Deferred, Now Fulfilled

It’s a photo of me. 

I was about three years old and standing on my bed.  How about the matching curtains and bedspread?  Seeing it now, it looks kinda creepy.

My bed is a trundle bed—so cool for sleepovers.  When I was in junior high my dad stripped off the white paint and refinished it.  It got passed down to The Kid.  We did get new mattresses for it, though.

Some other badass women I admire…

I keep that photo of little debbie on the corkboard on my desk for inspiration. She expected me to be a badass woman, and I try to live up to her expectations.

I was very lucky because when I was a child, my parents always told me that I could be whatever I wanted.

Look at that photo; she’s a pirate in a flannel nightgown.  Hands balled up, tucked, and ready.

That fierce little thing knew she could do anything.

She was the best bee and firefly catcher in the neighborhood, with a mayo jar and lid always close by.  There may have been a measure of sugar and spice, but she was not afraid to mix it up, little boys did not mess with this little girl.

This little girl taught herself to swim by watching a kid at the pool.  She never had any fear of water and often thought she might be part mermaid.

She had a freakish ability to catch.  Footballs thrown from any distance and any speed were plucked out of the air into her little hands.              

This gift turned her into her big brother’s cash cow as he placed bets with kids who hadn’t seen this unexpected, preternatural ability firsthand.

The little girl had tons of plans for the future.  Why not, when her parents frequently told her there were no limits to her possibilities?

This little girl wanted to be a go-go dancer because she loved the boots and liked to dance.

This little girl wanted to be a performer and had plans to be in the Elvis Presley movies her mom loved so much and tour as a singer with the Partridge Family on their Mondrian-painted school bus.    

This little girl loved horses and puppies and wanted to become a veterinarian to make sick animals all better.

This little girl wanted to have a job driving huge construction vehicles because they looked like “giant Tonka trucks”.

As the years passed, the little girl grew up.  The fierceness remained, but the girl began to have small, quick feathers of experiences and lessons that came from all around.  Feathers that by themselves weren’t weighty but multiplied by tens of thousands they acquire the ability to choke the spirit.   

In high school, she learned that there were limits.  Girls couldn’t try out for football, no matter how amazing their reception skills were.  And some colleges were off-limits.

As an adult, the woman learned that many think women weren’t quite a fully formed human and needed to know their place.

Years passed; girls could play football, most colleges admitted women, and all occupations had trailblazing women working in them.

All except for one job.

And although over the years, women got tantalizingly close, there were just too many people who, unlike the woman’s parents, didn’t think that women belonged in that ultimate position, or adjacent to it.

The same year our little girl was born, another little girl was born.  And this little girl remained convinced that she really could do anything.

That little girl grew up to be the very first female Vice President of the United States.  And the other woman, this woman, is so proud and excited that we can tell girls that they can accomplish anything.

And really mean it.

Thanks for your time.

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Scenes from the life of an athlete

So Petey was watching a football double feature last night.  That’s right folks, six uninterrupted hours of genetic lottery winners wearing tight pants (both players and corresponding cheerleaders), interspersed with ads for alcoholic beverages, bedroom medicines, and expensive automobiles that shout to all and sundry, “Look at my fast, powerful motor car!  I have no need for bedroom medicines!”  I can happily consume hours of Sharknado movies and marathons of RuPaul’s Drag Race or any of the Star Trek franchises.  But a double feature of football seems like an intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Don’t get me wrong.  Even though I didn’t fully understand the Byzantine regulations of football until my twenties, I’m a sports fan, with a long and storied history of athletics.

Age 4: My big brother discovers in me an ability so prodigious and profound it almost qualifies as a superpower.

One day, being the kind of pest only a four-year-old kid sister can be, I’d been begging and pleading to be included in a touch football game.  Permission is granted on the condition that I catch one pass thrown to me.   Shocking everyone present, including myself, I pluck the ball out of the sky, as well as everything else thrown in my direction that day.  I become my brother’s performing seal and cash cow, as he wagers on my skills with those unfamiliar with my freakish feats of hand-eye coordination.

This uncanny catching ability stays with me until middle age when my eyesight starts to go, and fear of a broken hip keeps me from the daredevil jumps and dives of my youth.  Though to this day, I’ve no patience for obscenely rich professional athletes dropping passes thrown by other obscenely rich professional athletes.  Although to be perfectly honest I never tried to lay hands on a ball while being threatened by numerous 300-pounders being paid obscene amounts to flatten me into the Astroturf. Still though, c’mon!

Age 7: I discover my sport of choice; softball, when I play on an undefeated team, the Stripers (which my big brother finds hilarious to pronounce ‘Strippers’).  My catching ability is very useful in my position at shortstop, but my lack of speed when running is a handicap which becomes humiliatingly apparent when I’m on first base; a teammate hits a home run, and then passes me running to second.

Fun fact: If a base runner is passed by the player from the base behind her, both players are called out.  As in, two outs from the same mortifying play.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my father.  And that glass in front of him contains only water–really.

My poor father’s driven to distraction trying to coach a little more speed from me.  After numerous, failed attempts, he devises a tactic in which he mock-chases me around the house waving a bat and bellowing.  Watching my 6’4” dad, whose lurching movements resemble a dancing, drunken, half-stuffed scarecrow chase me around the house becomes a neighborhood amusement.  Each evening, families gather on porches to watch the spectacle.  Together, Dad and I are responsible for fostering new bonds of family and friendship along our street.Ages 17-30: Having lived around oceans growing up, I am familiar with undertows and how to navigate them.  I revel in swimming straight out as far as possible, resting a bit, then leisurely swimming back to shore.  While I adore this activity, Petey spends the entire time I’m in the drink composing the phone call to my parents to explain my disappearance into international shipping lanes, death by drowning, or dismemberment by shark.

Age 30-present: I walk the dog; sometimes for tens of minutes.

Yup, that’s me, walking the dog.

Thanks for your time.

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