Wednesday, December 29, 2010


They are glorious creatures when treasured and treated correctly. We are given the opportunity by God to create a bond that can be so formidable it carries us through pimples, first kisses, husbands, births, deaths, and laundry.

This bond does not need blood lines to exist…

Jo has a daughter. All- American good looks. Feisty. Loyal. Affectionate.

Oh, and opinionated.

Maria and I immediately claimed her as our friend and she did the same with us. We were always together…talking, playing “college girls”, spying on our parents, talking, bossing the boys around, talking, performing dance recitals, and fort building. And did I mention talking?

We solved so many problems when we were together…just talking. We solved our parents’ problems, the boys’ immaturity issues, mean-teacher syndromes, bullies’ emotional repressions, and so on. We voiced our solutions regularly. I don’t know why no one ever listened to us.

Usually, creating a sisterly bond with someone who doesn’t live with you takes time. This one did not.

No matter how long we are a part, when we see each other again, we pick up right where we left off. Maria, Wendy, and I are blessed to have her.

She is a definite mix of contradictions. She would play outside in her best dress, prance around like a princess and then climb trees in the blink of an eye.

She loved make-up. And nail polish and jewelry. She had boyfriends by the time she was in the fourth grade. (And that was plural, by the way.)

She is wickedly smart, didn’t get grossed out when Jack split her finger in half, is not ashamed to show a little skin, and most of her favorite movies almost always have two guys fighting over one girl.

There is so much more to say, but instead of telling you, I will hopefully show you. Until then, here is a little dialogue for you:

“Let’s play college girls,” I say. “I’ll be Victoria!”

“I’ll be Maria!” my sister declares.

“I’ll be Hot Lips,” says our new sister. “No, just Hot.” A thoughtful look crosses her face. “No, just Lips.” More thinking. “No, Hot Lips.”

(She only used this name once. So, I’ll be nice and not change her name to Hot Lips.)

Usually, she was…Roxi.

Friday, December 17, 2010

You are so drop dead gorgeous!

Grace was the mother of two boys. Redheaded they were and I looked like their sister. It fooled people so much that often I was mistaken for Grace’s daughter.

The oldest of Grace’s children was probably the cutest kid I have ever seen.

Like I said, his hair was red. But, it curled just a little bit. And his eyes glowed with merriment and happiness and sometimes mischief. Give him a green top hat and you’ve got yourself the cutest Leprechaun ever!

He was the first peace maker. He was everyone’s friend and everyone’s comforter. He had the ability to get between me and Jack and steer us in some kind of direction, so we would make a decision.

(So, who was the real leader, I wonder?)

He never met a person he didn’t like. Everyone was worth knowing and he was awed by everyone he met.

He asked question, after question, after question. And he was always learning. Always making something.

The greatest thing he ever made was pure joy. Spend one minute with him and he made you feel good about yourself. Loved. Liked.

And apparently he had dreamy eyes and a killer smile. Wendy thought he was drop dead gorgeous! She wrote him her first love note in the first grade.

And, of course, he was ever so sweet to her.

So, he shall be called Gorgeous.

Inside and out, he always was and still is.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Fort That Jack Built

I am going to introduce my friends in order of birth. (Though, I am still the oldest.)

I was a loud child, boisterous when my feelings weren’t hurt, bossy as long as I knew I wasn’t hurting someone’s feelings, and always rarin’ to go.

I met my match when Jack came into my life.

Jack was just as boisterous, just as bossy, and just as ready to live life as I was. Consequently, we fought a lot.

I had ideas about what we should do for fun and so did he. And God help us if our ideas didn’t match. We would argue for probably 10 minutes, wasting precious play time, while our friends groaned and waited for us to make up our minds.

I won a lot.

But so did he because I was a tomboy and Jack loved to play games outside and build stuff. He would build forts in the empty lot next to his house. We would help…most of the time.

The girls didn’t like it when I let Jack win. (Let…he he he.) They weren’t tomboys and didn’t want to play Hide-And-Seek, or build forts. Maria was so annoying whenever we would play Hide-And-Seek. Whenever she was “it”, she would say she was tired and go back inside. It always stopped us from playing. (SO ANNOYING!)

