Thursday, February 18, 2010
What Is instead of What If...
Part of what drives me to the point of no return is that I think that the birthday should be something other what they end up being. I don't really know why, but somewhere between our oldest's first and fourth birthday, I got overly concerned with the what-ifs that can come up around a birthday. And most of those what-if's have to do with money - if I had the money, I would buy this. If I had the money, I would buy that. And the what ifs extended to the house. If I had the money, I'd fix this. If I had the money, I'd replace that.
Inevitably, the what-ifs would do what they usually do and send the house into a pre-birthday frenzy and the birthday would arrive with tension, exhaustion and one of those nasty pendulum swings. Not really the way to spend a birthday, huh?
This morning, as I could feel the pre-birthday what-ifs creeping into my brain, I got ready to leave for the morning. The car needed gas, so I pulled into the nearest one, slid my card into the payment slot and pumped. I pushed the button to print a receipt and the screen told me to see the cashier. I went inside and a large, friendly man greeted me from behind the counter. I looked at his face and smiled.
A large hand extended out to me.
"Lisa, I thought that was you."
Vern was a student of mine from my days at Front Range Community College and one that I remembered with great fondness. An ex-firefighter, Vern was one of my older students and one of my brightest. He led the class with his articulation, writing skills and hard working ethic. He was seeking a new degree as a nurse's assistant, after not being able to keep up with the physical demands of fire work and his age, which when he was my student was already in his 50s. That was 8 years ago.
I asked him how he was and he shrugged his shoulders.
"All right, but going blind. Darned macular degeneration."
We exchanged a few more words and then I had to go onto my day. We shook hands again and I wished him well.
I got to the car and realized I hadn't gotten my receipt. But I'd received so much more. Instead, as I started back on to my day and the what-ifs were no longer in my brain. What was there was a strong sense of what is.
What is is the fact of two sleeping girls who have graced my life for 8 years. What is is my oldest daughter blossoming before my eyes. What is is the incredible support and love I've received while reading this series. What is is the feel of a firm handshake at 7:15 this morning.
The first birthday present for two eight year olds from their Mama? What is instead of what if.
Happy Birthday, my beloved girls. Happy What Is.