Ten years ago, I was waddling down the streets of DC– 9 months pregnant and ready to pop! I had no idea what the next decade would have in store for me, and let me be honest it turned out nothing like what I had imagined.
Joking with the anesthesiologist at Sibley as we sat and watched the World Series, my only real concern back then was whether my son would be delivered without any complications, and thankfully everything turned out just fine after just 8 hours of labor. Everyone kept commenting on how I pulled through like a champ, and there was already talk about the next time, and all I could think was OMG people, let’s not skip ahead– I just want to enjoy this moment.
As I laid in the recovery room with my newborn, there was such an amazing sense of joy coupled with an overwhelming sense of responsiblity. Life as I knew it was about to drastically change– it was no longer just about my own needs and desires, now there was a little one that would be relying on me for his survival. I knew I could deal with the daily tasks, but I had a far greater concern that is best explained in a wonderful passage that is often quoted from the Prophet, which basically states that a child is like the arrow and the parent is the bow. If you want that arrow to fly straight and hit the mark, you have to keep the bow steady. The truth is that deep down, I had no idea if I could keep the bow steady.
I did not have a “normal” childhood. Let’s face it, I have not had a typical life at all. I grew up poor with an immigrant single mom, and the odds were not in my favor at an early age. Yet somehow I learned to speak English quickly, and I moved up in the academic rankings, as well as in the world of competitve gymnastics, such that by age 14 I won a scholarship to Andover. From that point on, I followed the cookie-cutter path designed for us prep school kids– up until the birth of my son. Then, everything changed. I left law firm life to open my own practice, and yet while my career blossomed, my personal life unraveled. Sadly, it is only as a result of my own divorce that I finally went in search of all the answers to my questions about my family’s past, and along the way I managed to resurrect my creative talents, which now have found their outlet in my various forms of writing and the weekly tv shows.
It was not my idea to write a children’s story– it was my son’s wish that I share our story with young kids. I am eternally grateful that he inspired me to do this, even though looking back 10 years ago I had intended to write an entirely different love story for him. The irony of how much gain came from so much pain is not lost on me, and yet I give thanks every day for all those that helped me survive all the great challenges that I had to overcome– truly, it is a miracle that I did not implode, and I credit all the angels I met along my path for carrying me during some of my darkest hours.
One day, I do hope to write the full back story to Gina the Gymnast, but in the meantime here is the link to the show that just aired about the book, which is a true story about a little girl that overcomes some major challenges to pursue her dreams against all odds, and in the end finds her dad and discovers that the best reward of all is the love of her family. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExGQwUjTRLw
Also, if you are interested in buying a copy of the book, which will donate 10% of the net proceeds to the Oliver Scholars Program in NYC, here is the link on Amazon.com: