Friday, December 23, 2011

A Practical Wish for the Holidays

My son attended a preschool one year called Nature Kids, housed in the middle of Seattle's largest park, the 534-acre  Discovery Park. The main premise of the preschool was that the kids would go on a hike for most of the day, rain or shine, learning about nature.

The school had all sorts of specially named places they'd hike to: Stick Belong, a place they often gathered large sticks to make a lean-to fort, Owl Logs, a place with fallen trees that could be an instant game of pirate ship, and the Wishing Tree.

The Wishing Tree was my son's favorite. Almost every day, the kids would gallop to one particular tree of many that surrounded an open field and whisper their wish. My son naturally wished for superhero strength, the ability to change into a cheetah, or an invisibility hat he could don to sneak candy whenever he wanted.

One kid, however, wished every time, without fail, for a sandwich. My son reported this to me each time with an incredulous voice, for the boy apparently wished out loud to the Wishing Tree as well.

"But he gets a sandwich!" my son would say, shaking his 4 year old head. "There's a sandwich every day in his lunch!"

The fact that this boy would waste his wish on something so mundane, and on something he'd get within the hour baffled both of us. Even I, a cynical adult, would prefer an invisibility hat to sneak chocolate over a sandwich.

But after a while I got it. The kid was a practical fellow. He wanted his wish to come true.

For those of you that want your wishes to come true this holiday season, I suggest socks. Wish for socks. Sometimes it's better to keep your expectations low and be surprised. After all, they might be really great socks.

For the rest of you...Happy Holidays! May your feasts be plentiful and delicious. May your family be bearable. May it not hurt when you bite your tongue. Do bite it, for the few days you need to. It will make for a far smoother year. May your gifts all fit so that you don't have to enter the post-Christmas fray at the mall, unless you like that sort of thing. May you get amazing socks. May you go easy on the eggnog and be mildly controlled with the chocolate...

And when the din settles down, may you find time to stop, breath and contemplate the new year about to unfold.

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