Thursday, January 19, 2012

Serendipity: Part I


1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck

My parents plan on moving soon and they are in the process of purging the things they don't need.  My mother announced to me that she would be bringing some stuff of mine that had been living in their attic for the past two decades.

They pulled into my driveway with several large boxes in the truck.  I sighed.  What was I going to do with all this stuff?  The boxes all contained my childhood momentos.  There were boxes of my books and toys.  There were a few of my favorite pieces of clothing.  My Girl Scout sash and handbook.  Trinkets and tchotchkes I had collected through the years and had once proudly displayed in my room.

One box was filled entirely with papers..  There were drawings scrawled in crayon from preschool. I found a stack of spelling tests and math worksheets and geography maps from grammar school  that had been printed on the school mimeograph machine and had left the paper covered with purple splotches. There were book reports and essays and report cards.  My mother had saved it all.

I sat alone on the floor of my basement for hours going through those papers.  There were a few I remembered, but most of them I had long since forgotten.

I came across an essay I had written when I was nine and in the fourth grade, the same age and grade Miss J is now.   The paper was yellowed and the ink faded.   It was an essay on what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I read the essay several times.  I read the words I wrote to myself over thirty years before.  An essay, written by a nine year old girl, folded tightly and long forgotten.  

I have to say, Nine Year Old Me was a smart girl.  She knew exactly what she wanted.  Nine Year Old Me had a plan.

Nine Year Old Me wrote that if she were single, she would become a doctor.  (And even went on to write that women have the same rights as men so yes, a female doctor was entirely possible.)  She also wrote that if she were married with children, she would work part time.  She would work in child care and she would be a writer.

Nine Year Old Me pretty much nailed it.

Becoming a doctor was a dream I held on to for a long while. I bought my first copy of Gray's Anatomy when I was eleven and loved checking medical encyclopedias out of the library.  I couldn't wait to dissect the frog in high school biology.  When it came time to think about college, I was unsure medicine was the path for me.  I ended up majoring in Health Education.  I did not become a doctor, but earned a degree that would put me in the health care industry.

After college I worked for several years for YMCAs in Program Development and as a Youth Program Director.  I was able to work with children and utilize my Health Education degree. After M was born, I left work.  I recently took on a part time job in a Montessori School.

The only thing I have not done that Nine Year Old Me said I would, was become a  writer.

I rediscovered that essay several months ago.  I keep it in my purse and still read it frequently.  It nagged at me that I had not written anything.  I'd always wanted to.  It had always interested me.  I just never did it.  I felt I owed it to Nine Year Old Me to meet that final goal. I didn't want to let her down.

I had no idea what I would write.   What would I say?  Would anyone want to read what I wrote?  What if I was a terrible writer and everyone hated what I wrote?  Worse, what if no one read what I wrote?

And when I asked myself this, my fearless Miss J came to mind.  My girl who will try anything without fear of failure. A line from an Allison Krauss song came to mind as well:  

"The next best thing to playing and winning is playing and losing."

I decided that I would write.  I would write for myself and for Nine Year Old Me.  I would write because it was something I had once enjoyed doing.  I made a promise to myself.

In the weeks that I was mulling over exactly what to write, I found myself playing the waiting game for M's latest round of genetic testing.  I had a full eight weeks to wait until the results were processed and I needed to do something, anything, to get the weight of the wait  off my mind.  I knew then that I would write about my life with M and Miss J.

And that is how this blog came to be. Inspired by a little girl's childhood essay. Born in the midst of waiting. 

Tomorrow: Serendipity Part II

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