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All the time happy

His head crests the edge of our regally-high queen bed at the exact moment I open my eyes.

“What’s this?”  Not good morning, momma.  No snuggles.  Nate is my soft, cuddly teddy bear of a child.  Not Quinn. He is a changeling, all sharp angles and quick looks.  If I hadn’t seen his pointy, dark-haired head emerge from within me, I might suspect the fairies brought him in the night, switched him out in the hospital bassinet and whisked away my fair-skinned, red-headed angel.

He holds my wish box in his hand.  A glance at the table at the foot of the bed reveals that he swiped it while I slept from its permanent spot beside the clock and under the picture from Bali.

“It’s my wish box,” I tell him in an early morning whisper.

“Do you put wishes in it?”

“I do.”

“Why?  So they’ll come true?”

“No,” I smile at him.  With another child a mother might lie, suggest that of course they’ll come true, like tossing coins in a fountain or blowing out the birthday candles, but you can’t lie to a changeling. They’ll only use it against you.  “Sometimes I hope they come true, but mostly I write them down and put them in there so I can let them go.”

Some people call them God boxes. A little box into which one slips scraps of paper with quickly jotted longings, desires, wishes.  I think the God box people call them prayers, but my life philosophy does not allow for deities that grant or deny fancily upcycled wishes and so I call it as it is.  My wish box.  The purpose is the same.  To give it up. To set down whatever it is that my mind’s thumb rubs over and over, back and forth, like a cerebral worry stone.  Brains are not oysters; they rarely make pearls out of grains of sand.

He lays his pink cheek against the silk of the comforter and picks at the pretty string twisted around the button that closes the box.  “Tell me your wishes,” he commands.

“No,” I scold.  “They won’t come true.  Go and put it back.”

He sets the box back in its place, just a little off from its previous position.  I can tell by the square outlined in dust.  But he doesn’t release it from his hand. “Tell me one. Just one,” he begs, wide-eyed and innocent.

“Alright one.  I wish that you will be happy in your life. Not all the time, but more happy than not.”

A sly smile breaks across his face and his eyes dart sideways with evil mischief.  The innocent child disappears in less than a heartbeat.  He is a clever, clever little elf and he knows it.  “Now it won’t ever come true,” he prophesies in his wicked lilt.  “You told.”

For the briefest of interludes, I am a helpless, human mother, frozen, frightened that he has cursed himself with his own fey magic, but then I smile at him from my pillow.  I am clever too.  I can work dark magic.  What, you thought him a true changeling?  No.  It came with my blood.

“Only if you tell,” I throw his fate back at him and though he is only four I know he will catch it like a frog with his silver-coated tongue.

He giggles a challenge.  “Maybe if I tell, I will be all the time happy.”  And he is gone.

33 Responses to All the time happy
  1. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    April 28, 2012 | 3:30 am

    Oh to have a mind like that ~
    I would say something lame like grab him and kiss him and hold him tight and breathe him in … but of course, you do that all the time anyway :)

  2. Loukia
    April 28, 2012 | 3:36 am

    That is the sweetest thing ever. And I love the idea of a wish box. I keep journals for my boys on my night table, and I update them as often as I can, with personal stories, my wishes for them, stories about them, and more. Lately, especially my four year old, loves looking through his baby book with me, and looking at his baby pictures. I love all these special moments. They’re the best part of motherhood, you know? xo

  3. Marta
    April 28, 2012 | 4:09 am

    I love this love this love this.

    How have I never heard of a wish box? Clearly I must find my way to a Marshalls or Target and scour the store for a perfect little box to place on my nightstand to contain all of my wishes. Hmm I may need a big box.

  4. Korinthia Klein
    April 28, 2012 | 4:16 am

    Damn you’re a good writer.

  5. tracey
    April 28, 2012 | 5:26 pm

    Well! There you have it. He’ll be happy all the time, just to spite you. ;) Are you sure he isn’t named “Evan”?

  6. Kimberly
    April 28, 2012 | 6:29 pm

    Might be one of my favorite posts yet. Beautifully written.

  7. Ggirl
    April 28, 2012 | 6:31 pm

    Happiness is a box of wishes….love it. Love you XxX

  8. Anna Lefler
    April 29, 2012 | 2:09 am

    Your posts are always so poetically gorgeous!

