My mind works in a set of chain reactions. I think that’s pretty common—all of us work that way on one level or another.
It starts with something random: something I see, hear, say, feel. That leads me to a thought and another thought and another thought until I’m hopelessly lost on a completely different train.
The thing is, though; that sometimes I get on that train and realize I’m actually interested in its destination. Such was the case today, when my final thought in a long series of reactions landed on my college communications professor.
I admired Kris. I can’t even express how much. She was cool in the way I wanted to be cool, pretty in the way I wanted to be pretty, smart and clever and witty in the way I wanted to be all of those things.
The last day I saw her, it was on a visit back to my university. I had left at the end of my sophomore year planning to come back. When I found out I was pregnant over the summer, I ended up dropping out. I lost my scholarships. I couldn’t go back.
So I went back to visit after my daughter was born: a short trip to say goodbye to that future and welcome the new one as well as I could. I surprised Kris. I was looking in her classroom window, just to be nosy, and she saw me. She waved me in, not expecting the baby I’d be pushing in the stroller.
Something about her shock stayed with me. I think it dawned on me then that I could never be like her now, and I felt disappointed. Worse, I felt ashamed and foolish.
One of the things I remember her saying was that she and her boyfriend had no plans to marry. They had been together for years, but marriage just wasn’t in the cards for them. When I jumped on that thought train today, I decided to do a search for her.
I had to do a couple of searches to discover her last name had changed.
This is why it’s dangerous to idolize people. They might not have things as figured out for themselves as you think.
Besides, the path I’m on isn’t so bad, really. I have more love than I can measure: a wonderful, supportive husband and two beautiful, amazing children. I’ve got it pretty good these days. :-)