When I won, we usually made the boys dance to the soundtrack from “American Graffiti”. I’m pretty sure the only reason why they are good dancers now is because we made them practice at such an early age.

Jack and I were the oldest and the ring leaders and we fought for control. But I couldn’t have thought up all the fun we had on my own. He is, without doubt, the best instigator of fun I have ever known. In this instance, he is a lot like his mother, Jo.

And though we argued, and I could make him pretty cotton pickin’ mad, we loved each other anyway. I wouldn’t have my driver’s license if it weren’t for him. My wedding reception would’ve been ruined if not for him.

And as adults, we can still fight. (You should see us play Charades.) But he is our protector. Our champion. And if I could steal a few lines from a song that reminds me of him…

“Nothing’s gonna harm you. No one’s gonna dare. Others may desert you, not to worry, whistle I’ll be there. Demons may charm you with a smile, for awhile, but in time…nothing can harm you, not while I’m around.

…they should show you exactly who Jack was and is.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Friends

I was not a shy child. Maria definitely was. Wendy definitely WAS NOT.

We complimented each other rather well and have made some lifelong friends because of our compliments. The three of us had a little bit of everything.

When we met our friends for the first time, Wendy was still cooing from her baby seat. She got passed around between Jo, Grace, and my mother. But she certainly watched us whenever we ran into her line of sight.

There were four new friends for us…three boys and one girl. With Wendy in the mix, we outnumbered the boys…thank God! Of course, Wendy wasn’t big enough to help out, yet, but we girls did pretty good.

Whatever the girls wanted to play was what the boys played. And even if the boys tried to make a stand and play without us, they almost always tried to mess up what we were playing. (Which meant they really couldn’t bear to play without us.)

It was cute when the boys tried to stand up to us, but eventually, they would always…

Rock Around The Clock!

(He, he, he.)

Stay tuned for their names…

Monday, November 8, 2010

Room At The Inn

There is always that one house where everything happens. For us, that house belonged to a family of four.

My dad met these very special friends at his RCIA classes. The wife was the one who always saved a seat for him. I am pretty sure she figured out really quick that Dad needed everything to be saved, including his seat.

I am going to call her Joseph. Jo, for short.

She reminds me of Joseph, Mary’s husband. She always does for everyone else, regardless of how it affects her. She takes a lick and keeps on ticking. Maybe I should think of her as the Energizer Bunny…

No…she’s Joseph.

Her house was where all the action happened. She always had room for everyone and made sure everyone had fun while they were under her roof. It was, in fact, a second home to me and my sisters.

Jo loves first, laughs second, and advises third. Her memory is long and very vivid. One of my favorite things to do was listen to her remember things from her childhood. It made me realize how very important my childhood would be to me. And I did my best to soak up as much of it as I could.

Jo had Halloween parties, and Christmas parties, and Easter egg hunts, and slumber parties, and Just-Because parties. Eventually, the younger girls got into the party planning and began to create their own parties.

One centered around training bras. (But that is another story for a later post.)

If I learned one thing from Jo, it was to pay attention to the people who crossed your path. You never know what gems you might discover hidden inside. And if you got stepped on, so what?

Mary’s husband had one of the most important roles of all. And he takes a back seat in the grand scheme of things. But, without Joseph, things would not have been as “right” as they were.

And that is who she is. A person whose heart and words making everything right.

Jo…a very small name for a larger than life heart.

But, she doesn’t have to wave around a flashy name to make her mark. She does it just by being in the room.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pretty Irish Girl

Did you know Sean Connery can sing? Not like Pavarotti, or Crosby, or Strait. But he can sing.

And his song reminds me of her…

My mother joined some ladies group at church and made a friend. She was the mother of two boys, very active, very fun, and red-headed.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, being a redhead is no easy task. And, top that with being the ONLY redhead in a family of five and you’ve got one sad girl who hated her hair. I blamed it on everything. If I stubbed my toe, it was because I was a redhead. If I got in trouble, it was because I was a redhead. If we couldn’t afford a toy from the store, it was because I was a redhead.

And it didn’t help that my younger sisters got a lot of attention from strangers. People would gush over them, saying how cute they were, how sweet. And while they grinned and giggled, I pouted and blamed it on my red hair. Boy, was I self-centered!

