Excuse me while I blatantly borrow the title of my favorite Stephen King novel...
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mom. It might have been as complicated as I lacked a "traditional" childhood and wanted to create something I only saw from a far. It might have been as simple as I liked to push my yellow-haired Cabbage Patch doll around in a miniature stroller and change her in and out of tiny little clothes. I really don't know.
As I grew, I wanted to be a teacher. I loved playing school, lining up my dolls in front of a small chalkboard. I loved writing things, and trying to have "teacher handwriting." In middle school I joined the Future Educators of America and my Algebra teacher spent a few hours a week with us teacher-wannabes sharing what she loved best about being a teacher- and then handing us stacks of tests to grade. A class pet's heaven.
I wasn't sure how it was going to come into play, but I've always loved money. Not necessarily having it (although that would be nice) but all the things you do with it. Counting it, organizing it, applying it to a budget. I know, I was weird.
Anyone I went to high school with will tell you I was obsessed with finding my Happily Ever After. I didn't really date. I had relationships. Long term, very serious, we would have been a #partyoftwo if hashtags had been a thing relationships. Every time I think about that possibility, I thank the lord above us that social media had not yet been invented. Picture a blue-eyed girl walking down the hall, books in hand and long dark hair gently swaying. Now add some pink cartoon hearts above her head and play distant wedding music in the background...that was me.
There was one common denominator- a core theme flowing through an otherwise unrelated series of fortunate events. My life, and all of the moments I've collected, are represented by words. For some, their hearts can be found in photographs. For others, memories flow only with music. A painter's heart is his canvas, the colors his emotions. For me, it's words.
No matter what I am doing, no matter what dream I am chasing- I have this overwhelming desire to put it in word form. Maybe in a book. Maybe in a blog. Maybe in a post on social media. Maybe in a magazine. I write to understand my life. The words I chose are the breadcrumbs I leave so I never get lost, and if so desired, you can follow me.
The last couple of years has brought more change than I ever imagined. Just as I thought I had stepped into a chapter of life where I could spend some time exploring my words creatively, my story had other plans. My little children with their little problems and little social lives became big children with their big problems and their big social lives. Those baby years where the days seemed to have 564 hours in them have left us. I thought these older years would be spent indulging in the discovery of me without them. What I've discovered is that 564 hours in a day isn't enough. These last days where I have everyone under one roof- I want to soak up every single minute.
I want to make up for the time I've lost. Every time I turn around, it's something new. A twinge in my back turned out to be disc degenerative disease. A pain in my side turned out to be a large benign tumor. That benign tumor opened the door for the discovery that a medication I was on to treat debilitating, earth-shattering migraines had done some real damage to a few of my internal organs. In these brief pockets of being a completely healthy human being- I want enjoy the life I've been given.
I want to love the man my husband has become. We were so very young when we started out. Remember I mentioned how I always had my eye on Happily Ever After? I've had the pleasure of seeing him out of our teens and through our twenties. The roots sank into the soil, and our life together bloomed gloriously during our thirties. And here we are, the exact people we dreamed of, hoped for, worked toward- with a life blessed beyond measure. But quite often he's on the other side of the world, and I am on the other side of a seemingly endless to do list. Somewhere along the line we became grownups going in two very different directions with the occasional meet-cute in our kitchen. I want to stop the busy globe from spinning and say to him, this right here, right now. THIS is what we worked so hard for, let's enjoy it for a second.
And then 2020 roared in. My oldest child joked that we would face some sort of world wide pandemic or crisis because we did in 1820, and 1920. I actually have him to thank because when the first case of Covid-19 was publicized on the other side of the world I started buying a few extra things just in case history was repeating itself. Remember, truth is stranger than fiction. On Friday the 13th of all days- the busy globe did in fact, stop spinning.
In these last two and a half months I've had endless days with my family. The planner I keep on my desk is still opened to March. The google calendar we all share buzzes hourly, and we are aware of all the responsibilities that are no longer the most important thing in the world. I'm as involved in school work as I was in the days when I was the class mom. I am once again making 17 meals a day that only a mother of boys would understand, and curling up on the couch for a family TV show or movie. I'm spending hours, ever day, walking with my husband with no destination in mind- talking about everything and nothing. The house we worked so hard to buy is finally getting a little love. We've planted actual roots in the actual soil. And at the brilliant request of my parents early on, my siblings and I have kept a tight quaranteam so the collective grand babies don't miss out on their Sunday Fun days at the grandparents.
I am, all of the sudden, acutely aware of the life I was too busy to enjoy.
And while I look forward to the world getting back to normal, I am not too sure I want to be included in that. I want to stay right where I am, for as long as I can.
I will write, when the mood strikes. I will cook, when the mood strikes. I will explore when the mood strikes. Whatever the here and now is, that's where I am going to be. And I will leave my words, in some sort of breadcrumb form, so I don't get lost, and in the hope if you so desire- you will follow me.