Start in Salt Lake City on the very day that Nixon proclaims to the world, "I am not a crook." Have an older brother who keeps waiting for you to go back where you came from. Be adored by your Grandpa and have him set aside special gifts just for you. Find yourself the princess of quite a lot until that red-headed brother is born and steals your thunder. Love him in spite of this. Be immersed through your Mama in classic Broadway shows such as "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" and "Cats". Learn at an early age that you cannot sing. Sing anyway. Be the only girl in a family of four boys. Realize you can run just as fast as the boys can. Embrace your tomboyishness.
Go to kindergarten proudly with a plaid lobster on the front of your jumper. Love your bearded kindergarten teacher who makes his own banjos and guitars. Laugh a lot. Talk so much that they stick you in a special class to help less "social" kids acclimate. Fly from the swings on the playground into salty, coarse gravel. Feel the freeing wind in your hair as you run. Fall off a skateboard and scratch up your face. Run through the sprinklers in your front yard. Try not to cry when your dad goes hunting and comes home with a deer. Go camping with your family at Trial Lake. Be given a box of chocolates in fourth grade by a boy. Have sleepovers with girlfriends and spend hours whispering and giggling. Grow tall early on, and find (to your dismay), that you are taller than all the boys most of your life.
Fall down while roller skating and severely break your arm. Have the first of six surgeries on this arm. Discover how grueling physical pain can be. Spend hours climbing the tree in your Grandma's front yard, collecting the "witch nose" pods that grow there. Pick fresh vegetables from her garden and listen to her Jazz Singer record over and over. Cry the first time you hear this record after your Grandpa dies. Sleep over at the cabin with all your cousins. Dance your heart out to the Footloose soundtrack. Savor the juicy sweetness of ripe peaches. Eat hamburgers at Hires. Go home and cry when boys begin flipping back bra straps and you are caught without one. Feel very womanly the next day when you arrive at school wearing your first bra. Be a little disappointed that no one ever tries to flip yours again. Never really make peace with your many freckles. Discover your love of literature.
Go through the awful stage where your body gets ahead of the rest of you. Be called ugly and fat by mean boys, and believe it for many years. Stuff your bra. Kiss a few very awkward boys. Fight with your parents. A LOT. Slam doors. Cry more than you want to. Pour your feelings into a journal. Feel so unsure of yourself that you wonder how you'll survive. Get on an airplane for the first time right after high school. Go to Chicago and win nationals in FHA. Go to college. Like a lot of boys. Learn to begin liking yourself. Send several boys off on missions, proclaiming your devoted and undying love for each one. Live with six girls and be glad you never had any sisters. Discover that you are a runner.
Meet a smart, cute gymnast quite by accident. Date him for only six weeks before getting engaged. Find that no one around you is shocked or even surprised at the shortness of time - because it just feels so right. Marry this man early one morning, surrounded by all your friends and family. Decide you are finally old enough to no longer pretend to like roller coasters. Move for the first time in your life to Minneapolis so your husband can attend graduate school. Make new friends.
Wonder if it will ever be your turn to be a mother, and blink your eyes to find that you are one. Cherish your babies, each in their turn. Sing each one to sleep with show tunes and John Denver songs. Make chocolate chip cookies and lots of peanut butter sandwiches. Kiss them every night before you go to bed. Wish it wasn't going so fast.
Move from Minneapolis to Seattle to Boston to San Diego. Be thankful for good friends all over the country. Be preparing to move to Missouri for the man you love. Look around and realize that you lead a charmed life. Spend as many days as you can at the beach. Re-learn the painful lesson of what happens when you don't wear sunscreen. Relish the sound of your kids playing so well with each other. Know that you are loved. Take a sip of diet coke. Over the phone, tell your husband just how great your day was. Miss him a lot. Blog. Write this. Wait anxiously to read other posts like this one. You're here.
This post was inspired by my friend, Annie, and her own life roadmap. I was fortunate enough to meet Annie while we lived in Boston, and my life has been richer ever since. Now it's your turn - how do we get to you?