When I was growing up, I was a big fan of fairy tales, like many little girls are. One of my favorites, Sleeping Beauty, featured three good fairies who bestowed gifts upon the main character, Aurora.
Their gifts weren’t ones that could be unwrapped though – they were the gift of beauty, the gift of song, and the gift of weakening Maleficent’s curse on Aurora.
Ever since I was little, I’ve always wished real life could be like that – that babies could be given these gifts and blessings instead of rattles and stuffed animals in the hospital.
If I could grant my children gifts like these, my wishes would be:
- For them to have a life without worry: We lose so much time, happiness and energy worrying about everything. We worry about things that won’t happen. We worry about things we have no control over. Our worry robs us of so much. It lessens our enjoyment of the truly magical things that are happening all around us every day. While we’re focusing on worry, we aren’t focused on the things that are most important to us.
- The ability to save money: It’s easy to become an over spender. Every commercial we see is designed to make us want to run out and spend money. Every magazine we look at features clothes, perfumes and jewelry that tempt us. We’re living in a society of people who are worried about keeping up with their neighbors and living a celebrity lifestyle on a teacher’s salary. I’m not immune to the pressure. In my younger days, I bought into it hook, line and sinker. I hope my kids don’t. Saving money gives you so much freedom and many more options than you have when you are saddled by extensive debt.
- Not to become obsessed with their looks: We live in a society where people would rather pay thousands of dollars and be cut during surgeries than spend another day looking at their real image in the mirror. That’s their choice, of course, but one of my top wishes for my children would be for them to learn to love their physical imperfections. I’m still learning to relax when it comes to mine. I hope by embracing mine, they’ll learn to tolerate theirs.
- To make physical fitness a priority: As people always say, you have to protect your health. Staying fit is one of the best ways to do that. There’s something so satisfying about being able to do activities you never thought you would be able to. My first half marathon taught me that, and I hope it’s a lesson my kids learn someday. You should always challenge yourself to push the boundaries of what you can do because you don’t only become physically stronger, but mentally tougher too.
- That they have their own children someday: I hope with all my heart that they’ll have children so they can feel the intense, pure love that parents have for their children. There really is nothing like that feeling.
- That they find hobbies or passions that make them feel alive: Being a mom, I hope whatever they choose is safe, but I hope they find passions that make them wake up every day ready to tear up the world. They see me pursue my passions – metal detecting and running — and I hope that’s enough to get them to seek out their own.
- They’ll find a job that doesn’t feel like work: I’ve had jobs that gave me nightmares and jobs that I enjoyed so much I almost felt bad about collecting a paycheck. I hope that whatever field they choose to pursue, they’ll love what they do. It doesn’t matter to me what they do, as long as it’s honest work. While some parents might want to raise “successful” children who become doctors or lawyers, I just want my kids to be happy. That’s worth more than all the success in the world.
- That they always stay good friends: This wish is so important to me because I have such a great relationship with my eight brothers and sisters. Whenever I need a laugh or a companion, I can call my siblings and one of them will come through. We all live within two hours of each other, and many of us live in the same town. I hope my son and daughter will choose to live near each other and that they’ll always be as close as they are right now. They are such good friends to each other, I can’t imagine it any other way.
- That they’ll always look up to me: Adult children sometimes judge their parents harshly. The unconditional love they felt for their folks as young children slowly tarnishes bit by bit when they realize their parents are just flawed people who don’t actually have all the answers. Parents aren’t perfect. But I hope when their adult eyes see me as I truly am that they’ll still have respect, love and admiration for me. Every single day, I try to be someone worthy of their trust and love. They are the first people I think of in the morning and the last ones I think of as I close my eyes at night.
Something my childhood mind didn’t realize about wishes, however, is this – it’s not enough to wish. You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get to work to make your wishes come true. If you stand idly by, making wishes but not plans, you won’t accomplish anything.
While some things are out of your control, you can make good choices that, with a little bit of luck, will bring you closer to reaching your goals. So while I’ll teach my children to throw a penny into every fountain we see so they can make a wish, I’m also going to teach them to always know their own mind. They need to figure out what’s important to them and the kind of life they want, and then pursue it with every bit of energy they can muster.