Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Life After the Glass Slipper

As a new year dawns, we wonder what it will hold in store. New beginnings always get our hearts racing a little bit, especially if we know that some milestone in our
lives is about to occur. Weddings, graduations, new houses all hold a shining
promise as we anticipate how wonderful our lives could become.

But even Cinderella must have had some modifications to make during her “happily ever
after”. After all, she was a common servant girl who suddenly became the focus
of attention, with attendants of her own to fulfill her every desire. Now,
instead of “Cinderella, scrub this, Cinderella, sweep that,” she would hear,
“No, Your Majesty, let me do that. Please Your Majesty, sit down and relax.”
It’s a problem we would all like to experience just once, but an adjustment
just the same.

When I was a small child, I dreamed of having a full-time Daddy living in our house. My parents were divorced, and I enjoyed the summer vacations with my dad and his
new wife, but I longed for what I considered to be a “complete” family. When,
in my teens, my mom met and began dating my future step-dad, it was literally a
dream come true. When they married, it started the biggest change I’d ever
lived through. My sister and I suddenly had a new house in a new state, and a
new school along with our new family. The high school was smaller than our old
one, and all of the kids tried hard to make us feel at home. But, what an
adventure! It was much more than I had bargained for in my little-girl fantasies.

Of course, my dreams continued, and I pictured in my mind what my own happy family would look like. Led by a strong, Christian man, with two or even three beautiful
children, I would fit right in, caring for all of them with love and occasional
home-baked cookies.

When a certain tall, smooth talking Arkansas boy entered my life, I knew this dream, too was on its way to being fulfilled. His upbringing provided the perfect example of
the stability I was longing for, and besides, he was really cute! So, after a
simply beautiful wedding with a wonderful assortment of family and friends in
attendance, we settled into our first home: a rented single-wide trailer
decorated in hip seventies fashion with wood paneling and harvest gold and
avocado green appliances. We soon learned that in order to afford the things we
wanted, we would need to hold down two full-time jobs. So after a couple of
false starts apiece, we both settled in to what would become careers, and began
the daily commutes. The three beautiful children arrived on schedule, each with
their own set of happy adjustments to make in our fairy tale.

Along the way, we realized that our careers would have advanced further if we had a little more education, but this idea was quickly pushed to the back burner in the
daily rush of coats and mittens and sack lunches for five. Opportunities
abounded, and we became involved in the activities of our own children, and
along the way had the chance to impact others in our community as well. The old
dreams morphed and developed into more excitement than we ever envisioned.

These days, the kids are all successfully independent, and our empty nest is still buzzing, especially when the grand-kids visit. We couldn’t have written a happier ending if we’d tried.

This year, another long-awaited event looms. Over the years, I was promised that even
though my job did not include a huge salary, if I stayed around long enough, I
could retire at a fairly early age, and enjoy the rewards of working through a
lot of headaches. This little dream has had plenty of time to develop, and it
mostly stars me at this computer, creating, editing and submitting for
publication the stories that have buzzed through my head for well over fifty
years. Surprise! The glass slipper comes with some complications. Because of recent
economic downturns, my husband and I are both looking for new jobs to either accommodate the lifestyle we’ve worked so hard to build, or trim it down a little.

We are both hopeful, and becoming used to the feeling of butterflies in our stomachs
once again. Hmmm- if all else fails, maybe we can find another two bedroom
trailer, this time with a workshop for him, and a wireless internet connection
for me. Hold our hands, Lord. This year will undoubtedly turn out far differently
than we ever could have dreamed!

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