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"When I Get Where I’m Goin’"

With my 21st birthday creeping up on me slowly but surely, I feel like Atlas. With graduation only 46 credits away, I feel like all the air is being sucked from the room. At the risk of sounding like a whiny college student, the future scares the living daylights out of me.

The weird part is that it’s not the job market that scares me. I know teachers are needed everywhere and with Teach For America, I shouldn’t have too much difficulty making it in the door.

It’s not the election. No matter who wins, although I’ve made it fairly obvious who I voted for, the world will go on either way. Is there very high potential for rough times? Yes but America’s a tough old broad and she won’t give up without fighting with all the grit she has.

It’s not the idea of being independent from my parents that scares me. Emotionally, I’ve been independent since I was in my early teens. Financially, I have been since about July. So that isn’t it either.

In my heart of hearts, the one I hide behind smiles and a seemingly easy-going nature, I know what the problem is. I just hate admitting to it.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted a family of my own. Despite everything I’ve seen and gone through, I still want to believe in happily ever after. No matter how much my mind tries to pull life support on that hope, it has yet to die. I’m realizing now that it likely never will.

I was dancing with Daybreak while she stood on my toes when she looks up at me and asks, “when are you and Mommy going to give me a little sister?” I very nearly tripped but caught myself at the last moment. A sister? While I managed to say “I didn’t know if that would happen” and act OK on the outside, on the inside was another matter entirely.

While Eva was helping Daybreak change into the new outfits she received for her birthday, Eva’s mom pulled me off to the side and asked what my plans were regarding Eva. I had an idea as to where she was going with this but decided to be diplomatic and said I didn’t want to move too fast.

She looked at me for a moment before telling me, in an almost chiding tone, not to let fear rule me. Before I could even ask what she was talking about, she told me to think about it then strode off to talk with Eva’s older sisters who were sipping wine coolers.

When I was changing into my clown costume later that day, I found a single index card in my pocket. In Eva’s mother’s handwriting, it said:

“Do not be afraid to live, to laugh and to love. My daughter and my granddaughter both trust you so trust in yourself to have the strength to follow your heart. It won’t lead you astray.

Know that if and when the time comes, you have my blessing.”

Earlier this morning, Eva was curled up against my side while Daybreak was using my chest as a pillow. And looking at them, I realize I do treat them like family. I felt Eva move closer and smiled.

Do I know where I’ll be in the unknown future?

No.

And thinking back to the morning, of watching two of the most important people in my life sleeping…the unknown doesn’t seem so ominous anymore.

Quite honestly, I’m…dare I say it…looking forward to what tomorrow brings.

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  1. Diane
    October 27, 2008 at 1:59 PM

    I hardly remember 21 and I’m sure I wasn’t thinking the way you are, but then you are an Odd Duck ;)… and I’m sure my heart wasn’t as big as yours either.

    I like to refer to my family as ‘chance and chosen’… the one I was born into (and had no say about) and the one I chose to make mine. My guess is that Eva and Daybreak are SO lucky you chose them to be your family (and it would seem they, and the other people who love them, realize it). And I am ever so glad that I happened, by chance, upon your blog… and you!

  2. amindinmotown
    October 27, 2008 at 9:15 PM

    I cannot believe someone younger than me is thinking about having a family when the very thought scares me to pieces!

    Haha, but those are two lucky girls to have you, and it’s awesome to hear you have that blessing already. =)

  3. The Odd Duck
    October 27, 2008 at 9:32 PM

    Diane – As a kid, I decided since my blood family didn’t seem to care too much I would build one of my own. It’s huge now. The fact that other people think so freaks the heck out of me.

    Mindy – If I were to be honest, I’ve wanted a family since before I hit puberty. Don’t think the thought doesn’t still scare me to pieces.

  4. j
    October 27, 2008 at 10:07 PM

    Wow, I can’t believe you are not even 21 yet…you sound so wise beyond your years!

    I love this post, everything you write is so beautiful!

  5. The Odd Duck
    October 27, 2008 at 11:10 PM

    J – I get that a lot. Even in “the real world”. It’s probably because I was kind of forced to grow up quickly.

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