Back when I was born, a movie was made called It’s a Wonderful Life. It was panned back in its time as not being very good, but the years were kind to it, and it became a classic movie watched by millions every holiday season. I’ve probably seen it over 50 times and still love it.
It’s the story of a guy named George Bailey who dreamed of leaving the small town he grew up in to travel and see the world. Of course, unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that George’s life didn’t turn out that way. At one point in the movie he is in such despair that he contemplates suicide only to be saved by an angel who shows him, when George states that everyone would be better off if he hadn’t ever been born, what life would have been like for those people he had touched had he not been born.
For some reason, this thought started building in my brain about what life would have been like had I not been born. For one thing, my mom and dad wouldn’t have welcomed a second daughter like me. My sister wouldn’t have had a little sister to whop up side of the head, and my baby brother wouldn’t have had a second mom. I always claimed him as my own.
My mom might not have run into the French Commandant in Morocco because she wouldn’t have taken me to the doctor’s office on the base because I was sick. The French Commandant would not have patted a little tow-headed girl on the head who promptly stuck her tongue out at him. And the Commandant’s little driver wouldn’t have jumped up and down on the side of the road, nor would the whole French army come out in force to see what all the commotion was about had I not been born.
Our little dog wouldn’t have jumped out of the car window and run around barking like crazy. In fact, my family might not have even had that particular little dog if I had not been born.
My mother probably wouldn’t have made a yellow fairy outfit with tissue covered hangers for wings so that I could run around the May pole on May Day at school. My sister wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a yellow fairy costume. Besides, the teachers and kids in the school wouldn’t have had a little girl to laugh at when the costume came unraveled and I danced anyway in my underwear.
Twin girls named Carol and Nancy Wilson would never have known me as their best friend in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades in Shreveport, Louisiana. We never would have been chased by that neighborhood bulldog, and kids wouldn’t have ever roasted bubble gum on a stick over a bonfire because I invented that activity…had I not been born.
A small dark haired girl named Marga, my best friend in Kansas would never have known me. We would have never twirled 10 Hula hoops together at the same time on our arms, legs, neck, and around our waists. We would have never put on our key skates and spent lazy summer afternoons perfecting our techniques on those skates as we sped down sidewalks and streets. We would have never stood in a blizzard waiting for our school bus. Kids went to school in Kansas no matter what.
Someone else would have won the “who’s wearing the most crinolines” contest in the sixth grade because I wouldn’t have been born. Mrs. Morrison, my 7th grade math teacher, would never been defeated at multiplication problems. I have never forgotten that I was a fast multiplier and beat her every Friday.
William Stanhope Foster the IV would never have come to my house and handed my mother a pair of wet socks had I not been born. He would not have been driving in the rain to my house to pick me up for a date, and he would not have run off the road in a ditch. My dad would not have had to pull him out of the ditch. He was too young to date my sister.
The 8th grade classes at Calhoun Jr. High School, better known as Strain’s Academy would never have known a young teacher full of ideas, ready to save the world. Mrs. Strain never would have commented about my short skirts and off the wall actions because I never was born. No principal would have ever stopped me in the hall asking for a hall pass especially since I was the teacher!
A really cute guy driving a white Corvette never would have met a short blond teacher fresh out of college ready to get on with her life because I never would have been born. He might have married that stewardess and flown the friendly skies instead of vowing to never get on another plane.
I never would have held a beautiful baby girl and three beautiful baby boys in my arms had I not been born because they never would have been born. And that means that my beautiful grandson and granddaughter would not have been born either. And that would have been very sad for the world because my kids and grandkids are fantastic people.
So, I’m pretty much glad I was born. I’m glad that all the thousands of people I have met, known, didn’t like so much, pretty much despised, and loved with all my heart and soul have been a part of my life.
Never wish that you had never been born. It is simply too mind boggling to imagine. That angel was right.
- Coleen Brooks