Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on

Never let it be said that the universe doesn’t have a sense of humour.

Years ago, when Child was 7 (14 years ago!), he and I took a shine to a movie called Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. It’s a lovely story about mourning someone you love, and the absolute power and joy of a life well lived. It’s stars Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman, and truly, it’s probably still in my top 10 favourite movies. At one point, Molly Mahoney (Portman) is trying to convince Mr. Magorium (Hoffman) that he still has tons of life to live, so she takes him on a mega-shenanigan-za day full of fun, whimsical events… jumping on beds and dancing on bubblewrap and setting all the clocks in a clock store to ring at the same time.

There’s a bit of conversation that stuck with me:

Molly: Ready? On “go. “

Magorium: Not on “go. ” It’s always on “go. “

Molly: All right.

Magorium: Hmm?

Molly: On “triskaidekaphobia. “

Magorium: Oh, that’s a good one!

Molly: All right, ready?
Magorium: Mm-hmm.

Molly: Set?
Magorium: Mm-hmm.

Molly: Triskaidekaphobia!

We used triskaidekaphobia as a code word for a while – Ready, Set, Triskaidekaphobia would sub in for me telling him I loved him when it would have maybe embarrassed him. But he knew. And that’s all that mattered.

That movie was about Mr. Magorium deciding to “depart”, but it was also about Molly Mahoney believing in herself as much as Mr. Magorium believed in her. And Henry (Jason Bateman) learning to see the sparkle in life.

So really, it also meant “Go, I believe in you” – which I guess is also wrapped up in an I-love-you.

What Triskaidekaphobia really means is “Deep suspicion of the number 13”. So today is Friday the 13th, the day before we take Child back to the Royal Military College of Canada. There’s the usual glut of internet-served articles about superstition, and Triskaidekaphobia, on Friday the 13th, is right at the top of the list. So all over my social feeds, there will be little Triskaidekaphebian encouragements to go out into the world, loved and supported.

To all the students getting ready to head off to university campuses for the first time in forever, enjoy the sparkle of life, friends.

To everyone heading into a new chapter of their lives, or wondering if they should head into a new chapter of their lives, or feeling overwhelmed by a decision to start a new chapter, you got this.

Triskaidekaphobia, y’all.

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