The Magic of 11.11.11

11:11 a.m. on 11.11.11

I’m a dreamer. Always have been. As a child, I would lie in my bed at night and let my imagination run wild like tiny movies, each one creating even bigger hopes of what my future would hold. And boy were they creative. You know those silly chick flicks where the guy speeds across town, runs through the airport and stops the girl just as the plane is going to take off? Yeah, I could have written one of those bad movies before I was even old enough to date.

On a separate but related note, I also had a big-time fascination with the number 11. Being the 11th child in my family was just the beggining, I would choose 11 any chance I got, so much so that the number 11 became part of my identity, at least within myself. I would make a wish at 11:11 each day, wear #11 whenever I played sports and can even remember how disappointed (like to an unnatural level) I was as a senior playing high school softball when a teammate grabbed #11 before me and wouldn’t give it up.

So take my over-the-top dreams and the love of those double ones and what you get is a girl who would put more energy (i.e. pressure) into hopes that the number 11 would make her dreams come true. I remember as a 20-something single girl convincing myself that my knight in shining armor would arrive on 11.11, bringing eternal love, affection and babies along with him. Year after year, I would publicly announce how special 11.11 would be, just for me, because that was my number and I knew that something life changing will happen.

Then this year came around. 11.11.11 is a date that will only come around once in our lifetime, it needed to be a day to remember for all eternity, right? While I no longer look at the world the way I did as a young, naive girl, I couldn’t help but hope that something — anything — would happen to make the day just a bit more memorable than the others.

Being Veterans Day, the kids were off from school. The mere chance to have a day free from all the usual chaos of a quick breakfast, getting kids dressed, teeth brushed and the hurried collection of jackets, backpacks and homework folders was quite lovely. For Jeff, not needing to drop Lucy off at preschool and the promise of lighter traffic gave him a few extra minutes to sip coffee with me and toss around some plans — for the day ahead and the immediate future.

With the kids home, there was no chance I was going to get any work done. I resolved to spend the rest of the day running errands, feeding the kids. and attempting a dash of “me” time, translated as a little P90X yoga workout in the privacy of my bedroom while kids played loudly and occasionally asked (see: screamed) to get in and talk to me (see: referee the latest disagreement).

But it was right there, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of getting Lucy’s glasses fixed, taking the kids out to lunch and getting flu shots that the magic of 11.11.11 appeared.

I love my life.

The husband who wants to have coffee with me and looks at me like I’m the prettiest girl in the world… the kids who cry when offered special time because they don’t want to be without each other… the ability to work on projects I love while having the time and flexibility to juggle activities, homework, behavioral aids, etc. — I’m actually living the life my 20-something self could only dream of. Because happiness is not about grand gestures and over-the-top moments, it’s about being with those you love and loving the life you’re living.

A magical realization that came to me on 11.11.11.

Honor Your Veteran

On this Veterans Day, Americans around the world honor and remember those who have served our country and continue to do so. But for so many Americans, Veterans Day hits even closer to home. A veteran, to them,  is a friend… a family member… or another person close to the heart.

This post is dedicated to the veteran in your life and serves as an opportunity for you to honor them (maybe even yourself) in the comments. Let’s hear it, America!