Friday, October 24, 2008

Ramblings I've had

What are you going to be when you grow up?

Since we were old enough to talk, people ask us this question. The answer varies wildly with every kid, every year, sometimes every day. Politician, doctor, movie star, cheerleader, fireman, the list could go on and on. I’m sure all of us remember when we were asked that question we responded with an affirmative answer, and don’t try to persuade us any differently.

When does that go astray? Is it in high school when you start to realize what work it takes to be a doctor? What you have to give up to be a politician or the lack of privacy of a movie star? I think it’s when you have face that hated word REALITY. Reality is when you have books to pay for, your car payments due, and the water heater just broke, and you have a job that pays you $5.15 an hour?!?! Or it may sink when a little more when after you’re in that wedded bliss stage, all of a sudden two pink lines show up and you realize you have to provide for more than yourself and your spouse.

Or is it when you’re sitting in your home, worried about a friend that just has to pull through, and you get the call saying that they won’t make it through the night. After all the prayers, the tears, the hugs, the kind words, no one prepares you for that moment of losing someone so young that you grew up with. The one person who you laughed with, cried with, talked with till 3 am, tried on make-up, or tried to get her too. The memories you have of the days and the nights you spent together, the birthday parties, the movies, the road trips, and all of that comes crashing down on you like a wave and you’re struggling for air. When that year anniversary comes around and you think, I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve hugged that person, talked to them, or cried with them. What would have their life been like? Would they have had children? Would they have finished their career plans and been one of those lucky few who actually do be EXACTLY what they dreamed of when they were younger. Then more years pile onto that and you can’t believe that the world spins and it comes around again.

Then your world shifts over the death of a parent. The one person that you thought would be there forever suddenly isn’t there anymore. You cry, you scream, you may even yell at God, but He knows you’re hurting and don’t mean it at the time. Each day you go on, and you realize hearts do start to mend, they start to wrap around the hurt and although that pain NEVER goes away, it ebbs a little. You go on and grow up. And you find yourself wishing your children could know their grandmother or grandfather. You cry knowing that they won’t, and you take comfort in the thought that a special guardian angel is watching over them. Especially when you look at them, and every now and then you see a glimmer of your parent in your children.

You grow apart from high school friends, but a true friend comes back around. You can be apart six minutes or sixteen years, it doesn’t matter. When you see that friend again, it’s like you never left. You pick up where you left off. You will talk about your jobs and your kids, not who’s dating who or the latest gossip around school, but these are the friends you carry with you, and never seem to leave. And you are thankful for that.

You find someone that you fall in love with and you marry. You find a piece of yourself in that person and that person can take you very high, or sweep you into pits like you never knew. That person should know you inside and out, but still find things out about you after 20, 40, or even 50 years. I dream of having a marriage like you see every now and then, the one with the old people walking around holding hands, whispering and laughing with each other, teasing each other with love after all these years. And you pray that you are going to be them in the future.

We set out to be a certain profession, people gear us toward that from the time we are young. But I think we should ask our kids, “What will you do to make you happy?” I wanted to be a writer, and sometimes my thoughts actually come together, but most times they do not. I have two beautiful, loving children, and a husband that I thank God for when I’m not wondering how he can be such a man sometimes. I never saw myself going into the career I’m in now, but I’m happy where I am. I never dreamed when I was younger of the life I would have now. I can say that sometimes the best thing is that you shouldn’t have a future set in stone. It should be a river, winding, turning, carving out a way, going around other obstacles. Life isn’t a plan; it’s a journey that we all take. We cry, we laugh, we have great moments and desperate ones. I’m grateful for mine. Are you?