Last year, Jessica and I were talking about our wishes, because we like to wish upon stars. And every time we do, we have the same three wishes: that she will grow big and strong, that we will always have good work to do, and that we will live happily ever after.
That day, she added another wish. “I would like to be like Harry Potter.”
“Do you mean you’d like to be a wizard?” I asked. “Because there isn’t really any such thing as magic.”
“I know there is no such thing as magic,” she said. “But I would like to have a cloak, like he wears. And a magic wand. And I would pretend to be Harry Potter. It would be wonderful to be Harry Potter.”
This did not seem like a terribly extravagant wish to fulfill, so I bought her a cloak and a magic wand, and she wore the cloak and carried the wand on every errand we embarked on for the next three months, and it is a testament to how much joy Jessica took in it that everyone who saw her responded to her joy, and not to the oddness of a teenager dressing like Harry Potter on a random day in May.
“That is a very wonderful cloak,” they would say.
“I know it!” she would beam. “I am just like Harry Potter. Would you like to see my magic wand?”
“Yes, of course,” they would say, and smile.
And so one day in the early summer, she said to me, “Do you have a special wish that we should wish?”
“No, our three wishes are all I need.”
“A wish is not about a thing you need,” she said. How did I get to be a grown up and not know these things? “It is about a thing you want. What is a thing you have always wanted?”
The things I have wished for are too painful to talk about. I tried to come up with something that she would understand, and that I could stand having conversations about for the next three years.
“Well,” I said. “When I was younger, maybe about your age, I thought, ‘When I grow up, I will always have fresh flowers every week.’ I have always loved flowers. And I thought if you had enough money left over for flowers, you would be doing pretty well in life.”
“Daffodils are your favorite,” Jessica said, because she remembers things like that. “And then daisies. After that is tulips and crocuses, because they mean springtime.”
“That’s exactly right.”
“That is a very easy wish,” Jessica said. “We can make that wish come true.”
“I suppose. But we don’t need to.”
“We don’t need to?” Jessica was puzzled. “I don’t understand that. What good is a wish if you just let it sit there?”
That week, we went to the grocery store, and Jessica said, “There is one more thing before we check out.”
“I will show you.”
She’s a smart girl. She knew if she said, “We should get flowers,” it would be too easy for me to say no. I am very good at saying no to myself. But if she showed me the flowers, well, I would not be able to resist. So that was exactly what she did.
“I think the pink roses are beautiful,” she said. “They are flowers for you, but don’t you think the pink roses are beautiful?”
Because she wanted them so much, it was easier for me to say yes.
By the next week, they had faded and been thrown away, but when we were at the grocery store, Jessica said again, “There is one more thing,” and I was going to say no, but they had orange Gerbera daisies, which are the happiest flowers in the world, and so I got them.
It has gone like that, week after week, ever since I made my wish. Fresh flowers every week, just like I promised myself all those years ago. Because what good is a wish if you just let it sit there?