When my daughter was three-years-old she saw Garfield on television. You know Garfield, right? The lasagna-loving, fat cat that happens to sound a heck of a lot like Bill Murray. She was taken by the lazy cat, and started watching the episodes on a regular basis. One night, we were outside, and she made a wish on a star.
“Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. I wish a giant lasagna would fall out of the sky!”
So that was my daughter’s three-year-old wish. She wanted a giant baked lasagna to fall out of the sky. The next day she asked me when her wish was going to come true.
“When you least expect it,” I said, waving my hand and trying to sound mysterious. I kind of thought we were just joking around with each other.
Two years later, my daughter was five, and we were again walking around outside, underneath the stars. She turned to me and said, “Daddy, when am I going to get my lasagna? I’ve been waiting a really long time.”
Wow. That’s how serious a silly wish had been to her. She’d been waiting two years, nearly half her life, for the wish to come true.
I didn’t know what to say. Should I ruin the magic and innocence of childhood by telling her that wishes don’t come true? Who wants to hear that crap? Should I, instead, let her go around believing a giant lasagna was going to miraculously splatter on the ground in front of her?
No, I couldn’t do that. I’m not built that way.
We went to the store. We bought ingredients. We came home, and we baked a lasagna. We took it outside, and I threw it as high into the air as I could. It rained tomato sauce and mozzarella and noodles, and we laughed as, in its own way, the wish came true.
I like to think my daughter and I both learned something that evening. Hopefully, neither one of us will continue spending half of our life waiting for a wish to come true.