures you thought existed only in your dreams. But then there are those moments that jerk me back into reality. When my serious nature kicks in and plants me firmly in one spot. Maybe today I can give myself permission to travel to those far off lands and share three wishes...
I wish you could see my wings, the ones I feel along my shoulder blades, the ones that whisper to me and move me forward; they are deep, indigo blue with shades of purple, and they are soft and full of strength and fearlessness. If you come a bit closer, they can envelope you and for a moment you will be home.
I wish I had a companion in the form of a golden furry, friendly beast who would remind me that everyday I can find the courage to share all that is spilling open in my soul (and maybe it could also warn me when the scaries are coming or help me look out for other bumps in the night).
I wish I had a magical power that would let me: step into books and wrap myself up in a quilt and sit at the feet of kate chopin as she wrote The Awakening, or live, just for a moment, inside a painting of a little girl wearing a backpack, holding a fishing line and ask her where she is going, or lie down inside the words of William Stafford until our hearts beat with the same rhythm.
If a fairy princess appeared with a magic wand today, I would ask her for these three things...
(to read how other people might wish or think about wishes head over to sunday scribblings)