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MOMMY MUSINGS Revisit Your Life List
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This is not the life I envisioned for myself.

I know to some this may seem to be a strange way to start a column as we ring in the New Year, however, I also realize there are many reading these words and becoming intrigued. Simply put - I know I'm not the only one living a life opposite of the one that I once felt was my destiny.

Over 25 years ago I wrote my first 'life list.' My timeline for achievements neatly laid out, my life plan awaiting checkmarks.

Living in a suburb just 30 minutes south of San Francisco, the hustle and bustle of city life called my name. That first life list read something like this: Attend FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York; intern with Ford Modeling Agency; work with Liz Claiborne, Incorporated; buy a loft (in New York, of course); adopt three children; hire a nanny and live happily ever after.

Meeting my future husband and giving birth to my own children were not part of the equation. Raised by a single mother with a biological father that was totally absent from my life, I learned quite early to be a strong independent woman. Somehow this upbringing taught me that a companion is a nice bonus in life. A companion would not complete me, make me a better person or be the only way I would find happiness in life.

I remember my mom sharing with me the ideal of not spending my life looking for that perfect man and when and if I met him to then just consider myself fortunate.

Fortunately, while attending college (in Sacramento, not New York) I did meet a young man, who would eventually become my husband. And while my 'life plan' had already gone somewhat off course, my union to my husband set it completely off track.

Of course, 'life plan' revisions ensued, but it occurred to me recently that the life I am actually living could not have been further off from the one I initially envisioned.

Twenty-five years later, I am a wife and a mother who works for a newspaper and lives in the country just six miles east of a small town in California. Not a single one of these things appeared on that initial list. However, oddly enough, there is not a moment that passes that I do not feel as if I have landed exactly where I am supposed to be.

In this 'small' town, I have found bright smiles and big hearts. Kindred spirits who perhaps have an early life list contradictory to the one they are living, but exuberantly live each day as it was intended.

Several years ago a wise person said to me, "Don't you know there is always our plan and God's plan. We like to think we are in control, but in the end God's plan always trumps everything else."

I am not a religious person, I do have faith and I do live a spiritual life - but I must say this comment caught me off guard. At the time it was shared, my husband and I were struggling with the fact that starting a family was not as easy for us as it was for our family and friends.

Through time, patience and many doctors appointments we became blessed with not one, but two children. I refer to them as our two fine wines. Jackson, our oldest, is our red, he took six years to find his way to us, while his sister Madelyn, our white wine, only took three. Vintage aside, they are both unbelievable and unimaginable blessings.

So, where am I going with all this, now becomes the question. The answer to that is actually quite simple. As we embark upon yet another New Year and many commiserate over what they will improve or change in the coming year, reflect upon your 'life list.' Perhaps you never wrote it down, but we all remember our dreams, our goals, our visions.

Then, and only then, stop and take in the life you are living, not for what it isn't but for all that it is. While much of it may not have been your plan - perhaps it was your destiny all along.

Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.