I little boy becomes his father's teacher.
|“Who wants to blow the puff?” The little boy presented a dandelion that has gone to seed. It was missing half its globe. “Dad, you should. Remember to make a wish.”
“No, I think you should blow the puff. Wishing doesn’t work for me so well anymore. I think it’s a problem that grown-ups have.”
“Why, Dad? Will wishes stop working for me when I grow up? When will I be a grown up?”
This little man, so much like me yet so much unlike me. Full of questions, yet having no patience for answers.
“A bee! A bee!” The little boy swatted at his arm and jogged in place for a moment, then bounced away for the swings.
When did wishing stop working for me? I don’t remember. I am sad for a few heartbeats, but it passes.
The little boy scours the far side of the small park and returns with a handful of puffs. Carefully held and unspoiled.
“Maybe your wish will work if you use a lot of puffs. You wish will have much more power.” He holds the puffs above his head and much too close to my face. I pull away.
“No really, you should wish on all these puffs. You wish better then Dad.” The little boy’s face grimmed up.
“Why don’t you try and make a wish? If it doesn’t work then . . . so what. But what if it does, Dad? I will be so happy.” After a moment's hesitation, I leaned in and blew the puffs sending their gossamer stars aloft and a sudden breeze took them up and over the pond. The little boy clapped and jumped up and down.
“That was awesome!”
“Yes it was, wasn’t it?”
We stood together with our backs to the afternoon sun and studied our elongated shadows.
“Dad, what did you wish for?”
“If I tell you then it won’t come true. You know that don’t you?”
“Ya, I know. I know what you wished for anyway.”
“You do, huh? What did I wish for?”
“You wished that I would be happy.” I was astounded for that was in fact what I had wished for. I blew the puffs because it would make him happy, not because I had a momentary lapse in my grown-up problem. “Your wish came true, Dad cuz I am very happy.” The little boy hugged my waist ferociously driving my car keys into my hip and then ran off, hollering.
I was no longer sure who the teacher was and who was the taught in our relationship. Maybe we both were. Maybe wishing was not age discriminate as I had thought.
I ran after the little boy, hollering.