Wednesday, May 7, 2008
WIP: My Life or Walking In Someone Elses Shoes
While I was away, my dear friend Lisa wrote this article for her newsletter. It was all about how she was dreading an upcoming business trip, but she decided to change her view and look at it as an opportunity to learn and help others. The article felt important to me. I read it a few times and kind of filed it away, knowing that I would return to it later.
While in Florida I was able to spend a lot of time talking with my mother about our current situation and some of the decisions we need to make this summer. I have many supportive friends, but being able to connect with my mom was so important to me. We had a long heart to heart and a good cry right before I went to the airport and it was really hard to leave. I so wish we lived closer.
In line for the flight there were an assortment of rowdy good ole' boys, a very large man, and a man who was sweating profusely. I said a small prayer. "Oh Lord, please, please, I don't want to sit next to them on this flight."
I was super tired when I sat down for the first of two flights. I had a total a seven hours of travel ahead of me. Thankfully, I got about a half hour of sleep before the turbulence started.
I woke with a startle and happened to look at the girl who was sitting next to me. She was maybe twenty and asked me what time it was.
Me- I'm sorry I am not wearing a watch. I'm not really sure how long this flight is either.
Girl- I'm pregnant.
My thoughts- Oh Lord, you are kidding right? This is not happening to me right now!
My words- Congratulations!
Girl- Well, I don't know. I just lost my job and now I can't believe I am pregnant.
My thoughts- Really, is this some sort of joke?
My words- I am sorry to hear that.
Girl- Yeah, I left my husband to be a nanny and now that I am pregnant I can't work. I just can't believe this happened. I took two pregnancy tests and they were both positive. Do you think something I ate could have affected them?
My thoughts- Lord, you are funny! No, she's not the sweaty man! You answered my prayer! Thanks!
My words- No, I think they are pretty accurate these days.
Girl- Do you have children?
My words- No.
I hid my wedding ring under my sweater. I was not going to share my story here.
I flipped through my magazine absent mindedly, not really wanting to be an active listener to this conversation.
My words- Hmmm, I'm sorry.
Girl- I can't believe my luck. I have been trying to get out of my small town in Texas forever. I joined the army, but I have scoliosis. So, they kicked me out. I thought this job in Atalanta was going to be perfect, but now just my luck I am pregnant. I just wanted to save money to finish college and become a teacher. I guess it's good. God doesn't give you more than you can handle right?
My thoughts- OK, so this is a test. This is a test! God, I will play along here and I AM GOING TO PASS THIS TEST! I thought of Lisa's article and became present. I put away my magazine.
Me- Too bad you couldn't have worked for a while at least.
Girl- Well, they fired me as soon as they found out because they felt the work wouldn't be good for me and I couldn't change the kitty litter. It was such a good job. $300 a week. They had everything, a built in microwave, a pool. Now I have to go home without a job.
Me- Maybe you can work at a daycare and take your baby to work with you?
Girl- Daycare doesn't pay that much, besides my family lives in town so I will have built in daycare.
I told her that I was a teacher and gave her some suggestions about various grants for education and various internships. I told her about Head Start teacher training programs. I told her that while it isn't easy to get a teaching credential it is a good life, especially for moms. I told her she could do it step by step over time. She seemed to appreciate the knowledge.
Girl- I gave up my job at the 7-Eleven for this nanny job and now I have no job and a baby on the way. If something happens to this baby I won't have a job or a baby. I hope this baby lives. I worry so much.
Me- From all my friends, I know it is normal to worry in the beginning, but you will be OK. The baby will be fine.
Girl- They lived near a Cheesecake factory. I never got to go to the Cheesecake Factory.
The conversation went back and forth with her worries and my trying to reassure her that she and her baby will be OK.
For some reason, I thought of my friend Jen who's husband was my brother's best friend as a child. We were reunited very randomly through the magic of the internet. I had made her baby some Stardust Shoes and she just sent me a picture of Little A wearing them.
I wrestled with myself for quite some time. Would this girl think I was a stalker? Was I a glutton for punishment? I thought of Lisa's article.
Me- I know this is weird, but I make stuff and I make baby slippers and if you wouldn't mind giving me your address, I would like to send you some.
The girl smiled and gave me her address and it wasn't so weird after all. We talked for the remainder of the flight.
At no point was this an easy conversation for me. And, in no way do I think it was an accident. I am a teacher with 97 college/graduate credits and a built in microwave who longs to have family in town and a baby.
I did pass the test though, because on the next flight my seat partner was both deaf and mute.
No joke. I couldn't have made that up if I tried. God tests us and he is funny too.