I firmly believe that if you’re willing to look, there’s a blessing – usually many blessings, actually – in every bad situation. And, obviously, this blog wouldn’t even exist if I weren’t able to find the humor in nearly everything that happens to me. Most of which is inarguably ridiculous and inherently humorous, but you get the point. Another of my firmly held beliefs is that when God placed me on this earth, He said to no one in particular, “And you, my dear, are going to keep everyone entertained.” Which is how things like the Unofficial St. Joseph Altar Death-Match Bake-Off happen to me in the first place.
At any rate, recent events have forced me to reexamine my life – the things I want and the reasons I want them. This is proving to be a painful process, to be sure, but it’s always a good thing to stop, take stock and question your own motives.
So it probably comes as no surprise to anyone that I’ve been rather teary lately. Part of it is grief, and part of it is my hormones hitting a wall, but part of it is also reevaluating my place within my family, my contributions to it and the ways I serve the people I love most. During one of many late-night, tear-soaked conversations, I looked up into Blake’s face and asked, “Are you happy, Perkins? Do you have a good life?”
I was pretty sure I knew, but your stomach always clenches during the split-second when you’re waiting for answers to questions like that, doesn’t it?
Much to my relief, he nodded emphatically. “We live in a two-story house,” he said. “When I was a kid, I thought that was as good as it got.”
Stairs as a measure of success. Why not? People measure success by a myriad of yardsticks that are WAY dumber than stairs.
That started me thinking: Success means something far different to me now than it did when I was a kid, of course…but does it have to?
What if I still measured success the same way I did when I was 7?
–I own my own stapler. I can staple anything I want any time I want, and I don’t have to ask anyone for paper OR staples. WINNING. I also have the modern-day equivalent of my own typewriter, and no one chides me for banging the keys too hard.
(I typed that sentence so loud my neighbors could probably hear it, by the way.)
I also have stamps and ink pads, and I can stamp every damn thing in this house if I feel like it.
–I can eat in bed. TAKE THAT, MOM.
–Speaking of Mom, I own several pairs of high-heeled shoes and 18 tons of sparkly jewelry and accessories. See?
I also have eyeliner, blush and approximately 84 lipsticks. I am allowed, indeed, encouraged to shave my legs. No one gets onto me for using an entire bottle of bubble bath at one time.
Well, almost no one.
I am allowed to light candles, use the curling iron and cut things with scissors unsupervised.
On the down side, I do not look like Carol Alt, I did not marry a prince, I do not drive a silver Corvette with a pink interior (YET), and I am not, nor will I ever be, Miss America. I did not grow up to be a professional ballerina, and I have to work much harder than anticipated to find a reason to wear a tutu.
However, I have a little girl, I frequently put bows in her hair, and she has several tutus of her own. She loves makeup, high heels and purses, and pretty soon, I’ll start painting her nails. She agrees wholeheartedly with my life philosophy that one can never sparkle too much.
I own pom-poms, and I wear perfume on a daily basis.
I HAVE A CAR.
WITH WHICH I CAN DRIVE TO TOY FAIR.
EVERY SINGLE DAY!
We do not yet have a Barbie Dreamhouse, but we will. Oh, we will.
As far as accomplishments go, I have not gotten eaten by Jaws or Shamu, and I have never been sucked down the bathtub drain. I graduated from high school. I have worked as a secretary.
By the way, if any of you who are reading this are currently employed as secretaries, then you should know that in the opinion of a 7-year-old Kelly Phelan, you have the single most glamorous job in the entire world except for maybe 1) Professional Ballerina and 2) Being Carol Alt.
Not too shabby, you guys. Not too shabby at all.
I have not yet kissed Henry Winkler or Alan Alda, but there’s still time.
Perhaps best of all, we have stairs. And if Blake and I didn’t mind being in traction, we could slide down the bannister right now if we wanted to. In fact, I think I will!
(Nah, I’m just kidding. I like my spinal cord the way it is.)
So according to 7-year-old me, my life is unimaginably awesome. Well, except for the Miss America thing. But that’s what eBay‘s for, right?
Things are a lot more complicated than they were in the second grade. But as long as I’ve got Harper, Blake and a stapler, we’re all going to live happily ever after.