Madison hadn’t given junior high much thought. She wasn’t curious or concerned. That is, until the school counselor stopped by last week to chat with the fifth graders and put their minds at ease. Well, Maddie's mind was not at ease.
“Oh my gosh, I’m gonna get lost!”
I lowered the volume on the radio, listening to the conversation in the backseat of the van.
“No you’re not.” Taylor snatched a paper off Madison’s lap. She grabbed a marker, popped off the cap and started scribbling. “Look, all of your classes are right down this hallway. Your locker will be here, and the gym is right there.”
“Depends on what you gotta do,” Taylor said.
“Are the teachers nice? What about PE? Where do I keep my PE clothes? Where do I change my PE clothes?”
Over the next few minutes, Taylor shared valuable wisdom about all things related to junior high. Finally, she turned to her sister and offered the most heart-warming words of encouragement.
“Stop worrying already. You’re gonna be fine.”
I fought back a smile. Apparently those tender words were exactly what Madison needed. She shoved the map in her bag and changed the subject.
This kind of stuff warms a momma’s heart. You know, big sister helping little sister. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Taylor had walked this path a couple years ago. Today she’s just a little further down the road.
It reminds me of a time when I was heading into unknown territory: writing for publication. I’d had one story published in a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book. Our local paper interviewed me and another writer from our area.
I googled her name, Shawnelle Eliasen, and stumbled across her website. I was impressed (and a wee bit jealous) as I scrolled down a long list of published stories. Many of them in publications I had dreamed of writing for. Like Guideposts Magazine. I had submitted a story to Guideposts several months earlier for their writer’s contest. While browsing her website, I discovered that Shawnelle had won a previous contest!
For five months I stalked her – I mean, read her blog. Then one morning something amazing happened. Guideposts called. I had won the contest! I was beyond excited. In a couple of months, I would fly to Port Orchard, Washington for their week-long writers’ workshop. I’d get to meet (and learn from) several of their editors.
I was nervous and excited - and desperate to know what to expect. So desperate, in fact, that I did something completely out of character. I contacted Shawnelle and asked if she would be willing to talk with me about her writing journey.
To my delight, she graciously accepted. She welcomed me into her home with a warm smile and a cup of hot tea. That evening we talked, laughed and shared our stories. And I knew Shawnelle understood how I felt. She had walked this path several years before. She was just a little further down the road.
At the end of the night, she gave me a hug and some wonderful words of encouragement. “You were chosen from thousands. It’s going to be great. You’re just going to love it.”
Or as my daughter might say, “Stop worrying already. You’re gonna be fine.”
Either way, it was exactly what I needed.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week.