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  • Bradley James Davies

Three Wishes, Part One: Someday You’ll Understand 

Updated: May 12

If you were granted three wishes, what would you wish for?


Bigger bank account? Bigger house? Bigger boobs? Porn star penis?


Maybe you’re more evolved than the rest of us and your mind immediately went to altruistic options like ridding the world of violence, injustice, and illness. While we are at it, let’s do away with littering, secondhand smoke, and loud motorcycles. 


What a world it could be. What a world it should be.  


One day during elementary school recess, a few buddies introduced me to the three wishes question. As I took a moment to consider my answer, I failed to notice their wry smiles. My careful thinking was quickly interrupted by the boys proclaiming the trick to the entire game: just wish for more wishes!


That night, I remember my mom preparing dinner as I practiced my breakdancing moves. It was the 80s, and Michael Jackson mania had come to suburban Minnesota. While my mom stirred spaghetti sauce, I spun on my back and moonwalked in socks across our kitchen’s linoleum floor. Nearby rested our golden retriever, Taffy. 


The night felt calm. Warm. Joyful. Best yet, it felt normal. 


At one point, I looked up at her and asked: Mom, if you were granted three wishes, what would you wish for? I was eager for the opportunity to replicate the cleverness I was so wowed by earlier that day at school, to share with my mom: just wish for more wishes.


I don’t recall her words, only a loving dismissal of the question. 


I again nagged her innocently for an answer, but received only an indiscernible murmur in return. 


Undeterred, and likely a bit annoyingly so, I pressed her a third time: C’mon, mom. If you had three wishes, what would you wish for? 


Her slow stir came to a rest. She tapped the spoon gently on the pan and placed it on the counter beside her. She took a breath, paused, and then turned toward me and laid her hand on the top of my head. With words spoken barely louder than a whisper and with a tone hinting at a mixture of sorrow, wisdom, and resignation, she offered what felt like a benediction:


I would wish for peace. 


Peace. 


And someday you’ll understand.


At the time, I didn’t know that the woman standing above me was someone who at one point in her life dreamed of writing the next great American novel. She was someone who dropped out of college to support her husband’s dreams–a family business they built together, working side by side in our basement. So enamored with my dad, she even affectionately called him “king.” 


Sadly, her faithfulness was not reciprocated. With vows eviscerated, she was someone who within the year would host a family meeting where cuddled up in my bed with my big sister, Taffy, and me, she would introduce us to a new word: divorce. Add to it all, she was mourning the recent, sudden loss of her own mother. Only thirty-four, she couldn’t have felt more sad, more stressed, more scared, more alone.


My mom was someone who could have used more wishes.


But she voiced only one.


Satisfied by a sacred certainty in her response, I intuitively knew not to push further for more wishes. Instead, oblivious to the storm of dysfunction soon to destroy our home, I returned to perfecting my backspin. 


As the best parents do, a seed had been planted.


As I danced, my mom turned back toward the stove. In a solemn silence she again lifted up her spoon and started stirring.


And she never stopped. 


She just kept stirring, day in and day out waking up on cold Minnesota mornings to drive to a job she detested. 


She just kept stirring, over and over again supporting my sister and me. 


She just kept stirring, mustering the courage to love and to trust again. 


Each day for decades my mom has sought to choose the path that leads toward more peace. She hasn’t been perfect, although darned near in this son’s eyes. And, in good humor, she’d be the first to lightheartedly and rightly retort: Where’s the fun in perfection, anyway? 


The result of her steadfast stirring is a life of her dreams: a warm, sunny, and fun Florida retirement, loving, lighthearted relationships with her children, and a kind, inspiring romance that now boasts over thirty years of devotion. 


And what about her one wish for peace? Did it come true?


Still planting seeds, yesterday she offered this reply:


Yes, but it was a long time in the making. Which makes it all that more a treasure.


Thank you, mom. Happy Mother’s Day. I think I now understand.


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4 Comments


Timothy Williams
Timothy Williams
May 12

Beautiful!

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Ashley Harper
Ashley Harper
May 12

Just beautiful, Brad!

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Molly Prince
Molly Prince
May 12

What a beautiful way to start my Mother's Day morning! Thank you, Brad!

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John Herzfeld
John Herzfeld
May 12

Beautiful, Brad!

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