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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

A Stroke of Luck

As a parent of older children, you can really do a whole host of things to make kids squeamish. Every time we hear Madi coming into the room, Paul and I jump up and hug. “That’s gross,” we hear. Sometimes we’ll use the slang, and then typically get a lesson on how to use it properly. Or sin of all sins, we talk about using a social media platform like Instagram or tiktok.

Or THE Tiktok as we call it when talking to Madi. If you’re trying to gross out a kid, go big or go home!

I just watched a quick video by musician Charlie Puth on tiktok, and he was explaining how he started writing a specific song as a classical piece. He expressed in very technical terms that were well over my head, what he had intended. He was imitating what the violins and the cello would sound like. After mentioning one certain change, he explained how the song morphed into a pop rock song that skyrocketed up the charts. Suddenly he stopped and said, “It just goes to show you: one thing can turn into another thing.” Not exactly eloquent but spot on with the sentiment.

So many times we are so focused on OUR goals, on OUR original intention that we can’t see something better lurking around the corner. How many times have people come up with incredible inventions or discoveries mistakenly or because their initial plans didn’t work? A quick look at Google shows a top 10 list with some very interesting items.

Penicillin leads the list. When Sir Alexander Fleming was working on the influenza virus, he went away for a two week holiday, and when he returned he found the petri dishes were growing a mold that ushered in the age of antibiotics.

The Dalai Lama once said, “Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

A couple of weeks ago, Paul and I were in the car, and while sitting at a traffic light he asked me what’s the biggest thing you’ve wanted that you didn’t get, and it turned out better. I thought for just a moment and then traffic started to move. I found myself looking at a certain preschool on Providence Road.

When Madi was 3 years old, I started looking at preschools in the area. The first one I visited impressed me. They were all about academics, and since I work in education, I was captivated. One day a week would be devoted to computer literacy; the other days would focus more on the building blocks of education. Yes, for 3-year-olds.

Acceptance was based on a lottery system. I signed up, buttered up the administrator to the best of my abilities, and left feeling hopeful but not certain of anything.

And then I visited a second preschool just to be safe. I walked in without an appointment, but the director happened to be available, and she showed me around.

We walked into a classroom of 3-year-olds. All the kids were giggling and playing with shaving cream that was spread on the tables in front of them. They weren’t working on computer programming; they were being kids. The director spoke to all the children and said, “It smells like Daddy in here.”

And here came the dilemma. My head still said academics, but my heart was saying the room smells like Daddy!

I guess we really did win the lottery by NOT winning the lottery for the first preschool. Somehow we managed to get a spot at St. Francis Preschool, and we’re thankful everyday. That one change turned a mere preschool into a family that has watched Madi grow up, has cheered for us or consoled us depending on where we were.

Indeed, sometimes it’s an incredible stroke of luck not to get what you think you want.

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