While I couldn't bring myself to say it aloud, I wanted a girl in the worst way. My mind filled with fluffy pink, sugar and spice, ballerina thoughts without conscious effort and I had to make sincere attempts to banish them each time I became aware. It didn't seem right to pray in such specivity. In fact, it seemed downright bossy-and who was I to tell the Creator that he better get it right? However, I had no problem with sending up a wish.
By nature, a wish is designed to be taken less seriously than a prayer. Maybe because the granter of wishes is enigmatic like the Wizard of Oz and nobody is really sure if he exists or not. Or maybe because the wisher has a sense of annonimitty that she doesn't have in the more sacred and organized arena of prayer, giving her liberaty to be undaunted or even extravagant in the wish. By the way, and I think this is the genius of the wish system... You know how when you were little and told to make a wish and then instructed to keep it a seceret or it wouldn't come true? Well, this one little clause (the oath of secrecy) was designed with the intention of ensuring the existence of the system- the Wish System that is. Can you imagine the crushing blow felt by the 5 year old who rattels on about her wish for a pink unicorn only to be patronized by the adults in attendance at her party? She would lose faith in her wish the instant the first "Ohhhh how cute" was snickered. Her wish would somehow start to seem ridiculous and impossible and she would either learn right then and there that she should never-ever share her wish aloud - or just give up on the wish system entirely. Keeping the wish a seceret = guarded faith.
I myself didn't have a strong appreciation for the Wish System since I had sent up orders for a horse on approximately 9 seperate occasions, extinguishing a total of 90 birthday candles from the ages of six to fourteen and was never graced with the the carmel colored pony with flowing blond mane and braided tail, tied with a pink satin ribbon. And yes, the night I wished on a star for a girl, my demands were even higher.
Besides wishing for a girl, I wished for a certain kind of girl, having mostly to do with her personality. As I've mentioned, I've always been curious as to how much of who we are is pre-determined and how much is based on influence. Not wanting to chance either side of the coin, I sent up a hefty wish just in case either one of the two determining factors would not prove satisfactory.
She would need:
a strong will and an unwavering ability to believe in her convictions
a determination about herself and her abilities
a strong mind, able to reason, see others' points of view and come to her own conclusions
(and for good measure)-why not-a grace about her, a femininity to soften the edges of the aforementiond traits.
There was no doubt that I wanted a girly girl, but felt, that alone, would be a dangerous wish if not combined with the more practical elements designed to give her the umph she needed to succeed in the world. Sappy, I know, the whole idea of it reaks of poorly worded sentiments on not even Hallmark worthy cards. But no one would be the wiser, I told myself, since I understood the importance of the secrecy clause and had already finilized and sent the wish on its way. My secret was safe with the stars-or so I thought.
On the eve of her arrival, I was packed, set and ready. Even though the doctor had told me that 'Nothing was going on' only hours earlier. I was sure this had to be IT. When The Husband walked through the front door, I would be there to greet him, bags and carseat in tow, ready to roll.
"We have to run out to the new house to set out the markers for the trees that are gonna be planted tomorrow. Do you think we have time?" he asked.
"I don't know, I've never done this before " I said as I lost count of the seconds until the next contraction would begin.
Somehow this answer seemed satisfactory to him and so we drove in the dark to the vacant house that we were to move into in the next two days.
"Do you want to come with me - do you have an opinion about where they are planted?" he asked.
No opinion, or no you don't want to come with me?
"Just NO", I said, keeping my eyes on the minute hand of my watch.
The thoughts that were going through my head made little sense at the time. Tomorrow was only a sunrise away and the irony of my labor day and my arbor day occuring simutaneously was not lost on me. I remembered reading about cultures that would plant the placenta with a tree to celebrate the birth of a child and provide nutrients to the newly planted tree. Hmmm, maybe not for me.
My parents pulled out of their driveway 650 miles north and drove - faster than the law would allow through the Texas night. The darkness illuminated by distant farm houses outlined in Christmas lights and tractors set aglow with running twinkle lights.
They might have made it in time for the actual birth had they not been pulled over by a highway patrolman for speeding. But all things happen for a reason - because it was at this exact moment, a star decided to shoot across the sky.
It's not clear if my mom took this as a sign or just happenstance, that her grandaughter had been born at that same moment. Regardless, she told me about it 45 minutes later when they arrived at the hospital.
It's taken almost five years, but as the branches of her personality emerge and her roots take hold, I'm starting to gain a respect I was lacking in the Wish System.
We just removed the steel posts and wires that held the newly (almost 5 years ago) planted trees. Someone told us that it was the swaying in the wind that would help a tree to develop its strength. We had been afraid if removed too early, the tree would not grow straight, or worse be broken by the wind. The trees still need our care, but they are stalwart, confident about the direction of their growth. They have a strength about them, a strength that will only gain in momentum from being allowed to sway in the wind.