If you pay close attention, you begin to pick up on the tiny events that shape your life and give you a glimpse of what your future holds.
Oh, dear reader, even now I can see the puzzled look on your faces, the furrowed brow, the questioning eyes. You're thinking back over the day, saying to yourself, "What's she talking 'bout, Willis?"
Let me explain.
I picked up Helen from daycare the other day. A day like any other, spent racing through my evening commute to get to the center, waving hello to the other parents and a few teachers. Helen saw me at the door and ran straight to me with a cry of pure joy. I got a big hug from her, and headed over to get her daily report.
The teacher casually commented to me, "Helen pulled the fire alarm today."
(loud sound of needle scratching across record)
I paused, and carefully asked, "She did WHAT?"
A table and several chairs sit at one end of the room for meals and art projects. That morning, while the class was playing, Helen wandered over to the table, pushed a chair up against the wall and stood in it, reached up for the fire alarm and pulled it down.
In her defense, it's bright red, perched about halfway up the wall, and apparently the teachers were busy with eleven other children at that moment. Sometimes I lose track of her, and I've only got the one to watch.
But folks, I gave birth to the child WHO PULLED THE FIRE ALARM AT SCHOOL.
I asked the teacher what happened afterwards. She said the kids do pull the alarms from time to time, and they announce on the intercom that it's not a fire. I could just hear the blaring noise she started and how she must have scared all the babies, and the teacher said Helen got off the chair and sort of stood there, looking around, not the least bit frightened. I asked if the fire department showed up, but they called them off before a truck rolled up to take Helen in for questioning.
On the drive home, I saw her whole future. Today, in daycare, she pulled a fire alarm. In first grade, she'll be the one to put the tack in the teacher's chair. We'll get hauled in for a parent-teacher conference and things will immediately go downhill from there. She'll never get into the good math class, or land on the honor rolls. She'll get fingered in some kind of sketchy SAT scandal and end up in a so-so college with a dead-end job after graduation, unable to support her parents in the style we're so desperately looking forward to enjoying.
I tell you, pay attention to these signs, folks. They're all around us. Did you realize your future was right there all along, in a daycare teacher's not-so-watchful eyes?