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Our Christmas/New Year’s/Winter Break holiday was less than optimal this go around.  W. fell ill with a fever and sore throat combo on Monday, which morphed into hives by Friday and in the span of one week necessitated three doctor’s office visits. R. had his impacted wisdom teeth removed two days after Christmas, which resulted in some interesting moments for him and for us.  When New Year’s Eve Day rolled around, I was itching to get out of the house and run some errands, leaving my loving family to lounge in their pjs and catch a break from my incessant nagging.  Cabin fever is real.

My list contained grocery items (lemons, french bread, hot sauce), sparkling grape juice for toasting at midnight, and doggie odor neutralizer. Not a lot of fun, I’ll admit. As I made my way to the Frank’s Red Hot, a box of fortune cookies caught my eye.  Into my basket they went. Except I didn’t have a basket; I have developed a habit of going into the store for a few things and exiting the store balancing many, many items. In fact, last summer I carried 90 pounds of VCT tile from the back of Home Depot to the register because I was in a hurry and didn’t need a cart.  Alas, I digress.  The fortune cookies tucked nicely between my chin and piled-high arms, and were ushered into our home for part of the NYE festivities.

We opened the fortune cookies and laughed at the absurdity of some.  Soon you will be sitting on top of the world.  This weekend will bring you a surprise. Yawn.  Then I opened mine.  You have prepared well.  Your opportunity is coming.  That old familiar stomach-twisting feeling came rushing back.

Fortune cookies and horoscopes and tarot cards have different meanings to everyone.  One thing is universal, though – we can’t help but see what we want in them.  It’s an irresistible urge for order, to make sense of what is messy or out of control or just wishful thinking.  Desperate for a sign? You will find glimmers everywhere you look.

There have been times in my life when I was really planning for something.  Reaching adulthood. College.  A wedding. Graduate school.  Jobs. Babies. Marathons. Pets. School activities. But it’s been a long time since I felt like I was functioning on a plan other than just keeping my shit together.  (Working full time and attempting to meet a family’s needs is hard work). I am taking this little glimmer-of-a-message as the confirmation that this newborn journaling practice is p-r-e-p-a-r-a-t-i-o-n.

You have prepared well. Your opportunity is coming.

Here’s the kicker: your opportunity is always coming.  Time marches forward.  The trees go full and green, whispery and russet, naked and lonely, and then green again. Opportunities come every day and sometimes they are thinly veiled as choices.  Have you prepared?  Have you prepared well?