My 5-year-old changed her Christmas/Hanukkah list. Now all she wants is a unicorn.
This was perhaps the easiest request we'd ever received. Within moments, my husband was sending me links to unicorn plushies, while I told my daughter that be it from us, her grandparents or Santa, she is guaranteed a unicorn.
My daughter was delighted. I was delighted. Finally, something easy after a year of impossible.
My mom asked what the kids want for Hanukkah.
"A unicorn," I shared with the relieved sigh that accompanies life at its easiest.
"A stuffed unicorn or a unicorn figurine for her dolls to ride on?" Mom asked.
Oh! I hadn't considered the latter.
I asked my daughter for clarification on her unicorn.
"A real one," she said.
I hoped I was misunderstanding, even though I knew I was not. The previous week, she had wanted a real-life sun-dried strawberry sasquatch. How on earth had I convinced myself she had given that up for a stuffy?
"You mean a toy unicorn that walks and neighs and lights up?"
"No, a real one. It can be a baby unicorn, if that helps."
Yes, that totally helps.
I found myself scanning page after page on Amazon. I was in an online shopping craze for about 45 minutes before I stopped myself.
This is absurd. If I'm going to buy something as expensive as a real-life baby unicorn, I should see whether I can find one at a local store first. Duh!
I left Amazon and typed the name of our locally owned toy store into my search engine.
"You'll figure it out. I know you're going to give her the world after the world has taken so much from her this year," my mom had said.
I continued my online search, now looking even harder.
Perhaps I should clarify that my mom, the person, hadn't said this as much as the imaginary mom in my head was saying it. My real mom, the person, probably had said something supportive, but the Mom Guilt (mine) has a way of distorting things.
All online searches to purchase a real live unicorn came up fruitless. I turned to my son.
"Wormholes," he said.
"Wormholes?" I asked.
"It's the quickest way to get to the isle of unicorns if you don't have a boat," he said matter-of-factly. "Plus, it's the preferred travel of unicorns."
I have so much to learn.
My online search for wormholes led me to tech stuff, Morgan Freeman and explicit over-18 sites. This was not going well.
"This is your fault, you know," my son said. "You've probably passed thousands of opportunities to have a real-life unicorn and never taken it."
My son reminded me of one of my favorite stories from when he was about 3 1/2 and obsessed with Jeep Wranglers. He had said, "We should take the next Wrangler we see." Jokingly, I had promised we would. Later that day, my son spotted a Wrangler in a busy parking lot.
"OK, if the doors are open," I said to him conspiratorially, "the Jeep is ours!"
I pulled on the door handle, expecting it to be locked, but the door opened.
Uh-oh. I hadn't exactly thought this through. Grand theft auto with a toddler had not actually been on my to-do list. It was supposed to be silly, a lark.
I turned to my young son. He was overjoyed. The Jeep was ours!
"Bad news," I said. "I just remembered I don't know how to hotwire a car. Without the keys, we can't steal anything."
"You mean those keys?" my son asked, pointing to the keys hanging in the ignition.
Retelling the story, my son looked at me with disappointment.
"You put it out into the universe what you wanted, and the universe delivered," my son said, shaking his head. "You didn't grab the moment."
This story may not speak very highly of my parenting skills, but the kid did have a point. Or I thought he did in my mad craze to purchase happiness after horrible 2020.
"What would you do?" I asked my son. "I mean, if you couldn't find a wormhole to get to the isle of unicorns."
"Cruise ships are all docked and probably have minimal security," he said.
If you hear about a crazy lady on a stolen cruise ship headed toward an imaginary island, please send me postcards in prison.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book "Stop Farting in the Pyramids," available at http://www.creators.com/books/stop-farting-in-the-pyramids. Follow Katiedid Langrock on Instagram, at http://www.instagram.com/writeinthewild. To find out more about her and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.