Every coin in every fountain. Every candle on every birthday cake. Every eyelash blown off every finger. Every shooting star. Every opportunity to make a wish I’ve had in my life, as far back as I can recall, I have wished for the same wish.
Wishes are funny little things. I feel like while prayer and good thoughts are generally of a selfless nature, a wish is something different. We’re allowed to be a bit selfish with a wish. I say allowed, as though there is some cosmic overseer of all wish-dom. There is not. It is simply up to us what we are to wish for.
I find myself wondering what it is that Jack will wish for. What is it that he’ll want so much that it defies the notion of attaining it by oneself. That is, after all, the purpose of a wish. A wish isn’t something you can achieve through hard work or gumption. It is something you are surrendering to the universe because you know that, deep down, it is something you can never truly have without a little bit of magic intervening. So, in my wonder of what my son will desire more than anything I was really wondering the most simple of parental concerns: who will he want to be?
Wishes are who we want to be. Much more so than who we actually are. As I’m bringing this person up in the world, attempting to guide him through my experiences and mold him into the person he will become I cannot help but wonder what his say in the matter will eventually be. A reader of S.A.H.D.ness that I had never met told me a few weeks ago that while he enjoyed the comic, he felt that I put too much emphasis on the “apparent heroism” in raising a newborn. That I would really have no idea what the challenges of being a S.A.H.D. were for a few years. He said:
“Right now you’re wondering what he could say if he could talk. Imagining that it’s a melange of your own wit, sarcasm, and personality. But you’ll never really understand your son’s voice until he says something by himself that really makes you proud. You’ll understand it even more when he says something that truly disappoints you.”
I thanked him and asked if I could use that quote. It shook me a bit. It’s easy to get to a point with all of this where you get cocky just because the diaper gets changed and he sleeps for 6 hours through the night. I’m almost grateful when life decides to take you down a few notches again. Whether it’s because he wakes up screaming and covered in light brown poop at 4am or you remember that, despite all you’ve been through, this is far from being over. That the true challenges, the ones that will test every aspect of your life, are still days, weeks, months and years down the road. It’s a sobering thought, but what else is there to do but soldier on as though you are the master of parenting that you would love to perceive yourself to be. All the while hoping that the person you have raised even roughly coincides with the person he may eventually wish that he was.
Oh, and in case you’re still wondering what it is that I have always wished for, I’m sorry to disappoint.
If I tell you then it won’t come true.