The phone rang as I happened to be near the office of Little A's pediatrician, which is close to the office of the secretary of the physician that was calling me.
I was at a four-way stop in the complex.
My blinker was flashing right and I turned left.
The man at the opposing stop sign shook his head at me, the disbelief and contempt unmistakable, likely blaming my errant turn on my preoccupation with my phone rather than focusing on the most elementary routines of driving.
It wasn't the phone distracting me, mister.
It was the words being said to me on the phone.
"The real troubles
in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind
that blind side you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday."
Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, Wear Sunscreen Commencement Speech, 1998.
It was a Tuesday.
After dropping off paperwork for Little A's doctor to sign, I'd agreed to just stop at the Center for Women's Health to talk to the woman who called to schedule another biopsy for me.
I was near, I said.
"I can't really process and drive," I'd thought.
"What can you do," I'd thought.
"Stop." I said aloud.
Then louder, "Stop."
I got out of my car.
I walked in, smiled, and quietly asked for the receptionist.
I believe I appeared calm. I'm certain I remained polite.
In whispers that I could feel others in the room straining to hear, she said words like, "Atypical." "Larger sample size."
I nodded and blinked.
"Thank you," I said as I smiled at her, then turned and walked away.
"Take a step. Take a step. Take a step. Good. Open the door. Good. Walk to your car. Okay."
Unlock the doors.
Put the key in the ignition.
Check side the view mirror.
(Objects are closer than they appear.)
(Unless it's an object in your blind spot. The kind that doesn't appear until it's either struck you, or you've slammed on your brakes, heart racing, wondering how you didn't see that coming.)
Next Wednesday, I will drop Big A off at 4:15 a.m. to put her on a bus that will take her to World Competitions for Robotics, states away.
If you'd have told me that I'd miss an event like that previously, I'd have thought you insane.
Now, however, I am beginning to truly comprehend the roots and wings concept.
Roots to give them a place to come from.
Wings to give them the ability to fly them away from here.
It's an excellent theory.
It's a more difficult practice.
Next Wednesday, at 7:30 a.m., I'll drop Little A off at school to get on a bus to take her to a two-night science and nature camp. She's never stayed anywhere where I didn't personally know someone there.
She's never stayed somewhere where I had to trust that the medical forms and directions would be followed and that she wasn't allowed electronics, just in case she needed to send a message for comfort rather than picking at herself or rocking.
I can see her wings sprouting from her shoulder blades, strong and vibrant, and I want to scurry with her back down to the roots.
Next Wednesday, I will come back home and the house will be very quiet, I would assume.
I'm actually going to be part of a presentation at 11:00 on something that I've been working very hard on...I'm excited about that; that there is still growth and wisdom and ability growing within me along with atypical structures.
I will have plenty of work to do. I'm grateful for that.
I will have some letters to write.
I will hope to have a bottle of wine in my refrigerator for when I sit down to begin composing.
I will remind myself that if life were typical, it would be boring, even, smooth, predictable, and that it's usually the other areas of life that aren't typical that bring us around to discovering the best that lies withing all of us, that teaches us what we are made of.
I will remind myself that atypical is merely a word.
On Thursday, I will wake up and go in the bathroom and look into the mirror and read the quote that I finally got around to putting on the glass where I see my reflection staring back at me:
"And if I asked you to name all of the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?"
I will shower.
I will floss.
I will brush.
I will swish.
And I won't put on lotion.
And I won't put on deodorant.
And I will likely braid my hair off to the side and try, once again, to be able to feel the physical manifestation of the atypical cells within me.
And I will turn to the side to peer at my body in the mirror; to see if there are any remnants left of my wings.