But then, one day, I met her…

We will call her Grace. It is one of my favorite Irish names. It comes from the name Grianne, meaning love. Which is a perfect way to describe her…grace and love.

I attached myself to her first because she was a redhead, and I knew no other person with hair the same color as mine. Then, she became someone to talk to, someone to share my deeper worries with. I didn’t trust many with my feelings. I was too afraid others wouldn’t care and wouldn’t listen.

Even if you don’t know what to say, one should always listen when one is sharing one’s feelings.

And she was very good at that. And very good at making me feel special.

And she made being a redhead look beautiful. Effortless. She gave me hope that one day I would wake up, and not remember that I was redheaded, that I would be able to step outside of the abyss that made me hate the way I looked.

There is nothing worse than obsessing over your own issues. You cannot enjoy others. You realize you are putting yourself first, and why in the world would you do that? God did not put us on this earth to love and worry about ourselves.

But she gave me hope. And as I got older, she taught without a single word, that yes, I was a redhead. And yes, it defined me. But it did not control me. Or my fate. And I was beautiful because of it, and in spite of it.

My Grace…

Thank you.

Sean Connery sings!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


The banty rooster has clucked his last cluck.

Maybe 3 to 1 wasn’t so bad, but now…there’s four of them in the house.


Imagine…always being in charge of your hen house…being able to cluck and flap all you want…and those hens had to take notice.

And then, without warning, the rooster cock-a-doodle-dos and…no one pays attention.
In fact, the hens appear to not even hear the rooster.

Did he crow? Who knows?

There are things to do, feathers to groom, topics to be discussed. Who has time for the macho rooster? What does he do for us anyway? Protect us from the fox?

The hens can scream their way out of any tight fix!

And so…the banty rooster pouts. And pouts some more.

But no one pays attention to his comforts any longer. He must evolve.

So, the macho rooster, in order to be heard by his hens, must his raise his wing to speak…and wait patiently to be noticed.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

December 2, 1979

I am now four and Maria is three. We live in a small Texas town on the San Jacinto River in a house with stairs, a galley kitchen, and four bedrooms, plus a TV/game room.

There is only one reason why a family of four needs a bigger house…


We’re going to call her Wendy. Not because she looked like Wendy, but because that’s the nick name I gave her. (It rhymed with her real name. Well, if you put a “y” at the end of her real name. For some reason I always put a “y” at the end of people’s names.)

I remember going to the hospital to see her. She was very small.

She had black hair and blue eyes, and could cry like nobody’s business! That girl had it all figured out in no time. Cry, and you get what you want. Smile, and people adore you. Giggle, and people give you things.

Her blue eyes and her smile melted hearts right and left.

Maria and I were quite excited to have another sister. We were very proud and told everyone about her. It was like we were the ones who’d endured 30 hours of labor, plus fierce kicks during contractions. And if you know Wendy, you know how fierce she can be!

But…I was worried.

Maria and I were so much more talented than she was! I mean, we could walk, and talk, and we could certainly feed ourselves. Why was it taking Wendy so long to learn all that? I mean, certainly, one should be able to walk before one is six months old!

At four, I didn’t understand that growing up takes time. Time…and patience.

And while she learned to walk and talk (boy howdy can she talk!), I always worried about her. She was having to follow in our footsteps, and if she didn’t achieve what we had…

Oh, how it hurt my heart to think of her sadness!

But…I needn’t have worried so much.

Her star burned brighter than our’s ever did. And it was a glorious light.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Order Up: One Staircase

As I mentioned earlier, when my parents went house-hunting , I ordered one with stairs. When you’re young it was always fun to explore different houses, and having one with stairs made the exploration an adventure.

And my parents understood that. So I got a house with stairs.

I think they preferred the extra bedrooms.

The house was painted avocado green. It went nicely with our avocado green fridge.

It had four bedrooms downstairs and only one room upstairs. It was a really big room. At least 30 cartwheels worth! To my upset, this was not going to be my bedroom. We put the TV up there instead.

I consoled myself with acrobatic exercises on the stairs. There weren’t any risers on the steps, so I could slide through the steps and hang upside down. It was pretty cool.

We would hang there forever and let the blood rush into our heads. I’m sure our parents were excited to know the stairs provided such an interesting service. When they were house hunting, I’m certain they said, “Let’s buy this house so the girls can hang upside down from the stairs!”

