Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Careful What You Wish For… #SOL19 #TWTBlog
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Slice of Life: Careful What You Wish For… #SOL19 #TWTBlog

Every year, at the moment of truth, just as I pulled my hair back, bent down, closed my eyes and inhaled, my dad would whisper, “Careful what you wish for.” Laughter or my retort would cause me to start all over again.  This time moving through the motions more quickly knowing my mom was now worrying that the candle wax was going to ruin the frosting.  I have to admit; his words are still in my head whenever I’m about to blow out my birthday candles.

When I was younger, his words had a different meaning to me.  When I heard them, I was compelled to make sure my wish was exactly what I wanted.  I wondered if there was something better, something I wanted more.  I rethought my wish to make sure I had it just right.  Now when I replay these words in my mind, I realize what my dad really meant by them.

My dad was not a materialistic person and we were certainly not spoiled.  In retrospect, it didn’t make sense that he would be warning me to revise my wish to make sure it was exactly what I wanted.  He wouldn’t want me thinking about what I was going to get, he was all about hard work and sacrifice.  His words were not encouraging me to make sure I got everything I wanted, he was giving me advice, a warning.

When you wish to get something, it is easy to miss what you already have in your life.  When you wish for something hard to go away, you risk not becoming the person you were meant to be.  When you wish for something not to happen, opportunity and possibility are forever gone.  When you wish to get something without the work, you miss the journey and the appreciation that comes from attaining something you desire.  When you wish for something and add it to your life, it may change or impact aspects of your life that you already truly love.

Careful what you wish for takes on an entirely new meaning for me now.  It makes me think about what I would honestly change about my life.  The bumps along the way have made me who I am today.  I could wish my mom did not have dementia. I could wish she knew me, but I have to wonder if I would have known her as well if I took her dementia away.  I could wish I finished my PhD, but I may not have landed in a job that I love as much as I do now. I could wish for my parents to still be alive, but then maybe I would not treasure my childhood memories the way I do now.  I could wish for a garage, but I would miss connecting with my kids and husband reordering our cars each night for our morning schedule.  I could wish to have my son home with me today on my birthday, but then he wouldn’t be on spring break with new friends creating a life of his own.

When you slow down, truly slow down, and contemplate how the wish will impact the life you already have, you realize you just might not want it.  You may discover how something that is hard is actually beneficial.  You may feel more gratitude than desire.  You may realize you already have everything you need. 

Today, as I blow out my candles, my dad’s words will be with me. I will be very careful what I wish for.  Honestly, I couldn’t ask for anything more and I am not sure I would change a thing that I can’t change myself.  Thanks, dad, for giving me a gift that keeps on giving year after year.

Clare

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers, and teachers here

13 Comments
  • Avatar
    Holly McKean
    Posted at 11:34h, 31 March Reply

    Beautiful sentiment and so true. I love how your writing keeps family memories alive. This one is going to stick with me. Thank you

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    Jessica carey
    Posted at 11:34h, 31 March Reply

    What a gift and how fortunate to be happy in life- where wishes aren’t necessary. You made me think and I feel the same. Happy birthday!

  • Avatar
    Paula Bourque
    Posted at 11:54h, 31 March Reply

    Happy Birthday, Clare. I celebrate the day you came into this world and lit it afire with your passion and Joie de vivre! That whole paragraph
    “When you wish to get something, it is easy to miss what you already have in your life. When you wish for something hard to go away, you risk not becoming the person you were meant to be. When you wish for something not to happen, opportunity and possibility are forever gone. When you wish to get something without the work, you miss the journey and the appreciation that comes from attaining something you desire. When you wish for something and add it to your life, it may change or impact aspects of your life that you already truly love.”
    Should be made into a poster! SOOOO wise and so true.
    Enjoy your day, my friend.Looking forward to nerdcamping with you!

  • Avatar
    Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 11:59h, 31 March Reply

    Happy Birthday Clare. I hope you enjoy a day filled with sunshine and laughter!
    Thank you for your wise and thought-filled words. Father knows best!!

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    Melanie Meehan
    Posted at 12:02h, 31 March Reply

    Happy birthday, Clare. There are are many slices in this piece, some maybe already written. I’d like one about re-ordering the cars. I bet there’s a series that lives in that one.

    You might inspire me to rethink a chapter in one of my books where the two characters find four leaf clovers and debate the difference between wishes and luck. Maybe their wise grandma should saunter over with a couple wonders about whether we should lean on either one.

    I love being in touch in March. See you soon, friend.

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    Christie Wyman
    Posted at 12:20h, 31 March Reply

    Happy Birthday, Clare! I Echo what Melanie said. So many lovely slices here, all woven together in a gorgeous (sometimes emotional) tapestry of memories. Thank you for sharing this heirloom with all of us. Cheers! — Christie

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    Sue Balboni
    Posted at 12:39h, 31 March Reply

    So beautiful. Thank you for giving a perspective that will help guide me in the future. Happy Birthday!

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    Susan Kennedy
    Posted at 12:51h, 31 March Reply

    What a happy life. So glad I can share a little of the journey. Truly blessed to know you. Happy Birthday, Clare.

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    Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 13:10h, 31 March Reply

    Oh, Clare, Happy Birthday! This is such a poignant, tugging-at-the-heart post. I loved how your father was so much a part of this piece of writing. For me, these words have so much staying power and truths: When you slow down, truly slow down, and contemplate how the wish will impact the life you already have, you realize you just might not want it. You may realize you already have everything you need. You may discover how something that is hard is actually beneficial. You may feel more gratitude than desire. You may understand that you already have everything you need.

    Those words brought tears to my eyes. I get this. I need to reread these words every day. I cannot tell you how much you mean to me. I value your friendship and only wish (yes, wish) that we lived closer. I hope you have a great day and cannot wait to see you on Wednesday. You are amazing, Clare!

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    Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 13:19h, 31 March Reply

    Happy Birthday, Clare. Your words about wishing are so wise. We can’t forget to celebrate what we are so lucky to have. “When you wish for something hard to go away, you risk not becoming the person you were meant to be.” I love that. Thank you. Thank you. I look forward to keeping our writing connection going on Tuesdays.

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    Mandy Robek
    Posted at 13:26h, 31 March Reply

    Happy Birthday friend! Enjoy today and it sounds like you’ve figured out this wish thing quite well. I do agree we get some bumps on our journey to make us stronger. I hope you have a delicious cake and lots of love today!

  • Avatar
    Terje
    Posted at 18:32h, 31 March Reply

    When I saw on FB that it’s your birthday today, I wondered what you would write. Beautiful thoughts. May you have a beautiful birthday!

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    Patricia Holloway
    Posted at 19:04h, 31 March Reply

    Happy Birthday to you! Your writing touches me so. I love recognizing the deeper meaning your dad was gifting you! Like the others, I want to read this every day as a reminder to slow down and appreciate what we have instead of wishing for something else.

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