Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Coincidence? I Think Not.



I admit it. I play Candy Crush. I started playing about a year ago and I became instantly hooked. My addiction ran a good six months until I got to cursed Level 147. I played for two months straight every single day trying to pass it to no avail. I finally gave up for a while, refusing to dole out any cash to buy a “life” or a “booster” or whatever trickery they use to get your money. After a three month hiatus, I returned for one more try and after another four or five weeks, I finally passed that nightmare of a level and now continue to play off and on during the week, late at night, after everyone is asleep and when I don’t feel like watching TV or reading. On Friday, I found myself stuck once again on a level for longer than I cared to be. I am not ashamed to say that I have resorted to Googling “Candy Crush Level ### Tips” on a few occasions. So, that’s what I did once again. This time for Level 158.


I clicked on the third or fourth site down on the list of results. I found myself reading a blog post and not really “How To” instructions for my game. In the second paragraph the author compared Level 158 (a level based on luck) to infertility treatments. That’s when she really grabbed my attention. It was so unexpected to see the word infertility when all I was doing was looking for tips on crushing candy. I ended up forgetting all about Candy Crush and feverishly reading through this woman’s blog. I am embarrassed to say that I have never been a regular blog reader or blog follower. I’m completely new to this blog thing. The only time I’ve read blogs has been when I’ve stumbled upon them – like this one – or when my friends have posted links to theirs on Facebook. Otherwise, I’m kind of a Blog Virgin. One of my dear high school friends (who has a blog) had recommended that I network with other bloggers if I want to increase my readership. I haven’t done squat in that area since she gave me the advice - not for a lack of desire, but mostly because I don’t even know where to start. “Hi blogger, I’m Jackie. Would you like to network with me?” 


But here was this blogger who had a section called "The Blogroll". Whether this is a common thing or not, I have no idea, but to me (the Blog Virgin), it was a new concept. She had a catalog of links to blogs upon blogs upon blogs for any and every imaginable topic related to Adoption, Infertility, and Pregnancy Loss. All of my specialties in one place! I couldn’t believe the coincidence of finding this blog while looking up Candy Crush Level 158 AND learning about this Blogroll concept. All purely by accident! Anyway, her instructions were that if you want to be added to her Blogroll, just email her and she will do it. WHAAAAT??? That easy? Really? OK! But then the shame gremlins (as my idol Brene Brown calls them) started yapping in my head the next morning. “You can’t email her. What have you written about any of those topics? Nothing! All you’ve written about are your lame-ass childhood stories and your mom. You don’t belong on that list of blogs. Besides, you’re not even a real blogger. Shit, you don’t even have a custom blog. You just used a free template on Blogger. You’re not good enough for that list.” I know the shame gremlins aren’t right, but they sure are loud with their opinions and I kind of think they have a strong case. (For the record…I do not have schizophrenia and do not hear actual voices in my head.)


And now back to our regular scheduled programming…


Freshman year of High School was pretty uneventful. I spent the first half of my Freshman year thinking that I would try to transfer to Mater Dei for my Sophomore year. But as the school year progressed, I became attached to my new group of friends and by the end of the year I had lost my desire to go to Mater Dei. I really loved Connelly, my new friends, and the overall culture of the school. Best of all, I had not brought over with me any kind of reputation. It had been a nice, clean, smooth new beginning with classmates who could draw their own conclusions about me without knowing my Holly Hobbie-Motorhome-Accordion past. My mom still managed to embarrass me but it was on a much smaller scale. The worst I remember is her waiting for me, parked in the front of the school with her Latin music blaring for everyone to hear (or dance to if they wanted). In comparison to the embarrassment I had endured previously, this was peanuts.


I was also still dealing with a not-so-well mother. She hadn’t been in the hospital anymore (not that I can remember), but we were constantly going to the doctor to have her white blood cells and platelets checked. That’s all I knew at the time and the only reason I knew was because I remember hearing those words a lot. The other thing I knew was that my mom’s legs started swelling a lot. Sometimes it was so bad that she needed help walking. At my Quinceñera during Freshman year, I remember her being upset that her legs were so swollen that she needed help walking into the church for my dedication mass. I don’t really remember asking questions about her health. Now I wonder though if I just didn’t want to know. Would my parents have told me? Probably not.

1985 - My Quinceñera- My mom's swollen legs

In the meantime, I had become a “rebellious” teenager. I begged to date. I begged to wear more make-up than just pale pink lipstick and blush. I begged to go to the mall alone with friends. I begged to go to school dances. But I was rejected on every request. In my book, I had the world’s strictest, meanest mother EVER. It was not an easy time between us. We fought a lot. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on anything. There was a lot of screaming and yelling on her part and a lot of screaming and crying on mine. Some arguments were pretty ugly and mean on both our parts. Mother’s Day 1985 was a terrible day. I don’t remember what transpired between us, but I can recall her crying in the car and saying that she couldn’t believe what I had said to her on Mother’s Day of all days and that I was a terrible daughter for doing such a thing. I remember I felt awful and cried and apologized up the wazoo but as was typical of her, it took a huge dog and pony show and a whole lot of tap dancing to get her to forgive me.


