- Elementary school - poem published in the school newspaper.
- Honored by the Masonic Temple as tops in my class during 6th grade grad ceremony.
- Junior High - met Coach Carter and started to write for real.
- Went to NYC in junior year, attended the Columbia University Journalism Convention at Coach Carter's insistence.
- High School - Editor of the Jet Express.
- Recruited Robin Thomas to write reviews on movies, music and anything else that was on her mind. For those of you who know her, just imagine her very first blog.
- Won First Place, Oklahoma Interscholastic Press Association Award for Editorial writing.
- Freshman year at junior college - first essay written was singled out by professor, resulting in scholarship nomination and award of $125.00 US dollars toward my education.
- Subsequently recruited by the junior college newspaper for a staff writing position. Covered many hot topics including the need for more student parking on campus.
Had a child, got a real job, became an accountant, got married and divorced and married and divorced again. Had three more kids along the way. See prior blog posts if you must.
Last night while enjoying a moment with my children, watching one of their Nickelodeon TV shows, I was blindsided by the choices I've made in my life, or to be more specific, the life I thought I would have as a writer.
So innocent was the thought behind the words, so pure was the message, I laughed, hugged, applauded, then explained to my nearly nine year old daughter how the words she had so quietly and irreverently spoken were equally inspirational and brilliant. These words came from the daughter who does not put herself out there very often. She saves her moments, she processes and intellectualizes while her sister is charging the windmills of her Don Quixote inspired spirit. This introspective, happy-go-lucky, beautiful child asked me if I had ever wanted to be famous.
Sure, I said. I always imagined myself being a famous writer some day.
And with that, came the six words that pierced the veil of my very existence, "when did you change your mind"?
I should have known this would come from her. I have not dared write or speak of this as I wasn't sure if reality was in charge that night or I was under the delusion of some postpartum induced fantasy. And if it was real, how could I possibly find the words to describe how this gentle daughter of mine allowed me to see the universe on the night she was born.
I suppose it was fortunate I was in extreme pain, which left me no choice but to be wide awake when it happened. Holding her, propped up on my knees, staring at her as she stirred and then in the blink of an eye, or maybe it was five minutes, or perhaps an hour, I saw into her past and I knew from where she had come. Many lifetimes, so much wisdom, it felt like staring into an infinite mirror where the reflection was beyond my mortal understanding and yet it was recognizable even into infinity. It was me. She was me, she was my choice and she was a wise old soul here for some serious business.
So many times I have questioned this moment as I observe her in her daily comings and goings. Can it be true? Surely it is the wild one who was sent to teach me, not her, not the one who rarely ever expresses but almost always compromises to the whims of her identical twin.
I almost missed her message. After she said it, I remember thinking about it for just a moment before I realized the gravity of it. What made you change your mind?
And just as she had done on the night she was born, she had once again allowed me to see a glimpse of my own truth 1) either wake the fuck up and believe what you know or 2) go back to sleep and pretend none of this ever happened. I get the mediocrity of my bullet points above. I realize I was not changing the world or even working hard at this craft. Yet, the messages were finding their way to me, in spite of my denial and in lieu of my refrain.
I haven't changed my mind baby girl, but I have been acting like I have. Thank you gracious, tenacious.
Thank God for you, quiet messenger of the universe that you are. May I always be open to the gifts you bring.