Wally was up and willingly out the door yesterday by 0715. School starts for him today and I hope it’s the beginning of a four or five year career feeding his other passion. It’s almost uncanny how identical our paths are. He called me today and said something I could have said about my own inner city school: “I’m the youngest and the only white kid in the class.” Fortunately, Wally grew up in a different time and place. It shames me now to admit I was a little frightened to be the minority @ school. I think that initial fear of those who were different from me is why I always worked in the grittiest hospitals.
The last two years have been hard for him; a false start and having to reframe everything he had wanted since he was about fourteen. I remember that lost feeling just after I went down in a sea of flames my first year out of high school. I spent the next year more or less aimlessly and then started school the summer before my friends were all Junior’s in college. It was humbling to realize I had “wasted” two years. But I made it and found my way to a career I’m frankly ready to walk away from but it has served me well for almost 30 years and has kept us off the streets and out of a homeless shelter. But it’s still easy for me to get caught up in a spiral of worry when I think about Wally and his lack of direction. I have to remind myself how similar our paths are because I’ve broken way too many strands of pearls with all the yanking and clutching.