The Way Things Are






Donny Osmond thinks you’re cute.
2006-04-13, 4:09 p.m.

Do you ever want to go back in time and tell your earlier self something, or let your earlier person know something important, or warn yourself of something?

Of course, I think we ALL wish we could invent a time machine and go back and warn ourselves “No! Not him!” or “This is going to be a lot more difficult than you think,” or “You are not cut out to be an architect and need to change your major IMMEDIATELY.”

I think this is a given, considering the human gift of 20/20 hindsight.

But do you ever want to go back in time and whisper in your young self’s ear “Don’t worry – it’s worth the wait,” or “Everything turns out OK,” or “This is only going to last 11 more years”?

I had such a moment this morning in the car during my drive, and since my typical train of thought resembles an out-of-control freight train, I frequently find my thoughts spinning further and further away from the original topic until I end up in a whole different country than the one I started in.

This morning as I drove to work, I was thinking about my mom’s invitation to DW and me to spend Easter weekend with her and my (step)dad, even though Lil Guy is going to be with his dad and not with us. She kind of threw it out like “Well, we’re not going to be doing anything, but if you want to get out of town and come visit, come on up,” and we answered that with the same wild enthusiasm thusly: “Naaaah, DW’s got a practice round of golf on Saturday for a tournament coming up, and it’s too much trouble to travel with these stupid dogs, so we’ll just stay home, but y’all come down and see us if you want.”

To which she has responded with the wild enthusiasm of ringing silence.

But anyway, that’s the track that my train of thought started out on this morning. And now we’re going to careen wildly through the hinterlands of my brain together, and we’ll see where we end up, shall we?


Frankly, I have no real desire to go visit them. They have 4 or 5 house dogs who are all over the furniture, plus a cockatoo who SCREECHES LOUDLY at random intervals throughout the day, plus my (step)dad who is a little insane. Just a little hard to be around, but he’s a LOT better now than he used to be when I was a kid.


But really, when he gets going on one of his crazy tangents, I wonder how my mother has managed not to murder him in the 36 some-odd years they have been married. How do you knowingly go into a marriage with somebody with really big, bad issues, and justify staying with that person year after year, sacrificing just about everything to keep it together, and continue to stay married, and still not kill anybody?


But who would I be if she hadn’t married him when I was 5 years old? I would be a different person, living in a different place, with a really different life. If I hadn’t had the father issues I had, I would have never married Mr. Surly, I wouldn’t have my Lil Guy, and I would not have ended up divorced and dating with wild abandon in South Texas in the early 2000s.

I wouldn’t have landed where I am right now – with a really cool 13-year-old boy, and a nice, NEW husband who happened to be in the right place – mentally and physically – at the right time for me to meet and bedazzle.


That’s where I ended up this morning – an invitation to visit my mother leads me all the way to realizing everything ended up all right. I’m all right. Everything has fallen into place, and the long, hard road was worth it in the end.

What I would really like to do now is go back in time and visit my 12-year-old miserable self, and tell myself that 30 years later, everything is OK. Everything falls into place perfectly, but it has to start just like this HERE in order to end up just right all the way over THERE.

Do you want to go back and visit yourself at some really angst-ridden point in time, and let yourself know that it’s really OK? That the only way to get to the end is to go through the hard parts?

Could it be that that is what’s happening when our family and friends tell us that this current challenge we are facing will work out, and everything will be OK? Is that really the voice of our future selves, whispering reassurances in our ears that in order to end up just right at the end, this part of it has to suck?

I usually lash out very resentfully at people who try to reassure me, because how they hell do they know? Things don’t always work out for the best. Sometimes things only get worse until they eventually fall apart. How do you separate the voices that are trying to reassure you, in order to hear the voice that knows? Is it there? What if it is, and nobody’s listening?

Do I sound crazy yet?

One of my more trite goals in life is to attend a Donny Osmond concert and somehow finagle a kiss on the cheek from him, and then visit my 9-year-old self and let her know that eventually, way in the future, physical contact with Donny is made, and everything’s going to be OK, so stop pining.

Wouldn’t that be cool? To be so young and so overwhelmed with life’s problems - WHERE'S DONNY - and to get this flash of KNOWING - you don’t know what is going to happen, or how you get there, but when you get there, it’s all OK and Donny Osmond thinks you’re cute.

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