Friday, February 5, 2010

What I've Done

I read an awesome book recently, by contemporary author Sherman Alexie. He's one of the writers I came across during four years of cramming approximately 9,021 books into my cranium and churning out drivel brilliant papers by the truckload. Anyway, in the book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the main character, Junior, discusses things that give him joy. It's a very bittersweet book, and Junior's positive outlook made me feel a bit like a whiny pain in the ass for not being more appreciative. So I thought, you know, despite cleaning up poo frequently, I *have* done some pretty cool things, seen some things, and lived a good life. Why don't I make a list? A joyful list? Or even just an appreciation list? And share it with you delightful people? Well that's a given!

Awesome Things I Have Done (in only a mild particular order):

* Become a mother. Definitely top of the list. It may be cliche (bite me) but that doesn't make it untrue. I was never one of those girls who dreamed of having babies and teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony. I assumed I'd have kids, but that was the distant rose-colored future... Then? The Man and I had two of the most amazing kids in the history of the world. Sure. I'm biased. Sue me. Every day, they remind me of something I would never have thought of, said or done - just because I'm their mom and I have the joy of helping them grow in the world.

* Become a wife and step-mom. If you were there in 2003, you might have been one of the people saying "what the...?" I met The Man in September, got engaged in October and married the following May. I was a 24 year old stepmom to a 13 year old. A lot of people in my life (and his) wondered how that would work. Well. I'm not going to sing Shania Twain or anything, but it's seven years later, and I'm pretty proud of how that 13 year old has turned out, and I'll be happy to celebrate number 7 this May. No one has eaten any tainted jell-o yet. That counts as good in my book!

* Survived a car crash that lead to a fatal shooting. When I was pregnant with my first kiddo, a car slammed into us at a stoplight - then ran. We were able to follow him and (miraculously) passed a police car (as I was on the phone with 911). The truck that hit us pulled into a parking lot, the cop pulled in, and we followed. Then the driver jumped out with a rifle. I'm not making this up. My evening suddenly turned into a really *really* scary episode of COPS. I thank God that The Man had a working brain because I didn't. He hit the gas so we weren't in any line of fire and I called 911 again. (PS If you tell 911 that someone is holding a gun on an officer, a LOT of people respond.) To this day we're not sure exactly what happened but the officers told us the man shot himself. (I have my doubts but I don't care much either - the police did an amazing job that night.) The kicker? The next day, after all the police interviews, insurance statements, etc., the man's WIFE called our house and thanked my husband. She told us they had recently separated, he'd lost his job, and was on his way to her house with the bullet meant for HER. She said we'd saved her life. It still gives me a chills.

* Gone swimming in a rain forest in Puerto Rico. If I had a scanner (!!!) I could regale you with pictures from this event. I don't have a scanner though, but if you're lucky little monkeys, I might get around to picking up the cd I had made at WalGreens. I'm doing a whole bunch of Puerto Rico pictures (yeah yeah, 7 years later!) for our basement. Seriously though, that place was so beautiful that anything I say to describe it will end up trite and lacking and utterly like a knock-off Hallmark card. Dammit, I won't disgrace my poetry professors. It was so beautiful as to be unbelievable. The waterfall and the birds and the was as close to paradise as I've ever been. I didn't even see any bugs! I know!

* Learned to ride a motorcycle. Okay, if you've actually SEEN me try to do this, you'll know that I only learned to ride in the very technical sense and I'm not actually terribly CAPABLE of doing it. However. Ahem. I took a class and I passed it and THUS I learned. I know the gearing. I know throttle from brake. I know that I'm not very good at putting them all together and making a bike actually GO. It was something I always wanted to do and after I met The Man, he took a class with me (note: this was also after he let me try on his bike and I, uh, cranked the throttle and crashed over a curb. Yeah.). Let me take this moment to say that The Man is a total (and I'm not even lyin') badass on his bike. I will now post a picture of The Man crossing the line during his track day (when you take your bike on an actual race track.)...

I will now post a picture of me, doing what I do best! (Standing next to the bike instead of trying to control it in any way.)

* Graduated from college. (I didn't say they were totally in order of importance right?) See, I always HAD to go to school. It was just what my family DOES. I am the third generation grad from my college. That's right, third. My mom's dad graduated magna cum laude from a different school, and my dad's dad was a Rhodes' scholar who got his Master's from my school. My grandmothers went to different schools, but they went. My mom got her BS there and Dad got his Master's. I just HAD to go. It wasn't even their expectations, but my own. I was good at school, so what else would I do? The thing was, for the first two YEARS, I HATED school. I was stuck in required classes that irritated me to the point that I tried to avoid...going. Finally, mid-junior year and after deciding to minor in Criminal Justice, I thought - hey, this is getting better and I should actually get a goal here. So I did. Law School! Yeahhhh. As you may have figured out, I am not a practicing attorney! I'm also not a non-practicing attorney! I got so burned out after taking a bazillion 400 level lit classes and loading myself up with 20 credit hour sememsters that when I was done, I was literally D O N E. I got my degree. I finished what I started. I know a LOT of useless literary (as well as criminal) trivia. Did you know that Alexander Pope was a hunchback Catholic who was almost excommunicated? Did you know that there is a chemical that actually CAN destroy all blood evidence? Someday, well, we'll see what that paper on the wall does for me.

Since I'm running out of time (and coffee) I'm going to conclude this list of Awesome Things I Have Done....and I think I'll make this a two-parter, where I write next week about Things for which I am Grateful. Because when you think about it, no life is really that mundane and we all have things we've seen or done or lived and things that make our lives worth living.

Comments, questions, what floats your boats?