One Saturday morning last summer at 4:30 a.m., our dog Atticus woke me up. I went downstairs and he was at the door in our house that led to the garage. I flipped the light on and I opened the door to the garage. There were three HUGE raccoons in the garage. Maybe it was a raccoon rave. Anyway, brave, silly Atticus stormed into the garage. Two of the gargantuan raccoons ran away but one remained behind and Atticus turned him into a raccoon bowling ball. I guess I was screaming and swearing (surprise) loudly because Shane appeared behind me in the doorway. The remaining raccoon had climbed onto Atticus’s head, so I picked up a bag of potting soil (nearest weapon) and started whacking it.
Shane yelled and picked up a skateboard and ran after the fur mangle as well. I came to my senses and opened the garage door and Atticus’s raccoon hat eventually ran away. The raccoons left, Atticus was fine, and we all recovered. Shane told me later, “I can’t believe I keep a bat by my bed in case I hear screaming in the house and I totally forgot it. I failed.” No, he didn’t. He heard me screaming and he came running without hesitation. I would fight off a horde of raccoons or zombies for my kids, any day. But it was so cool that when his mama went nuts in the garage at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, my kid showed up to kick some ass. When Shane was in preschool, his teachers wrote on his daily activity log, “When Shane grows up, he will be — a superhero.” He’s mine.
Tonight, is the seventh night of Hannukah and the eve of my Shane’s 19th birthday. This year, he turns 19 on the 19th of December, the final night of Hannukah. An auspicious birthday.
After we finished dinner and the boys cleaned up, he said to Max, “If you had three wishes, what would they be?” Max said, “I would want a new drum set. And drum lessons. And I think I want to save my third wish.” Shane said, “Mom, what would your three wishes be?” I said, “I wish for enough money to pay for both of you to go to college without worrying about how I would pay for you to go to college. And a massage every week.” He said, “Okay, what’s your third wish?” I said, “My third wish is to have my happily ever after.” He said, “Awww, Mom. That’s awesome.”
Then he said, “My three wishes are this. I wish I could wear a wizard hat everywhere. It would be like a baseball hat or a beret – wizard hats would just be acceptable. Or a witch hat, if you wanted to. I just want to be able to wear a wizard hat in public without question. Next, I’d wish to be able to grab anything in a room. Just in the room that I was in.” I said, “Like ‘The Incredibles?’” Shane said, “Yeah, sort of like the mom in ‘The Incredibles’ but on a smaller scale. For example, I could just reach out and grab my water bottle across the room without getting up. It would mean I’d get fatter but I’d be okay with that.” I said, “So you’d trade convenience for a dad bod.” He said, “Yes, exactly.” “What’s your third wish?” Max asked.
“I would want an end to climate change,” Shane said. “My third wish has to be something serious. Alternatively, I would wish for the return of the McRib Sandwich.”
My young man, my funny, sweet, handsome, smart, superhero, grabbed his backpack and headed out the door this evening after dinner, to hang with his friends. And I am here, at the kitchen table, preparing to write out some holiday cards and think about 19 years ago, when my Shane was born. And to consider my third wish, my happily ever after. You know that one – we all have it. It goes like this: “And then they all lived…happily ever after.” Happy holidays, beautiful ones. May you all have your three wishes as 2017 winds down. And may you, too, have your happily ever after.