    I admire that so much…truly.

    Hope all is well!



  9. Adventures In Babywearing
    April 29, 2012 | 11:29 am

    Precious. I was there.


  10. heather
    April 29, 2012 | 12:46 pm

    as i do almost any time you write, i have to stop by and tell you how wonderfully beautiful this is, and how it truly touches my heart.

    keep writing, keep writing!

  11. foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog)
    April 29, 2012 | 4:44 pm

    I wish the same thing. I also wish to tell you, as I think I must whenever you write, is that you do it so beautifully I am thinking about your words days after I read them. Beautiful!

  12. Dhyann
    April 30, 2012 | 12:15 am

    Happiness is a choice and it is up to us how we handle our life even when problem comes.. Be happy always can be a key to success..

  13. the mama bird diaries
    April 30, 2012 | 1:36 am

    Oh how I love your writing.

  14. Galit Breen
    April 30, 2012 | 3:56 am

    Your dark magic? Is stunning. As is this.


  15. mosey (kim)
    April 30, 2012 | 5:09 am

    you magical mama, you.

  16. tracy@sellabitmum
    April 30, 2012 | 11:13 am

    Oh my. You have such a gift. Swoon.

  17. Annie
    April 30, 2012 | 2:47 pm

    So true: “Brains are not oysters; they rarely make pearls out of grains of sand.” I like this quote a lot.

  18. Caroline
    April 30, 2012 | 3:04 pm

    You are one of my favorite writers of all time. I adored this post so much.

  19. Tami
    April 30, 2012 | 4:42 pm


    I’m one that believes that such a thing as a wish box acts as a channel to help that wish come true. I wouldn’t call it dark magic though, not if it’s weaving ends in something light.

    Thank you once again for sharing

  20. Jessica
    April 30, 2012 | 7:07 pm

    Oh how you write. I am always write there. I have a knight standing in front of my right now. He would wish for happy all the time too.

  21. christine
    April 30, 2012 | 7:42 pm

    This is amazing. I have no other words for it. A-ma-zing.

  22. magpie
    April 30, 2012 | 7:58 pm

    you make me smile.

  23. twobusy
    April 30, 2012 | 8:08 pm

    Oh, my, that was lovely.

  24. Katie
    May 1, 2012 | 1:37 pm

    He will probably be a writer, like you. He has an artist’s soul.

  25. Holly
    May 1, 2012 | 4:56 pm

    Just beautiful, friend. We should all have a wish box.

  26. Grant
    May 1, 2012 | 6:13 pm

    I’m still waiting for the day when I’m at your house and he doesn’t ask me “grant, why are you here”.

  27. Lady Jennie
    May 1, 2012 | 7:16 pm

    Wish box is a good name. For me it’s the drawer in my nightstand and I told my friend about writing down and putting all my worries in there, that it’s God’s inbox. And she teased me, ” if you were really faithful, it would be God’s outbox.”

    Ha ha

  28. Philip
    May 3, 2012 | 8:41 am

    “Sometimes I hope they come true, but mostly I write them down and put them in there so I can let them go.”

    I agree with the idea of letting those wishes go and leave it up to fate if they will come true.

  29. Lauren V
    May 3, 2012 | 12:30 pm

    I know I have mentioned this before, but your Q is so very much like my W. All your stories of him scream YES!!!! as I read. Dark magic is such an apt phrase. Sometimes I forget about the “magic” and focus too much on the “dark.” I love seeing my boy through your eyes and you remind me to remember the “magic” :)

  30. vodkamom
    May 4, 2012 | 1:29 am

    and just another reason for me to love the hell out of you .

    and I am making my own wish box tomorrow.

    my very own. For I have wishes. Oh, do I have wishes.

  31. Jane Hanke
    June 1, 2012 | 10:30 am

    What a lovely story from a loving mama..

  32. Christine Balch
    June 7, 2012 | 1:18 am

    Last five years, I made my wishing box and until now I still keep it. I still put my wishes on it. It is really nice to create wishing box.

  33. Sarina Jones
    June 8, 2012 | 3:15 pm

    When I was young I wish that all my wishes will come true and I believe with this wishing box magic.

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