At almost four, I certain that’s what my parents had intended.

At thirty five, I’m not so sure anymore.

It is probably more likely that they were counting bedrooms. Apparently, we were going to need the space…

Friday, August 13, 2010


The center of it all.

My parents were hoping it would become the touchstone of our family, and it did, but it took time. All really good things take time.

We joined a small Catholic church where my mom became a member of the choir. My dad wasn’t Catholic at the time, so he went through the classes. He took Thomas as his confirmation name. It fits him perfectly…a doubting Thomas he was.

He had four sponsors…which is also a good thing. He needed a lot of people to keep him quiet when the priest said something he didn’t agree with. My dad is a pistol. His mother called him her “banty rooster” because there wasn’t much he wouldn’t challenge. He has no fear.

I am like my father in many ways.

Dad finished his classes and became Catholic and I would have to say, he is more of a Catholic than I am. (He still rolls his eyes when the priest says something “stuuupid”. At least no one has to slam a hand over his mouth any longer!)

It was while Dad was going through his classes that he met a very special family. The wife of this union saved his seat for him before every class. Knowing her as I do now, she was probably praying every day that Dad would show up. She knew he needed God more than most people.

My mom jumped into every organization head first. She sang, helped with the nursery, and joined some kind of ladies’ group. It was the ladies’ group that introduced her to one very special family. The wife of this union was to become very important to me.

So, we were now members of this small church, hoping to form friendships, praying for this new place to become our home, but unable to fathom how wonderful it would all become.

At almost four, I wasn’t that impressed. I couldn’t believe I was having to waste precious daylight for the pleasure of sitting, kneeling, and standing. And sitting, kneeling, and standing some more.

I did like the music. I sang as loud as possible.

And…according to Maria, I needed to go and beg for forgiveness for killing her blanket. It was one of the commandments, she informed me imperiously.

I thought, what was the big deal? Mom sewed the thing back together, I told her…as I rolled my eyes.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oh, The Horror!

Maria calls it murder.

I call it...the incident...

Scissors are an amazing tool. You can take something larger and make it smaller in one slice. So, one piece of paper can become two…and then three.
You can also cut out the pictures you draw. Hearts, flowers, shapes…

It was astounding.

While cutting out pictures and cutting paper in half required skill, I decided I needed a much bigger challenge. Anyone can cut paper, you know.

As I stood at the desk, the sun streaming down onto my beautifully cropped pictures, I turned and saw Maria standing at the china hutch. She was still in her pajamas.

Her pajamas were really quite pretty. The gown was white, with pink flowers and there was a pink ribbon tied around her waist. But one side was rather long. It was so long, in fact, that it was trailing the ground. Hmmm…

Maria had her back to me, and I, impressed with my abilities, and looking to expand my talents, walked up behind her and…cut her ribbon in half.

She turned around and was quite shocked to see half of her ribbon lying on the ground.

“Kara,” she exclaims, “why did you cut my ribbon?!”

I didn’t answer her question, instead asking my own. “Let me see your blanket.”


“Just let me see it.”

(Remember, I am a genius. Everything I did was awesome.)

So, the innocent that she was, she hands it over. I, without an ounce of guilt, cut her blanket in half.

Her scream rips through the quiet of the early morning. I killed her blanket, she cries!

I look at her like she’s an idiot because…blankets aren’t alive.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flyin' South For The Summer

The summer before I turned four, we moved to a town south of the San Jacinto (a moment of silence, please), and north of Houston.

We lived in an apartment for a short time while our parents looked for a house. I ordered one with stairs…

Maria and I got the master bedroom in this apartment. It was HUGE! I could do 16 cartwheels from one end to the other. Can you believe that???

(You don’t really believe that, do you?)

Well, they were cartwheels performed by a confident three-year-old.

The china hutch came with us, as did all of our toys, thank goodness. I was worried they would get lost in the move.

We quickly investigated all the fun things to do in our area. There was a Mexican food restaurant that put candy in the bottom of the chip basket...I approved of this place.

There was the Ice Cream Emporium, where I ate my first egg salad sandwich, and several hundred vanilla cones. Blue Bell, of course. I approved of this place.

