Two years ago my dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday. “Do you have a job?” I replied with a question. He smiled and turned away. I think we went out for breakfast instead.
“I don’t know what to get you for your birthday,” my dad declared last year. I told him that I wanted to clean out my brother’s old room just through the hall from mine. He lives an ocean away and I needed space.
“You put the bed in there,” my dad stalled.
“No. There are all kinds of boy things strewn around and piles of high school stuff. It’s claustrophobic. I’m living in a box.” Which was not really something new for me. Those boxes I had lived in were usually just empty, like I knew I was leaving so why fill them, kind of boxes. A dorm room. A single bedroom college apartment. Cement block rooms connected both inside walls and out during ten years in Guatemala. “I feel trapped.” And I looked around at my original box, my childhood bedroom.
This year my dad said, “Maybe you want to go somewhere nice for your birthday?”
Hmm. Because I should want to go somewhere, shouldn’t I? Achieving the kind of relaxation and control of my day that allowed my nails to grow out from their constant bitten down state shouldn't feel quite this good in my dad's house on my 38th birthday. . . Right? "Where could I want to go?" I answered him. Somehow I haven’t gone anywhere. Or at least that is what it seems like. Sure. My things have oozed across two rooms: piles of papers, old birthday cards, art posters from college, childhood jewelry boxes, books, dog hair and workout gear. But nothing had really changed, had it? Let’s make a list.
Job? Not a professional woman’s job. A part time job that pays me much less for what I actually do for them, because I wish it was a big girl job.
Husband? No. I have a dog.
Kids? Same answer as above. No. I have a dog.
Hobbies? Well, yes. Lots of those, because when you work like a college student then you have that kind of free time to find yourself. But what actually have I found?
And, last but not least, the bed. I’m one year older, but I still sleep on two twin beds pushed together, falling through the crack between them most often than not. How can I be a big girl, a mature adult, when I don’t even have a big girl bed?!
You know what I found? The pile of memory foam, the attempt to make the pullout couch livable for my brother’s visit with his family. You know what I did? I laid both layers across those twin beds and I bought myself king size sheets with my birthday discount card from Boston Store.
Now I couldn’t even tell it was a twin bed underneath. And when I slipped into it, that bed was oh so comfortable, a lot like the life I had now that I never knew I wanted. My life may be in pieces, but it might actually be just like that bed, where my dog and I sleep. What was that bed exactly? One good night’s sleep on a piece of memory foam away from my childhood dream being made.
For more wonderful videos related to teacher training or literacy program development in rural Guatemala, please visit www.child-aid.org. I have no v...