Wish balls and such

Yesterday evening around 5, Tom laid a fire, the boys set up Herd Your Horses (a board game circa Jack's cowboy phase four years ago) and I got out our Wish ball. It's a silver hinged sphere that my mother-in-law gave us a few years back. Each New Year's Eve, after removing our wishes from the year prior and reading them aloud if we want to share, each of us writes a new wish for the coming year on a small piece of paper, folds it neatly and tucks it inside the ball. It's a relatively brief activity, and the Wish ball resides in the bowels of our basement for 364 days a year, but we all enjoy this tradition; I relish the moments of thoughtful reflection as we look both backward and ahead. Jack always writes something enormously thoughtful and kind. It's never about him but rather on behalf of the world: peace and kindness are common themes of his. I beam with pride.

Even though we don't discuss our wishes, T and I usually wish for things like the happiness and health of our family, job satisfaction or similarly adult-/parent-oriented hopes.

And then there's Oliver. Oh, Oliver.

Last year, as we were reminded last night when reading his aloud, Ol wished that his piece of Galette du Roi would have the fève every year. A galette du roi is a King's Cake, but the sort that hails from France rather than Louisiana. Both, however, contain a trinket that's often shaped like a baby. In France, if your piece of cake contains the fève, you get to be "King" for the day. In Louisiana, if your piece contains the baby, you're tasked with bringing the next King Cake to the next party.

Anyway, Ol got the fève last year when we celebrated with friends, and apparently that made such an impression that he wished for it to continue in perpetuity. Hoarder that he is, he still has the fève; it has a dedicated box in his box collection.

This year, he asked if I'd write his wish and then whispered it to me: "I wish Mommy would make tomato soup more often."

I wrote it down and then asked, "Ol, would you like this to start coming true right now? I have all the ingredients."

"Yes, yes, please!"

Easy enough. I made the soup in about four minutes, and it cooked while we played Herd Your Horses.

When ready, I served it in mugs with thick slices of brioche that I'd bought just hours earlier. Good brioche is hard to beat; it's like excellent challah. You can't stop eating it, nor do you want to. Oliver asked for another slice, and then another and then another.

I cut him off after five slices simply because I wanted to save some for myself and T. Not thirty seconds after I told Ol he was done with brioche for the night, we heard him mutter, "I should have wished for bread."

Tom about fell out. While hysterically laughing, I remember the Thanksgiving three or so years ago when, on a family walk after eating, Jack -dressed in his cowboy outfit, incidentally- called out to see if he could get an owl to swoop in. He was just getting into Harry Potter so surely was hoping to summon Hedwig. One of the houses up the street from us has a fake owl tied to its chimney; we knew this so we geared our walk in that direction. Tom was pushing Oliver on rolling, toddler car, and as we came in sight of the house, I said, "Jack, look! There's an owl! You did it! You called an owl!"

Jack was thrilled. It was magical and we all smiled. And Oliver? He said, under his breath which I thought was really quite polite, "That owl is not real. That owl is a statue."

Swear to god he said that. A three-year-old being pushed like a Tiny King outed the fake bird.

Oh, Oliver.