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So Sorry, Gordon Korman

July 24, 2012

My husband and I had the opportunity to go out Friday night after my mom’s plane landed. I wasn’t planning to, it was about 9 at night, but my mom said we should take advantage while she was here. I didn’t even have any other clothes to wear besides my daily yoga pants/cut up t shirt because I am a rotten launderess and every time I think about washing clothing it’s naptime and the babies will wake up. But my husband said I didn’t look that dirty, so I threw my hair up and we went out for stromboli.

Anyway, we got to talking about our roles. I was not raised to be a stay at home wife and mother. My mother was a teacher, and now an administrator and she put little worth in the work of the house. She always told me, “Get your degree and you can pay someone to do all that stuff.” We didn’t have much money, but she put us in ballet lessons and took us to the symphony. In fact one of my best memories was when I was about six years old, all dressed up at the symphony after party. I had a floor length fake fur coat and I refused to take it off. My four year old sister and I sipped on virgin strawberry daiquiris. I had no idea I was a child really, I never thought of myself as such, more like a society lady about town.

There were times when we didn’t have any food in the house and my mom borrowed gas money from my grandma $5 at a time. But there were other times when we went to the opera and we had quite the collection of childrens books signed by authors we had met. My mom’s best friend was a librarian she called “Bartender,” In fact I still don’t know that woman’s real name. She would send us home the best, biggest stack of brand new books that had just been published or won awards. We would devour them all. I always knew I would be a writer.

My thirteenth birthday was the most miserable birthday of my short life. I look at pictures now and I bear a striking resemblance to the swollen, desperate Queen in the “Anger of Achilles” Yes, I was miserable for all the usual reasons you are miserable when you are thirteen and a girl, but mostly because my favorite author had published his first book at twelve and I was woefully behind schedule. A failure at thirteen.
Now I could never grow up to be Gordon Korman’s second wife. How could he ever respect me? With each year my dream slipped further and further away. That sentence in Gordon Korman’s biography haunted me, “By the time Korman had graduated from high school, he had written and published five other books.

My Thirteenth Birthday Face

After that I didn’t really want to be a writer anymore. I wanted to be an actress in high school. Until I got unceremoniously thrown out of theater for a year. I didn’t try out for a single thing my senior year or ever again after that. For years I couldn’t go to a single performance of anything on stage without getting sick to my stomach. I had a boyfriend take me to see The Miracle Worker when I was in college and I had to leave the theater to throw up.

When I got home from my friend’s house who is recovering from surgery on Sunday I did a few loads of her laundry and my husband jokingly asked when I was going over again and if I could please take a few of his clothes. At dinner on Friday I apologized to my husband for not doing the laundry. I said, “If I was you I would fire me from being a stay at home wife.” He told me that that was ridiculous and I didn’t know my own worth. In the same breath he told me that he wanted me to write. He said he wanted me to take care of babies and write.

There is nothing I’ve ever done to make this man believe in me, but he does. There’s nothing I’ve ever done to make this man proud of me, but he is. After a childhood with much rejection and pain, it’s hard to understand love like that. But it comes. And it’s beautiful. And I don’t deserve it, but it’s mine anyway. So, I will write today because even though I’ve published nothing, even though I have no schooling, even though I had given up, and even though I don’t do laundry, my husband says I am a writer. My friends are starting to say I am a writer, and I may be starting to believe again that I am a writer. So sorry, Gordon Korman. I am already taken.

Do you have a dream you have given up on?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    July 24, 2012 6:07 pm

    I am always in awe and speechless after I read your blog. I have never been much of a dreamer but I think i know why now. I’ve never believed in myself and so therefore didn’t see the point in dreaming about what i wanted to do. Sounds so depressing 😦

    Thank you so much Michelle for your words!

    • July 24, 2012 6:16 pm

      I know what you mean. God has sometimes given us gifts that only the Holy Spirit can help us to see. Some things are in us from childhood, others we can only see after digging like an archaeologist and brushing away the dust and nagging failures. I know you have so much to offer and dream about, I pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you in a practical and magical way. Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. July 24, 2012 6:43 pm

    I have a dream…

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