The sun was just coming up when she came into my room. There she was, in the dim morning light, standing next to my bed. Fully dressed. Staring at me, willing me awake. It worked. I opened my eyes and saw her small form.
I smiled. She was there because today was her big day. A field trip to Publix. Just the two of us. She’d waited a whole week for this day. In four-year-old-world a week may as well be a year.
She leaned over and whispered, “Should I get my shoes on?”
(I love this kid.)
“We aren’t leaving until after devotion.”
“Should I get them on before devotion? In case there isn’t time after?”
I pulled her up next to me and listened while she chattered about the things she was hoping to do at Publix: eat some donuts, eat some cake, maybe a cookie or two…She wondered if she’d see a cow get cut up, and if she did, would there be milk flying everywhere? What about chickens? Would they cut up the chickens in front of her? Would there be feathers and eggs flying everywhere?
This Publix field trip was going to be the high-light of her year. I loved hearing about all her grand expectations. I never told her she wouldn’t see the cows and chickens in quite that violent a state. I didn’t tell her she wouldn’t get her own cake and box of donuts.
I just said, “Maybe. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But we’re gonna have fun.”
In the end, they gave her a slice of bread at the bakery. (“No butter or anything, Mom!”) She missed touching the vegetables because there were too many other kids. She was scandalized at being forced to wear a hair net to visit the meat department. And she nearly froze to death in the freezer section. But she did get a behind-the-scenes look at Publix, and left with a goodie bag full of treats and coloring stuff. Success.
Julia’s Publix expectations and my writing expectations have a lot in common. I don’t know what it’s gonna be like. Some of what I envision is dead wrong. But that’s okay. It’s great to be excited and passionate about something, to feel that flutter in your heart. I understand how she felt this morning. I feel it, too. I write and write, dream of getting published and wonder, What’s it gonna be like?
Success? I can’t wait to find out.