When you wish upon a star

I remember the very clear feeling of standing in the front yard with my mother looking at at the stars. “There’s the first star!” she would cry. “Make a wish!” Those nights were cool and crisp and invariably winter because I had an early bedtime, but I can still hear her voice.

That was an incredible gift from my mother. She taught me to think of what I wanted and then ask the universe for it. It was the gift of clarity unhindered by the adult constraints of being realistic. She didn’t say, “Make a wish, but make sure it’s achievable.” I didn’t have to worry that cost, gender, ability, or any of those other grown up concepts would limit my dreams and wishes. All I had to do was formulate a wish and without taking my eyes off the star – that’s the trick right there: you can’t even blink – I had to whisper my wish.

Some of my wishes I remember. I remember I wished to live to be 105 years old. I’m not sure how I landed on that particular number, but hey, Past Charlotte, if you’re listening, so far so good. Other wishes were all about finding the loophole. Yes, my wish was for more wishes. I’m still good at finding the loophole and I got my wish. I have had unlimited wishes in this lifetime. (See, Past Charlotte, you made stuff happen.)

With my mother’s skill for defining and stating my wishes honed from an early age, I later added to this skill by adding an addendum: now go make it happen. Interestingly, the addendum has been really effective. For example, when I was twenty-five, I wished for a printer/photocopier combo. Now, this may seem a bit odd, so let me explain. I was a single mother on welfare. We regularly skated into the end of the month with less than a dollar in the bank. Those were scary times. Buying a printer was out of the question. Buying anything was out of the question and I had a very strong understanding of needs and wants and how to prioritize.

Here is how that particular wish played out. I wrote my wish on a sheet of paper and pinned it above my bed. I saw it every day for about a year. Sometimes it depressed me. It was just a symbol of the things I couldn’t have. After a while, it became part of the scenery and I stopped seeing it until the day I moved. I took it off the wall, threw it into the trash, and left for my new home.

Eventually I got a printer. The photocopier piece eluded me but it wasn’t a big deal. Off welfare, in a decent job, anything I needed to photocopy could be done at the office supply store. No big deal. But here is the ending of that. The only thing I focussed my wish on was a printer/photocopier combo machine. I have one now. It’s in the next room. That’s cool and officey and does what I want, but I put a lot of mental wishing into this device, so much so that the universe found a way to permanently fulfill that wish.


My husband is a photocopier technician.

Yes, I committed so much energy to making sure this wish happened, I married a man who will forever keep me in printer/photocopier machines. Neat trick, right? I can’t say that I planned this. It’s not like I was hanging around office supply stores hunting for a fella. But it happened and I can’t help but notice it.

My whole life has been like this. I figure out what I want, I define it into something short and succinct (if you have to stare unblinking at a star, you can’t get too wordy), and then I go out and make it happen. My mother gave me many gifts, but this one was likely her finest. It has given me the world of opportunity in the palm of my hand.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I still wish upon the first star in the evening sky. I have a massive wish list of untapped dreams I’m still working on.

Thankfully, I have more time. I’m not 105 yet.