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How to Make a Wish Come True

We are blessed to live in a state with a lot of tunnels. Not only do they cut travel times significantly, they are a magical microphone to wish-granting brigades of fairies. These fairies are jerks in my opinion. Rather than scooping up the shiny coins thrown in wells and fountains, tunnel fairies require children hold their breath through the length of tunnels.

They have a motto, hand-stitched on their little throw pillows: Wishes Come True When Faces are Blue.

As a mom, I do not totally approve. We have some seriously long tunnels in Colorado. The Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels are out of the question. They jut through a mountain above timberline and are two miles long. It’s already hard to breathe. My eyelids tingle when we are up there. My motto: When tunnels are long, keep breathing strong.

We spent last week in Grand Junction, which requires driving through six tunnels to get there, five* to come home. The tunnels serve as a way to count off miles and mark progress. And, of course, they provide eleven chances to wish. Eleven! You’d need eleven birthday cakes to match this opportunity, and that will never happen. Everyone knows it’s looks gluttonous if you exceed eight birthday cakes.

On the trip home, we talked about the tunnel-wish folklore the kids established. We had just successfully navigated tunnel number one. It’s in DeBeque Canyon, is curvy, but fairly short and at a lower altitude. I heard the kids take deep breaths right before entering. The gust of exhaled air when we exited might have moved my hair, if it weren’t for my tight schoolmarm bun. A question popped into my head.

I asked: Have you ever had tunnel wishes come true?

Results were mixed. Everyone pointed to Tommy as being the most successful wisher of the bunch. Like what? I wanted to know. We’ve never been to Disneyland or the moon. Dr. Who hasn’t come to our house for dinner and Minecraft hasn’t added ducks.

Tommy shared, “Once, I wished that I’d get to try a long john. When we got to Grand Junction, we had donuts and there was a long john. I got to eat it.”

I was struck by everything about his wish. All along, I imagined my kids were holding their breath for things totally unattainable—a real-life Pinky Pie or discovering a mastadon in our backyard. Nope. A pastry. He wished for a pastry and he got a pastry.

Of course, I am not contending that his breath-holding though one of the tunnels resulted in a frosted bar of 10,000 calories. Tunnel Fairies had nothing to do with his little windfall. The simplicity of Tommy’s wish is exactly what allowed it to appear to come true.

Simplicity in our desires: When the Publisher’s Clearing House Prize Patrol isn’t standing on the porch with a dozen balloons, when the plane tickets aren’t booked, when all we have is all we ever may have, plus 79 cents for something stuffed with two tablespoons of custard.

At A Deeper Family, I wrote about the travel experience with nine kids-–notably how I do it on my own. Hint: I’m a busybody, riding in your cars. Pop over and say hello there, too?

*on this trip, there were only four tunnels coming home, due to construction.

**photo from the westbound Hanging Lake tunnel, also too long for wishing (nearly a mile)

3 comments to How to Make a Wish Come True

  • Oh my goodness I love this and that Tommy. I have never heard of wishing in tunnels before but we’ll have to do it now- we have a few fun ones through the mountains here in Oregon on the way to places we go.


  • I had never heard of it either…. but we don’t have tunnels in Ohio!

  • Amy

    Tommy’s wish was precious. Sometimes the most simple things are the best. Oh, how I miss driving through the tunnels in Colorado, holding my breath & making a wish. It’s a ritual my son now enjoys anytime we come across a tunnel.

    I love to try and hold my breath for the entire length of the Eisenhower tunnel unless I’m the one driving, of course. 🙂

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