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When I was in kindergarten, I was so very jealous of Jennie O. She got to have a Halloween party at her house. My mom would never have let me have a Halloween party like Jennie.
In first grade, I was jealous of Brooke B. Her mom let her be a model, and she had a picture in the JC Penney ads where she was blowing a bubble. I wasn't pretty enough to be a model like Brooke.
In second grade, Katie W got to sit next to Andrew, who I had the biggest crush on. Even though I was one of his three girlfriends (ummmm yeah, he was a cool dude back then), I wanted to be the only one, and I wanted to be Katie.
In third grade, Nicky S was in ballet and had the coolest leotard and tights. I had tried ballet and lasted only six months because I hated it so much, but I still wanted to be Nicky.
In fourth grade, Keely B seemed to have all the friends, and her life looked so easy. I wanted Ben and Paul and Brian and Will to be hanging all over me like they did Keely.
In fifth grade, Lizzy L was the fastest runner I knew. She could even beat the boys, and I wanted to be her more than ever.
And so on it went...
In college, I found my own stride, and things were pretty smooth. I was happy with my life and what I was doing, and I honestly can't think of anyone I truly envied.
After college, I looked at Carrie J and how she juggled an awesome job - doing the same thing as me but at a different company - and a stream of boyfriends who adored her. I dated a couple guys I didn't even like so that I could be like her. Fortunately I came to my senses and stopped that pattern. But Carrie led the charmed life I wanted.
As I had the wee ones, I saw all my neighbors and friends quitting their jobs to joyously stay home with their children. I kept working and looked at my friend Lisa D with envy for her easy life. Then I quit my job when the wee ones were 2 and not yet 1. It was a miserable life for me for a variety of reasons, and I soon went back to work.
I'm not sure exactly where I realized that my life is my life - and I like it that way. No matter how golden someone's life appears, it isn't truly as it appears. There's always some wrinkle that you don't know about that adds pain or strife or stress in some way. Our own lives are how we design them, and mine really fits me quite nicely.
I've figured out how to stay home with the wee ones and enjoy it. I fill the time I have doing things I - generally - enjoy, and I take pride in what I accomplish. I found a man to marry who is everything I asked for and all that I need. Nothing is perfect, but that would get boring. Instead, I am content.
I can now look at people who have gorgeous hair and genuinely admire it without wanting to trade places. I watch the women at the gym wearing tight spandex that looks good on them as they churn off another dozen miles, and I shake my head in wonder. I watch the chefs who cook on the Food Network, and their prowess astounds me - but I wouldn't want to be them.
Welllllll, most of the time anyway....
This Post was inspired by the book "Following Polly" by Karen Bergreen, which was the From Left to Write book club selection this month. As always, our posts are not book reviews but instead are drawn from something in the book. I received a copy of the book to read for the book club, but there was no compensation involved.
PS This book get two huge thumbs up. Loved it.