Life takes some funny twists and turns. At least mine did. In high school, I was completely focused on my future. I’d earn a track scholarship to the University of Michigan. While, there I planned to study hard. There were so many things I wanted to do- teach, be a judge, write bestselling novels. I didn’t know which one would be my career, but I knew I could do any of the three. My plan was to put off marriage, and I’d never had children, so I could focus on my career. At least I wasn’t being like some high school athletes, majoring in underwater basketball weaving while counting on my athletic ability to get me through the rest of my life.
Though I graduated with a liberal Arts degree, ten years after college I wasn’t really in any of those fields. No, instead I had done what I never thought I would. I got married and had three children. As if that wasn’t enough, my husband and I had adopted two others.
Oh, I love my husband and kids. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without any of them. Still, I wonder how different things would be if I had followed my high school dreams.
In the mail today was a letter, addressed to me. It didn’t say “Mommy.” It didn’t say “Mrs. Reed.” It had my name Elizabeth Anna Reed, printed in neat black letters. Typed on the envelope, in bright red letters, were the words, “You May Have Already Won.”
My heart skipped a beat. Really? I could have won? Could have won what? The possibilities were endless.
A million dollars would be nice. I could pay off my student loans (still paying for a degree I didn’t use annoyed both me and my husband). We could finally make updates to the house we had been dreaming about. Each of the kids could have a room alone, eliminating a lot of the daily fighting. My husband could have that brand new car he had always wanted. Oh, I could spend a relaxing day at the spa.
Maybe I had won a vacation. A week spent in Cancun or cruising the French Riviera. All that sun and the quiet. We could pack up the kids, send them to my parents of in-laws. Or we could divide them among our friends, if no one wanted to take all five at once. I’d come home with a tan and a smile. Best of all, my husband would stop nagging me about the amount of sex he was getting. Without fear of the kids interrupting a passionate moment, I’m sure we would be able to enjoy each other.
Of course, I would have won something much smaller. A new computer, perhaps, or a big screen TV. Maybe it would be new windows for the house of new carpeting.
A scream rang out; at the same time a foam dart sailed through the air and lodged in my hair. I looked around. The living room floor was littered with toys-building blocks, cars, Barbie’s. The dining room table was covered in crayons and papers, with left over Spaghetti-Os and spilled Kool-Aid mixed in. the kids themselves had tomato sauce in their hair and dirt smudged across their faces. It was a normal daily scene, something I’d like to call “summertime chaos”.
Glancing at the red lettered envelope, I sighed. No point in opening it. I hadn’t entered any contest, so the prize would be no good. With my luck, I’d won another child.
No, I’d be better off just leaving the envelope in the trash can.