When I was 5 years old, I didn’t have many aspirations-aside from laying on my back on the living room floor, drinking a bottle of yoo-hoo chocolate milk, while watching the latest Woody Wood Pecker cartoon or Chilly Willy. Seriously, who didn’t love singing, “My name is Chilly Willy. I’m frozen through and through.”
Those. Were. The. Days!
When my biggest concern was missing the clown at the end of the year party in kindergarten, because I had caught the chicken pox from my sister. Mrs. Rodriguez had been talking about the party for weeks. It was a big deal! ::rolls eyes and grumbles:: I can’t believe I missed it.
Can you imagine the impact those last two weeks of school would have had on my life?
I had my first crush in 3rd grade. He was funny and cute… Dumb. As. Rocks, though. He brought his dad’s credit card to school one day. He was so cool! It said his name right there on the card.
He held it up to me gleaming. The plastic coating that made the card shiny, rather than just a dull matte blue, was slightly peeling off one corner. It was just a little bit, but naturally, I pulled on it and a huge piece flaked off. It’s like a scab, and who can resist picking a scab?!?
My eyes opened wide, as did his. His face turned a bright red, and his eyes welled up.
He ignored me for weeks! Okay, so it was just a few days, but it seemed like forever. Our desks were arranged in groups of six, and ours faced each other.
We didn’t have twitter or hashtags back then, but seriously #FirstWorldProblems.
One day, when we were on speaking terms again, he said, “Meet me at the big tree after school.”
Oh my God! He likes me! I thought giddily, but somehow contained my excitement and only let out a mild, “Sure.”
I hesitated on the sidewalk that day—to the left was the field with the big tree, to the right, the pick up line.
I was 8.
I pulled nervously on the black straps of my backpack and waited at the pickup line.
It was the last week of school; my last week at that school.
He didn’t say anything about it the next day.
I imagined that he had waited by the tree, and watched me drive off in my uncle’s red Buick Regal.
He was older, and a writer…
Stephen King. LOL! I bet you thought this post was taking a dark and twisted turn. But no, I simply fell in love with his writing and with reading in general.
I started writing poems here and there. At school we learned about Haikus. HaiWho? HaiWhat?
First they were senseless,
But with time I did catch on;
I wrote more and more.
My best friend and I would write short stories, mostly murder mysteries. We haven’t published any just yet, but any day now we’re gonna dig through those boxes of journals and notes and yearbooks, and I bet we have some real gems in there!
I also loved Archie’s Digest. My mom would always pick one up for me in the checkout line at Publix.
I always thought my best friend and I were Betty and Veronica. Her name was Veronica, but I wasn’t blonde. Well, neither of us were. Ah the point is they were best friends, and I identified us with them. Das it!
This is beginning to read more like one of my journals, and boy did I have tons of them!
Thirteen, and I’ve decided I’m gonna be a lawyer. It’s more like I was pushed into it by my father. I prepared many opening statements, and filed countless motions before him. Unfortunately, I never won any cases. He was the opposing counsel AND the judge, kinda one sided there don’t you think?
So, what do a budding teenager and her old fashioned father argue about you might ask.
For starters, anything that involves being out of the house with other people, aside from school or work, regardless of the time of day. It was harsher than it sounds.
Whether it was just hanging out at my best friend’s house, going to a movie, or roller skating at Hot Wheels, the answer was an affirmative “No!”, and only sometimes a tortured “Yes”, thanks to my mom’s nagging. Oh, and God forbid I mention the beach, or come home from the “mall” with a tan.
I just wanted to hang out with my best friend, listen to Aerosmith, and talk nonsense (but very important, best friend nonsense) over a slice of Papa John’s and some Chips Ahoy cookies.
Imagine if we had done everything we had planned back then?
We might be running a clothing store called ClothesStop. Or was it ClothesTime? It definitely would’ve been a chain of stores by now. #Forever13
Life has gotten so much easier! #SaidNoTeenagerEVER
You turn 15 and your dad turns into an even bigger drag!
My inseparable best-friend and I are now separated by way of about 26 blocks between our high schools. Not very far on a map, or driving time, but apart nonetheless….creating a gap that opened ever so slightly each day, like bolts you turn to stretch a bone. A little pain each day, until suddenly you are taller, or in this case more distant.
I met a boy. Well, if you ask my father, he was a man.
He did have a lot of facial hair, and chest hair, and arm hair, and leg hair.
OKAY, he was all hair, and hair meant he was not a boy.
Beware the hair, mommas and poppas!
OF COURSE, I thought he was “the one”.
Father hates him? CHECK!
That wasn’t really why I thought he was the one. I was young, but I was in love.
And contrary to all of my fathers…”instructions” let’s call them, I was certain that he was right for me.
I was only 15, but I was right.
I hit the big 2-1! I could now drink “legally”! Woohoo!
My high school sweetheart proposed on my 21st birthday, April Fool’s Day. Thankfully, it was not a prank!
But I wasn’t shocked. I did not break down in tears. Somewhere, there is footage on an old video camera that captured the moment. WHERE IS IT? I don’t know, but the important thing is: I. did. not. cry.
Am I heartless or cold-hearted? Some might say yes.
But I wasn’t. I didn’t cry because I wasn’t shocked. I loved him, and I knew he loved me. I wanted to get married eventually, but we had what mattered the most already- love and each other. So I said yes, slipped the ring on my finger, and we went upon our merry way.
We are now 10 years into the marriage and ready for Divorce…
HAHA! Just kidding. We’ve got 4 amazing kids, and I couldn’t be happier. I do cry a lot more these days, though. Once you have kids your hormones and emotions just spiral out of control. Okay, that could just be me… Moms?
My best friend is still that.
Our friendship was like a butterfly that reincarnated back to a larvae, and metamorphosed again after college. (I totally had to look up that word… Metamorphosed, doesn’t really roll off the tongue.) We both got pregnant with our first child around the same time, and now our little caterpillars are going to grow up together. #Cliches #Metaphors
Life can be exciting, but unpredictable.
My life is not perfect. It’s great; not perfect. But I am happy, nevertheless.
Do I ever question life, the whos, whys and whens? Yes, I’m only human, of course I do.
But I never regret, and I never wish to go back or relive.
You have to live your life forgetting about the “What ifs?” and instead saying, “What NOW?”
And that DOES NOT mean act like an idiot; live today, who can speak for tomorrow.
For me It means live for today, because yesterday is gone; what have I learned from my choices and experiences, and what can I do with them now for a better tomorrow.
And while there are things that I wish had not happened in my life, or perhaps, that had just happened differently, I am certainly glad I never went to the big tree that day.