AlexaStauffer_picOur fathers’ worst nightmare, but one of our greatest childhood joys. They would be gone for months, and then out of nowhere, they’d begin to spring up everywhere. 11:11 could heave a sigh of relief from being stalked every hour, and shooting stars could take a break from their streaming because the grass had turned green and there was the return of our favorite weed.

They start off as balls of sunshine on a stem, and just over night turn into a plethora of fluffy wishes. I remember my sisters and I collecting as many as we could just to try and get the boys we were crushing on to like us back. I’m sitting here reflecting on the number of times I wished for love, the trendiest clothes, all the things young girl want more than candy flavored chapstick itself, and the number of times they didn’t come true.

image2There were many late nights spent staring at the sky for a shooting star, shouting “11:11! Make a wish,” or picking up all the dandelions in my family’s single acre yard. It all would seem like such a waste since the wishes never came true, right? But as I’m reflecting on these, I’m remembering all the times spent with my sisters star gazing. The many conversations we had laying on old blankets, giggling, and staring at the black sky sprinkled with twinkling lights dancing across it. The time spent skipping from one side of the yard to the other trying to hold as many stems as we could, blowing our wishes and dreams as far as the wind would carry them and giving the leftovers to our mother who never failed to accept a handful of weeds gracefully.

Now a days, when someone tells me it’s 11:11 or grabs a dandelion for me, I find myself responding, “I don’t make wishes.” Sounds kind of heartbreaking, right? I gave up on the idea of wishes just because they never came true for me. Around my eighth grade year, I was about thirteen, nothing seemed to be going right for me. I had a traumatic surgery that almost claimed my life, I was having trouble with my body image, and some of my best friends were starting to turn their backs on me. The wishing just wasn’t working for me anymore. This was also the year I became friends with my best friend to this day and I started recognizing my blessings.

WishAgainSo when I make the statement, “I don’t make wishes,” it doesn’t just end there. The statement always ends, “I thank God for my blessings.” Reflecting back on the memories of my sisters’ ability to look beyond a yard burdened with weeds to see the yard as a field of our wildest dreams and wishes, it saddens my heart to think I have given up on that simple fantasy. Although I’m saddened to recognize this, I believe those dandelion seeds helped sow gratitude in my heart and soul.

When the clock strikes 11:11, I’ll close my eyes tightly and whisper, “Thank you.” I’ll stare at the stars I can’t see nearly as well here in the city, and when a shooting star streams across the sky, I’ll express my gratitude. But when that first dandelion pops up this spring, I’ll hold it lightly in my hand and blow on the seeds. This time, I’ll wish for my sisters and other women around the world, that they never give up on the wishes and dreams their hearts hold. I’ll wish for everyone to see their blessings, no matter how big or how small, that their blessings are really the dandelion dreams and wishes coming true after all. This spring, I will wish again. You can choose to see a field of weeds, or you can choose to see a field of wishes. Choose to stay young, and choose to stay you.


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