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Do you have, in your past, a pivotal moment, one that every so once-in-awhile you find your thoughts drifting back to question what might have been– if you’d taken that alternate road.

I woke up too early this morning, with pain in my back and a numb right arm. But it wasn’t the pain that awoke me; it was too loud of volume coming from my child’s educational TV program.

This child of mine, my special needs child, just threw a temper tantrum of paramount proportions because I stopped her from eating a second piece of chocolate cake, for her breakfast. I’d just cleared a spot on the stove to scramble up an egg for her breakfast burrito when she found the chocolate cake in a Tupperware container from the contents of my fridge; a fridge which had earlier been emptied in my attempt to find a container of food to serve as lunch for my husband; a fridge which still awaits my cleaning it prior to it’s being reloaded.

Thankfully I smelled the hot grease in time to remember to turn the heat off from under the pan that otherwise may have caught fire as I attempted to clean up the bits of cake and frosting that now littered my floor from having been thrown in above mentioned temper tantrum of soon to be ten year old child with Down Syndrome and Autism.

Afore mentioned child is presently in her bedroom where I promptly marched her after she threw the cake followed with throwing the $100 dollar multi-purpose remote, an action that was then followed with multiple slamming (open to shut) a wood encased glass door of the stereo.

While cleaning up the cake mess to the sounds of multiple slamming of the child’s bedroom door I couldn’t help but wonder how much of this is due not so much to “special needs” as to simply being spoiled brat behavior. 

From there I found, for reasons unknown, my thoughts drifting back to my 18th birthday. On that special day, along with my good friend Brenda Choate and her boyfriend, I and a date had gone to Portland to dance the night away at a local disco tech.

What I remember most of that night is the portion of evening I spent dancing with a guy whom I’d just met, there, that night. I think my date had walked away momentarily when this guy asked me to dance. As my date was not my boyfriend, but instead was a nice kid I’d gone on a couple dates with who was two years my junior and the son my moms friend, it would seem I felt it okay to accept a dance with this attractive stranger.

Rather than dancing to just one song I ended up on the floor with him through a couple fast songs followed up with a slow dance that culminated with a kiss. It was a magical moment in time; one I have held close to my heart in the years to follow.

In that magical moment I felt like Cinderella who had, at long last, found herself in the arms of a prince—not to mention there was chemistry there. And just like Cinderella, I too ran away—but my reasons were different. I didn’t fear my gown turning into rags; instead my head was bursting full of dreams of even greener pastures with an even grander prince to be found.

Before parting this guy asked if he could have my number; I honestly think he would have called. But I informed him I was about to graduate from High School upon which I’d promptly be moving to Salt Lake City.

And that was that. I never saw him again; I don’t even remember his name. I moved to Utah with all my hopes and dreams of finding happiness and true love; all the other crap my head had been filled with believing awaited me, especially including a happy ever after.

Instead I found hardship and heartbreak and the storms of life.

Sometimes, in moments such as this, it would seem I allow my mind to drift back so such pivotal moments and wonder “what if”…

But then my sensible side kicks in to remind me that no matter what road I’d taken there still would be the trials of life. And despite the incredible romance of that moment, even that guy was not perfect– since no one is.

But I’ll never know how it might have been… because I never gave it a chance. Instead what I do know is what came about because of the road I did take.

And I can assure you, based on the painful, long years leading up to the ending of my first marriage, given the chance to go back again to that night, to that magical moment, I’d choose the other road.