Birthdays wouldn’t be so hard if it wasn’t for the candles. The cake looks more like swiss cheese or a mini gopher colony once the candles are removed leaving pocks and potholes where the frosting used to be. My three-year-old granddaughter seizes the candles, licking off the frosting and then double dipping as she waits for me to cut the cake.
This year my candles would be difficult to arrange in orderly rows and ranks; an odd number; a prime age. Prudently and perhaps with a bit of thrift, my mother placed only three candles in the corner of the cake – just for tradition. So everyone could sing by candlelight. I took a breath and blew. Success. My grandchildren clapped and cheered and shouted, “Make a wish! Make a wish!”
Suddenly, I was stuck. Pop quiz! Make a wish. What do I wish for? Blank. Perplexed. It is such a heavy responsibility to have only one wish. There is a fear and shame that goes along with wishes. Fear that you might wish for something and be disappointed. Shame that you are engaging in wishful thinking and should shake a leg and do something about it.
“Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” What if I blow out all the candles and the magic works? What if I wish for the wrong thing, and get it? Let me think this through. If I make a wish, have I committed myself? After all, it is pure laziness to engage in wishful thinking and then take no action to make the thing you want or wish for come about.
What do I want? For me? Wishing and wanting, doesn’t that sound selfish? I have no wants. I don’t know what I want. So then, what do I need? Nothing, really, I have learned to get along. Poke me, I have no feelings. What do I want? I want to do the right thing; or rather, to not do the wrong thing. I want not to make a mistake.
Wait a minute, there is something deep inside that hungers for something more. What is it? What is that niggling thought? Like the spoiled little prince who cried out, “I want something hot as summer and cold as winter,” I am vaguely dissatisfied. I want, I want, something different; something new and wonderful. A new life, a new love, a new location, a new job. Really? Am I wishing for those things? What am I thinking of? What if the new life was just out of the frying pan and into the fire? What if it wasn’t what I wanted and I was sorry I left my old life? Do I even have energy for new love? Do I want a new location? Think, woman!
What is the right thing to wish for? World peace? World prosperity? Are those wishes I won’t feel guilty about? But, can I do anything about it?
Happy Birthday! You are thinking too much again. Who needs a birthday spanking when you can beat yourself up without even trying? It must be the fault of all those candles.