The turning points in my life stand out when the other memories of that year—or decade--have melted away. Good or bad, each one had an impact on me.
I’m a nervous four-year-old walking into the kindergarten room on the first day. There’s a colorful playhouse and stacks of blocks. A girl in a blue dress invites me to play. Making friends is easy. Wow!
Skip to second grade, on the playground at lunchtime with my friend Shari. A friendly girl walks up. Ellen is a head taller than either of us, but she’s in kindergarten. A girl younger than me can be a lot bigger. Who knew?
School is fun, and I love to impress the teachers with how much I know. Back on the playground a boy tells me to spell “pig” backward and say “funny.” I’m quick to show how smart I am. He and his friends laugh. Shooting off my mouth before thinking can get me into trouble. (That one is still a work in progress.)
In sixth grade my friend Bill asks me to a school dance. We walk from my grandmother’s house to the school a few blocks away. I feel special having a boy ask me even though we’re just friends. I'm excited about so many more dances to come like homecomings and proms. Truth is, my next dance date isn’t until college. Life doesn’t turn out the way we expect.
|Me in sixth grade, ready for church.|
In April of my junior year our high school French club has a mixer with the club from another district. It’s a magical night with a halo around the moon, and I meet my first love. Despite living in different towns, we see each other whenever we can. My dating experience is zero, and being in love is scary and wonderful. But he seems to be crazy about me. He asks to escort me to our prom, and I get a new dress. All is well until he dumps me the week before the dance to go back to his old girlfriend. Many lessons to learn, all of them painful.
|With my brother Dan. After buying the dress, my parents made me go to the prom.|
Since high school there have been dozens of turning points in my life. Love and loss, success and disappointment, joy and sadness. I try to take something positive away from even the most painful lessons and to enjoy my successes. And I really, really try not to blurt out, “Gee, I pee funny,” just to show how smart I am.