And, there was…wait for it…a POOL! I also, if you don’t already know, approved of this place.

So, surprise candy, egg salad, Blue Bell, and a pool…pretty nice. And I still don’t understand why that other town is so danged famous…

Maria and I thought we were in Heaven. Good food, relaxin’ by the pool, a huge room (with our own bathroom, by the way), and all our toys. Life was good.

Until……the night was shattered by an ear-splitting scream...


Dun, dun, dun...

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I do not hate this color at all. In fact, I think it is quite beautiful. But it certainly gave me much pain for several years.

I have red hair.

My parents have black hair. So does Maria.

No one, and I do mean no one else, has red hair in my family.

Why is that all famous orphans have red hair? Annie, Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, and Tom Sawyer have red hair. I’ve even seen Oliver played by people with strawberry blonde hair. Why do they all have red hair?

It was a cause of concern for me. Was I an orphan?

My mother and father reassured me I was not, but it wasn’t like you could explain the birds and the bees to an almost three year old. And my dad had some kind of joke about it. It goes like this…

“Do you know why Kara has red hair?”

“Because I was a little rusty.”


I get that joke now. I didn’t get it when I was younger, thank God!

Anyway, my red hair was absolutely one of the more tragic things in my life. First of all, no dolls were made with red hair. Second, it was thick and coarse and impossible to tame. And third, it was the color of carrots.

Just like Anne said. Carrots. She and I are truly kindred spirits.

Monday, August 2, 2010

"Get to" and "Have to"

Two-year olds are expected to begin having a relationship with the toilet. No more diapers. No more care-free days. It is time to become responsible, to allow something besides your own imagination control parts of your day.


So, my mother introduced me to the toilet and he and I did NOT get along. How dare he make me stop playing! How dare he make me consider that there are other things to think about besides follow-the-leader! I was very put-out.

And lucky Maria didn’t have to worry about this at all! She was allowed to go right on thinking that the world was her’s to command! And here I sat on something so cold and hard and quite boring.

The person who said being the oldest child was better than being the middle child, or the baby, was an idiot. The reason I have no qualms using such harsh language is because this idiot is assuming that the oldest child actually WANTS to go first. The idiot also assumes that going first is easy and fun and empowering.

How can I disagree with this logic? (If you can call it that.)

Going first means you don’t have ANYONE to talk to about your experience. There is no one around to give you advice. No one is available to sympathize with you, or show compassion for, let’s see…starting school first, going to middle school first, getting your license first, graduating first. These are all very hard things to do when you have no one to show you how to do it.

I’m sure some of you are saying, “What about your parents?”.

I was their first child. I was their guinea pig. I was the “trial-run”. Even getting financial aid for the first time was an ordeal because my parents were learning how to apply for it at the same time I was!

Anyway, here is where I clarify “have to” and “get to”. Those younger than me always said, “Kara gets to go to school and I don’t! Kara gets to drive and I don’t! Kara gets to graduate from the eighth grade and have a special party and I don’t!”

I would like to turn all of those “get tos” into “have tos”, if you don’t mind.

There is also the matter of being a “tough act to follow”. The eighth grade party I mentioned earlier had to be done for Maria. But since we’d already had one, I believe it lost its special glow. (Not for me, mind you. I was very happy to see Maria reach her “rite of passage”.)

But for Maria, I think, sometimes, she was disappointed that reaching her milestones didn’t seem as special. (Even though they were and she better not argue with me!)

So, there I was going through something I found absolutely horrible, and Maria seemed to think it was great. She thought it was so great, that she actually began using the potty herself. At that time, anything I did, she wanted to do. Remember, I was a genius.

Maria was potty trained at ten months. I wasn’t done until I was three.

And so begins a pattern of the first child “having to” do something and the second child “getting to” do it, too. Because waiting was just…OUT OF THE QUESTION.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The China Hutch

My granddad made a china hutch for my mother. I don’t know how old she was when he gave it to her, but she was probably no more than six years old.

A six year old that needed a china hutch…

If you know my mother it doesn’t surprise you that even as young as she was, she needed a place to house her china. It was an elaborate place setting. She had serving trays to go along with her cups and saucers, tea pot and sugar bowl. Each dish had a wide, pale pink stripe and there were flowers on the stripes. (I think they were blue flowers.)

