Everything happens for a reason. There are no coincidences.
When I look back, I see that's true. When I was ten years old, my parents decided to sell the farm and move. I didn't want to leave. I was sure it would mean giving up the horses, and it did--for a while, anyway. My dad had designed and built my mom's dream house--right down to the chandelier in the dining room and the terrazzo floors. It was 1963--the date is still inscribed in the sidewalk leading from the driveway to the front door.
We lived there six years. In that time, Dad built a barn for the horses and he and Mom took in twins, a boy and a girl, nine months old. I was twelve when they came along and quite happy as an only child. Mom did all the baby stuff like diapers and bathing--so the problems didn't start until she and Dad decided to buy a small neighborhood grocery store in south St. Louis. That was in 1969. The twins were four years old. Dad thought the house, the kids and the store would be too much for Mom. He was working full-time, so a Mr. Mom scenario wasn't an option. Their solution? Sell the house, move into something smaller. I protested. I didn't want to move again. I was out of school by that time, and I could do the housework. Surely they could afford a babysitter.
Nope. The house was sold, we moved, and I lost my horse again. To make matters worse, guess who got stuck with the twins? I'd rather have the horse.
I know that sounds harsh, but I was just fifteen and didn't really like kids. I still don't, to be perfectly honest. I love Collin, but he's mine. I've loved him from the minute I realized I was pregnant. I just don't enjoy children who aren't mine. I doubt I'm the only woman who feels that way...though I might be part of a minority who will admit it.
About twenty years ago, Mom and I got to revisit the house. Collin got to see it for the first time.What a shock! Structurally, it was still the same, but there was now a wood-burning stove in the family room and shelves full of canned goods--in the dining room. The couple who owned it had let their daughter paint her bedroom--it was awful. But when I walked into my old bedroom, I only saw how it looked when it was mine--all white furniture, twin beds, bookcase, dresser, and a big armchair in the corner. It brought back memories....
But much as I wanted to, I couldn't get it back. I couldn't go back.
When I thought about it, I realized that the best thing in my life might not have happened, had we not moved all those years ago. In less than three years, we'd be moving again. Kids throwing rocks in the street outside our place got out of hand, and I was hit. I got, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a bruised brain and seizures. For a while, I lost the use of my left arm and leg.
Anybody still wondering why I don't like kids?
Then my dog was shot. We didn't know it at first. I let her out to do her business, never had to keep her on a chain or in a fenced area. She could find her way home no matter how far she might roam. There was never any sign of a wound--no blood, nothing, until months later, when she began to limp. At first, it didn't seem a big deal. Then she started having trouble getting around at all. We took her to the vet. He did some x-rays, and we were all surprised to find a bullet in her leg. It was a freak thing--her bone had started to grow abnormally, pressing on her lungs, making it more and more difficult to breathe. She had to be put to sleep.
With everything else I'd been through, this was the final blow. I sunk into a deep depression and was hospitalized for three months. Mom and Dad, thinking I needed a major change, moved while I was in the hospital. When I was released, I came home to a whole new home.
There is a point to this. I'm getting there, I promise.
Had that move not happened, I might not have met some of the people who are still my friends, after all these years. I would not have been in the right place at the right time.
Collin might not have been born.
Chance? I don't think so.