“Never say never.”
I never (whoops, said it!) really understood that phrase until I was in my late twenties. It hit me even harder in my mid-thirties.
By then, I had learned the horrible truth: when you say you’re never going to do something, a divine ha, ha, ha! echoes through the heavens, and an invisible hand begins to slowly tweak your circumstances so that before you know it, you’re doing those things you said you’d never do.
As a teenager, I looked around at my three siblings (because I was the Perfect Child, don’t you know) and decided that I never wanted children. At the same time, I wanted to be a good Catholic. Catholics are not supposed to have sex unless they are number one, married, and number two, open to conceiving a child with every “act of marriage”.
And so, with much reluctance on my horny late teenager part, I decided I would never get married. This I announced openly to my mother who would hear it at least a dozen times over the next decade.
By age thirty-five, I was married. By age thirty-six, I’d had a baby.
Desperate to find a teaching job after college, I found myself in a big city nearly a thousand miles away from where I’d grown up. I had on purposely not taken any early childhood courses in college, not received certification in that area. Because I didn’t like little kids, so I was never going to teach Kindergarten.
In that city I’d moved to lived many Hispanic immigrants, and so the school district had a bilingual program. Therefore, so did the school that eventually hired me.
Having received my teacher education in an area where immigrants were immersed in English in school – only taught their native language at home – I lifted my nose in the air and said, “I will teach in this school, but I will never teach in a bilingual classroom.”
Little did I know that the principal was spying on me, hearing me speak in Spanish to Spanish-speaking parents, rubbing his hands together in glee as he plotted to stick my hoity-toity nose into the dirt. At the end of my fourth year teaching, he assigned me to a bilingual classroom for the coming year.
A Kindergarten bilingual classroom.
Ah, ha, ha, ha! boomed the mirthful Voice In The Sky.
Since my mid-thirties, I have been tempted to say that I would never do any number of things. I was never going to have another baby. I was never going to live in a city again. I was never going to teach in a classroom again.
I have resisted temptation. I learned my lesson.
Wait! Hold on! Why didn’t I think of this before?
“I will never be a New York Times number one bestselling author.”
“I will never sing on a stage and wow an audience of thousands.”
“Hubby and I will never be self-sufficient in growing fruits and vegetables.”
“I will never act in a movie.”
“I will never…”
Hey! Reader! Are you laughing at me?