Sparked by Words

Suzie 81 Speaks compiled a list of her “favorites,” the kinds of Life Experiences that enrich our lives, and asked us to share ours. I started to write what I thought would be a short list but at close to 450 words, realized it was time to stop hogging her space and fill my own.

Too big for one blog post, it will be split in two. Today’s post is about Extraordinary Events. Come back on Thursday, June 26 for the second round, Extraordinary Places.

I’d love you to share your Life Experiences, either in the comments section below or on your own blog site. I told Suzie, You may just have started something big – not like you haven’t done so before! ❤

Shari’s Life Experiences – just a smidge of a full closet:

Extraordinary Events:

ABNA: Reached the quarter-finalist position (within the top 250 out of 5000 submissions) for my novel The Inlaid Table in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough American Novel competition. Each step was a thrill. Even not going all the way to New York for the grand prize, I was still elated by my success. This was my first book but not my last. I will see it to publication one day.

Awarded a Freshly Pressed badge from WordPress. I’d only been blogging a few months and didn’t yet know about the controversy surrounding the badge. I didn’t even know what the award was and had to call a friend to explain. I’m deeply honored by this award. The article, That’s All Folks, posted on July 25, 2013 on Today’s Author, where I am one of a team of writers. I re-posted the article on this blog as well, on August 5, 2013.

Started this blog, Sharon Bonin-Pratt’s Ink Flare, on August 1, 2013. Nearly a year. Thank you, readers. You are the reason I’m here. Come on back, now, and invite your friends and family.

The day my dad graduated from medical school. Mom and I sat near the back of the auditorium where all of the black gowned men (they were all men that year) looked like my daddy and I bugged my mom about each one, Is that Daddy? She said no to each until she pointed out my dad crossing the stage – and I didn’t believe her. Just didn’t look like him. Then hundreds of mortarboards flew in the air like black crows rousted from lunch.

The day I graduated from college. No one sent me a card, I didn’t attend the ceremony, but I knew what I’d achieved and was both proud and relieved. It was a hard slog through academia, one that I had to pause several times, usually for lack of funds, and I wish I’d earned better grades. Still, I made it. Worked hard to get there, worked hard after I left the hallowed halls. Now I tell every young person I know: Get as much education as you can while you’re young. Hard as it is, it does not get easier later.

Our wedding day. A simple garden ceremony with a small group of close friends and some family, wearing a homemade dress, the man I loved by my side, exchanging vows we wrote ourselves. We are still together. I will tell you that marriage is not easy and it doesn’t work without a whole lot of compromise, forgiveness, looking the other way, and growing up. But I am so pleased I am still married to this man. He is a good man.

The days each of our sons were born – a whole chapter here, but suffice to note that they were the times I felt closest to being part of the act of creation. Those newborns in my arms – the weariness left, the joy burst open in my hands. Never a day’s regret. I always told my kids: I never sacrificed one thing for you. Every single thing I ever gave you, I wanted you to have. What I didn’t tell them is that I wanted to give them more. They have made me so proud, but more – they are such wonderful men and now we are friends as well.

The days our grandchildren were born and the first time I got to hold each of them. Boy, girl, boy. Some say the gift of grandparents is that you can give them back anytime. That isn’t it for me at all. It’s the joy of my own children all over again but I am not nervous and anxious this time. It’s holding my sons in my arms once more.

The San Francisco Peace March in November, 1969. An idealistic college student, I thought that we could end the war in Vietnam by rallying a quarter million people in Golden Gate Park, the Pacific gateway to the United States. I felt so big as part of that pulsing crowd. We were wrong about forcing an end to the war, but we weren’t wrong about the need to end the war.

Danced in The Nutcracker Ballet. I loved ballet, loved being in ballet shoes and lacy tutu, the flowers in my hair, the gorgeous music. Felt pretty, graceful, and I danced a full one inch above the stage, like every little ballerina. I still know how to bow.

The first time I sold a piece of art. It wasn’t much money-wise but the thrill – the surprise that someone wanted to pay me for my art – priceless. Beyond a credit card’s wildest dreams. Even beyond mine.

Every time one of my art students won an accolade or a top prize or elected a profession related to art – I helped that child realize his dream, and I take a bow in the shadows. I also applaud those kids – loudly.

Murals painted in some public and private places. Was paid for some, did a lot of work for each, proud each time I catch someone looking.

The schools I’ve been privileged to work for. I especially loved the kids and my colleagues. They made each day worth the long hours and aggravating nonsense that accompanies teaching.

The last years of my parents’ lives. My dad passed nearly 5 years ago, but I visit my mom several times a week. We have made peace with a difficult past and the love is genuine, my presence in their lives finally, truly appreciated. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a lifetime to make peace in the home.

Completed three novels. Big accomplishment, I’ve been told. Twelve years of writing. The first twelve. Yeah, I did that. Wearing my shades. Popping my buttons. And I’m strutting mighty tall. Now I just gotta get ‘em published – but that will happen too.

People have been an integral part of each experience. My world is enriched by all of you, extraordinary, each and every one.

Comments on: "O What a Life, Part I, Extraordinary Events" (4)

  1. That is a long list, Shari. Didn’t know a lot of this–like your Dad graduated men school? Lots of brains in your gene pool.


    • My paternal grandfather was the eldest in his family of 5 kids, my dad was the eldest in his family of 5 kids, and I am the first of my generation on both sides of my family, as is my first son. My dad was also the first in the family to graduate from college and went on to become a family physician. Thank you for the comment.


  2. Bravo, Shari! I greatly enjoyed reading about your accomplishments as well as those of your family. What a great post!


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