I can imagine her perfectly, pouring her tea for her Madeline doll, her manners impeccable, never breaking a single dish. She was a girl’s girl.

Let’s fast forward twenty years and go back to that playroom I told you about. It housed several toys, along with her china hutch. Yes, it was handed down to her daughters in mint condition and I know she was so excited to share it.

I’m sure she imagined us loving it as much as she had, taking care of all of our tea sets (ours were plastic because I couldn’t be trusted with breakable objects), and enjoying many hours of pouring and polite conversation with dolls that didn’t talk back.

No such luck…

I know exactly what I used the hutch for and it certainly wasn’t for setting up dishes with flowers on them!

When your mother tells you to go clean up the playroom, I found that the hutch came in REALLY handy. It had two shelves enclosed by double doors and, how convenient, you could shove all the toys in there! Cleaning up was a breeze!

And Maria thought I was a genius, so she was shoving toys inside with me.

So, when Mom checked on us and saw a clean playroom and she asked if we were finished and if all the toys were in the right place… I said, “Yep!”.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my first lie.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mead Foot

That was the name of the street we lived on in that ridiculously famous city. It is a British name. Mead Foot…

I thought it was Meat Foot. Well…I was only two when we lived there.

I can still remember the house.

There was a small entry that opened up directly into the living room. To your immediate left was a hallway that took you to three bedrooms. The first one on the left was our playroom. (This is where I told my first lie.)

The second one on the left was our bedroom. I shared a room with Maria. There was a lot of giggling. And after my parents would say good night and turn out the light, I would promptly get out of bed, climb the yellow shelves, turn on the light, and jump into Maria’s bed as quickly as I could.

And then my parents would come down the hallway, put me back in my bed, turn off the light and tell me to go to sleep. This was, of course, repeated several times a night. Eventually, I learned to just leave the light off. This way I could sleep with her and my parents wouldn’t know until the morning.

(I don’t think they minded.)

Back to the living room…

There was a piano on the wall next to the front door and two sofas. The sofas had huge red flowers on them. (I decided then that I didn’t like large floral patterned things.)

As you walked into the living room, the kitchen was to your right. We had an avocado green fridge. And there was only room enough for the kitchen table.
And that’s it. That was our house. One living area, three small bedrooms, and a kitchen only slightly bigger than your half bath. But it was gigantic to me.

And it was here where I learned how to lie, that the color red was going to cause problems, and that giggling was loads of fun.

Monday, July 12, 2010

October 14, 1976

I was exactly fourteen months old on this day. I have no recollection of it, but it was the first “most important” day in my life apparently.

It was the day she was born.

Her name is…well…let’s call her…Maria. She was born on a Thursday, in a city that is famous for no reason at all. Living in Texas for thirty four years still hasn’t provided me with any insight into why that city became so famous. But…nevertheless…it is. And we shall endure it.

Maria has black hair, as do her parents, brown eyes, like her father, and an angelic face that prompted the nickname “china doll” by a particularly special person.

She was born with the cord around her neck, quite lucky to have lived through the birth, and was brought to a small house of a stay-at-home mother and a hard-working father.

That fourteen month old, Kara is my name, (But when I was younger, I preferred Victoria. Isn’t it a grand and feminine-sounding name?), is red-headed, lively, and already talking. I knew not what to expect when my mother and father came home, but I surely hadn’t planned on a sister.

What is a sister anyway, I wondered?

Well, holy cow, it was a baby doll that actually moved!! So forget those fake ones!

And she cried, too! And if you smiled just right or made the right noises, she might smile and coo back at you. And you could bring your mother a diaper when she needed to be changed and chatter at her to keep her from moving all over the place. Of course, you didn’t know you were inadvertently helping your mother by chattering, you just chattered. Because certainly this little sister wanted to hear everything you had to say.

She would also, of course, want to do everything you would want to and play with every toy you thought worthy of your time.

But it wouldn’t be long before I understood that, while a little sister provided me with better entertainment than any toy I’d encountered thus far, she was someone I would share my life with. Someone I would grow up with. Someone I would love. And, most importantly, someone I would learn from…as long as I had the wisdom to believe it and the courage to admit it.