*****


During the first couple of weeks of Sophomore year, I met a new classmate in my PE class. She was new to our school and seemed very sweet. I was and still am the type of person that tries to make others feel welcome. (I am certain it has to do with my outcast experiences in elementary and middle school.) Anyway, this new girl and I hit it off immediately. Maggie (not her real name) and I felt like we knew each other from somewhere. We said we looked familiar to one another. We tried to figure out how we might know one another. She told me she was from Uruguay (which is Argentina’s neighbor and the country with the most similar culture to ours). We were sure that it was very possible that our parents had mutual friends and maybe we had been together at a party or gathering. By the end of class that day, we exchanged phone numbers and agreed to ask our parents if it was possible we knew each other.


As soon as I got in the car after school, I told my mom about my new friend. I told her that I had met a girl from Uruguay whose parents were both doctors. Immediately, my mom asked “Are you talking about Maggie?” I was shocked that my mom knew her name! “Yes! How do you know?” My mom said “It’s Maggie!” I didn’t know what she was referring to. She reminded me “Remember Maggie? Your best friend from Preschool!” OH MY GOD! I was SO HAPPY! My best friend was back! It was such an amazing discovery. As soon as I got home, I ran to call Maggie and when she answered the phone we both screamed. She had obviously found out from her mom who I was as well. Knowing us, we probably both cried tears of joy too.


The next day, I brought pictures of Maggie and me at my 5th birthday party to show our friends at school. We told everyone and anyone who would listen that we had been best friends in Preschool. We were both so proud and excited about finding one another and reuniting after 10 years. We became instant best friends again and spent a lot of time writing notes and letters to each other during class (all of which I still have. See one below.) As the months passed, Maggie and I grew closer and although we each had our own group of friends, we felt in our hearts that we were BFF’s. We especially commiserated over our strict, unrelenting parents. Maggie’s parents were very similar to mine in their customs and beliefs so she dealt with a lot of the same rules I had at home.
A letter from Maggie

When school resumed after Christmas Break, we found out that a classmate had lost her father during a ski trip. I remember feeling awful for this girl who I didn’t really know. I pictured what it must feel like to have a parent die. I imagined her to be an uncontrollable wreck, a crying mess…but to my surprise, when she returned to school, she seemed ok. Hmm…I wondered how this could be. Doesn’t a 16-year-old whose father just died walk around crying 24/7? Since I wasn’t friends with her and had never even spoken to her, I didn’t mention her loss. I assume that my classmate losing her father made such a huge impact on me because I was still hearing my mom talk a lot about her fear of dying and leaving me without finishing her job of raising me. It was a fear my mom transferred to me and that I carried around subconsciously. So seeing it happen to someone my age, really hit me hard. I probably contemplated what my classmate must have felt more than the rest of the girls at school.


I’m not sure if I’ve already written it before on my blog, but I say it all the time, so get used to it…I believe that everything happens for a reason. I don’t believe there are coincidences. As I was thinking about what I wanted to write about Maggie in this post, I gave a lot of thought to the day we met. I think it’s odd that we said we looked familiar to one another because truthfully, neither of us looked anything like we did as Preschoolers. Who does? (During Sophomore year, Maggie had Sun-In in her hair and I had a Cup O’Noodles perm.) So how did we recognize each other? My answer today is that our souls recognized one another. It wasn’t our faces that looked familiar. It was our souls. We instinctively knew we belonged together. It’s also funny now, looking back, at our extreme enthusiasm at re-discovering one another. How close could we have possibly been in Preschool??? But it’s obvious there was a strong connection between us that we both felt deep within our souls. There was also a reason why Maggie was back in my life. I just didn’t know it at the time.


So this makes me think…if there are no coincidences and everything happens for a reason, then I must not ignore that blog I discovered. Maybe I really do belong on that Blogroll? Maybe I am supposed to learn something or meet someone through that blog? I didn’t expect to reunite with my BFF from Preschool during Sophomore year of High School. I also didn’t expect to find a blog networking source while Googling Candy Crush tips. I believe that neither were really accidents or coincidences. There must be a reason I came upon that blog. I just don’t know it yet. (I also have to tell those shame gremlins to F-off.)


Sophomore year (85-86) with a Cup O' Noodles Perm.
"He doesn't know it's a perm." That's for one of my HS besties


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