The Lucky Charm Who Changed My Life Forever
As lucky charms go, mine is not shy.
“Daryn, you should write a column about me,” she strongly suggested this week.
Since she is the one who, I believe, changed my life for the best ever, hers is a request I’m sure to fulfill.
So here goes.
She showed up at one of those low times.
One of those, feel sorry for myself, this is never going to get better, I’m on verge of getting bitter, Pity Party for One, kind of low times.
Dear Reader, you’ve had one or six of those times yourself, yes?
My Low Time
For me, it was about being well into my 40’s. No marriage. No kids. Just plenty of lonely.
For my life long best friend, it was about doing the best thing possible. Turning off the spigot of listening, compassion, and understanding.
“I think you’d like this,” the email said. Along with a link to the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
Volunteer? Give a few hours a month of my precious time to take on someone else’s drama and challenges?
“What do I need that for?” I asked full of doubt.
“Because you do,” Best Friend replied.
No world famous doctor has ever written a better prescription.
A Great Match Is Made
So I met my Lucky Charm when she was 8 years old. An adorable package of ponytails and knowing brown eyes that devoured every book she could get her hands on.
We started slow.
Baking cookies led to movies, which led to sleepovers. Which led to jumping off the high dive at the pool. Which led to her first plane ride.
“Daryn,” she chided me that first time in the airport. “You said this was an airport!”
“Uh, yeah,” I replied not knowing where this was going.
“But, it’s also a train station, a shopping mall and an art gallery!” she exclaimed with such excitement at all she was experiencing.
It didn’t take long to realize she sees things I do not.
“What is the best part of having a Big Sister?” the form asked during our second year together.
Would it be the cookies? The movies? The trips?
“She makes me feel safe,” she wrote in her 9-year-old printing.
It took this kid, this tiny package of energy, to show me my life could be so much more than a lonely Sunday night.
Someone opens and explodes your heart like that there’s no going back. Lucky Charm stretched my heart to make room for the dreams I thought I had, but really hadn’t been ready for.
The Magic Grows
Exactly one year after the day I met my Lucky Charm I met the man who is now my husband and the girl who is now my daughter.
I can’t see how.
Somehow, the four of us have melded into this Modern Family. No one looks alike. We have three different last names.
Five years later, Lucky Charm is now a teenager which means, uh, yeah, I’m not quite sure who we’re going to get every other weekend when we have her.
Funny, quirky, still looking at the world in an amazing way Girl. Or moody nothing I do is right, but I had better not ever give a single thought about leaving her side Girl.
The days of cookies and simple sleepovers seem long ago and so innocent.
Times Have Changed
These days we spend endless hours applying to private high schools and scholarships for next year. Because no kid deserves to go to a school with a 40% graduation rate.
Certainly, not my Lucky Charm.
Now, what gets me down is that it’s acceptable for a brilliant kid to go to a school where it’s just understood 60% of the students will drop out.
So we fill out forms, and wait. Who will give Lucky Charm her big opportunity? This kid is going places.
“She’s so lucky to have you,” people tell me when they see us together.
“She’s lucky, alright,” I agree. “She’s my lucky. My Lucky Charm. She changed my world for the best. It’s all I can do to help change hers.”
I share my Lucky Charm with you today, well, because she asked.
And maybe, just maybe, you’re in the middle of your own ongoing pity party.
The answer, I promise you, is not in your wallowing. It’s in your lucky charm. She’s out there.
As my best friend was once brave enough to say to me, “Enough. I think you’d really like this.”
Go find a place to open your heart.
I bet I’m not alone in this. Do you have a Lucky Charm who changed your life? I’d love to hear about yours.
Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.