Dreams really do come true. Keep dreaming!
Our lives are made up of moments – millions and billions and trillions of moments that over time become a lifetime. Some are captured in photographs. Some are forgotten as our mind makes room for new ones to weave into the fabric of our lives. And then there are some that linger long after the moment has passed. Occasionally they nudge us back (somewhat randomly) to be remembered…
There was a sweet woman who worked at the Merrill Shopper, a newspaper where my dad had a part time job selling ads. Sometimes my dad would take me along when he went to their offices. The woman whose name I sadly do not remember, would hang up all the drawings I made for her on a metal filing cabinet at her desk and give me Oreo cookies from a package she always seemed to have stashed in one of her desk drawers. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, her appreciation of my artistic talent or the extra special treat of store bought cookies.
My first kiss happened when I was in first grade and I was not a full participant. I was outside for recess, holding and working one of the ends of a long jump rope that could easily accommodate one jumper or several at a time, when little Billy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and immediately ran away. The other first grade girls gasped and oohed and giggled. I don’t remember all the details that followed, but it’s fairly easy to guess that the whole bunch of first grade girls (me included) could not wait to go inside and tell our teacher, Sister Marie Antoine, what had happened. Poor Billy didn’t stand a chance.
Where I was when I heard the news that President Kennedy had died…sitting at my desk in my first grade classroom. I wasn’t much older than Caroline Kennedy and I remember feeling very sad for her that she had lost her dad.
When I was little and a family friend nicknamed me Freckles. He said I had the “perfect” sprinkling of freckles, and to this day no one else has ever called me that name.
When Pope John Paul II came to Chicago in 1979 and said Mass at Grant Park, I was there. I will never forget the moment I saw a bright glowing light or aura that totally surrounded his body and every movement.
When I was in my early 20’s and owned my first car – a 1966 Chevy Impala… I somehow hadn’t fully realized the importance of checking or putting oil in a car. But, I will never forget the unbelievably loud and horrific sounds an engine makes when it has run out of oil and grinds, and bangs, and booms to a screeching halt. Something it did along the side of the road early one morning while on my way to my job working at a mobile home factory. It was a lesson-learned moment.
An early morning phone call, and hearing my dad answer it and respond to the news that my mom had died.
All the other phone calls that followed with the news of other loved ones who had died.
I was at work when I heard the news of the Columbia Shuttle crash and also on the morning of September 11, 2001. Two days I will never forget.
A chance bus stop conversation with a male student from the University of Minnesota in Downtown Minneapolis that continued on the bus ride home and then again over lunch the following week. I’ve often wondered how his life turned out.
When I fell in love. When I became engaged. When I married. When I divorced. And all the moments in between.
A thumbs up from a guy in the car next to me, while at a stop light in Arlington Heights, IL. I had just applied lipstick in the mirror and when I glanced over at him, he gave me a thumbs up. It made my day. It still does when I think of it.
On my first paid vacation from a job, I visited Disneyland and Hollywood with my cousin. We were both 21 and Elvis had just died. We planned to rent a car when we got there, but we didn’t meet the age requirement. We excitedly ate lunch at The Brown Derby Restaurant and learned it was one of MANY Brown Derbies and our location was not the famous one. We took a tour of Universal Studios hoping to see movie stars and ending up only seeing the talking bird from the television show, Beretta. We asked why none of the stars were working. The answer – it was Labor Day. After that trip, I became a better travel planner.
Visiting Washington, DC with my daughter, where we walked (many miles) and toured a record number of historic monuments, museums and places, including the White House. Every moment in that city was memorable and inspiring and mind blowing.
Visiting Ireland and experiencing my mother’s homeland, meeting cousins for the first time at the age of 42, and traveling to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. So many beautiful people and brilliant moments that it’s impossible to list them all.
Sitting on a bench with my daughter alongside the Eiffel Tower in Paris, waiting for and then watching completely mesmerized as the twinkling lights came on. It was a magical moment.
A whirlwind first visit to London with my daughter and seeing Princess Diana’s dress exhibit at Kensington Palace and later sitting in the same section Diana frequented when she had attended The Phantom of the Opera. They were pinch-me moments.
While working as a waitress at The Village Inn Pancake House (during high school), I accidentally spilled coffee on a family sitting in a booth. While I was horrified and so very apologetic, they all burst out laughing. Then the dad explained. After far too many dinners of spilled milk at the table, he had taken the family out to eat to show them how civilized people ate their meals. They continued to laugh each time I returned to their table. They left me a tip of $20.
Another waitressing moment while working at a coffee shop in Abbotsford and seeing my mother’s sister, Sally and her husband Arthur for the first time. It had been more than 6 years since my mother had died and when I heard my aunt’s voice, it was like hearing my mom again. It was a tear-filled moment.
While working at Old World Wisconsin as an interpreter guide, I was given the unofficial blooper award for my many slip ups with words – like when I invited a group of Lutheran ministers and their wives to come inside the Finnish farm house and see my womb (I meant loom). The look of shock and surprise made me immediately do a mental playback of my words and I quickly corrected my faux paux. On a different occasion, I referred to a horse barn as the whore house. There were more, definitely more words I mispronounced or tripped over, but that’s all I can remember…for now.
The time I woke up from a dead sleep with the phone in my hand and heard my sister talking. I asked her if I had called her and of course I hadn’t. We both laugh about it to this day.
And another time I woke up from a dead sleep and asked the unknown male caller to please repeat what he had just said. I instantly woke up when I realized his original words had been quite graphic and crude. He grunted in total disgust at my request and hung up. It was a ridiculous moment.
When asked by Tony, a security guard at work who remembered my daughter, “How’s your Legacy?” I replied that I didn’t have a Legacy, I had a Ford Focus. It was a somewhat confused moment.
When I told my aunt the only way I could get more of the best smoked salmon either of us had ever tasted and that had been gifted to me (several times) from the guy who caught and smoked it himself, was to sleep with him. Without missing a beat my quick-witted aunt said, “Susie…it is awful good salmon. Maybe you should loosen up a bit.”
While many moments belong in the everyday routine of our lives category, I truly am blessed to have far more sweet and hilarious and delicious and life-changing moments than I can count.
Like the moment I realized I was going to be a mom and the first time my daughter was placed into my waiting arms. That’s when my life took on a whole new dimension and meaning. And then every single mama moment since then, when her firsts became firsts for me too.
Moments fill our days and our years and our lives. Some we choose and actively participate in, and some we don’t. But no matter the moment, we all have them. And for as long as we live, we’ll keep having them. Here’s to a lifetime (for you and me) of many more moments worth savoring and sharing and feeling blessed.