October 17th

I’m 42 and it just dawned on me. When moments of sometimes gentle and sometimes traumatic nudging towards life-altering change have happened in my life, they’ve consistently fallen on October 17th.

Just to name a few:

October 17, 2005, I will start a new project for work. I will be paid a salary I have never earned before. It will push me into a new tax bracket. I will also start some additional freelance work on this day.

October 17, 2002, I was offered a new job in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was also the day that my last severance check came in the mail from my previous job. I had no prospects for income until this day.

October 17, 1999, I realized the relationship with my ex-husband was irrevocably over. It was also the last day I would ever have sex. A relief on both counts.

October 17, 1998, I made a decision to finish my Bachelor’s degree and began looking for options. I immediately found a job prospect in Memphis, Tennessee, for a university that offered tuition benefits. I eventually got the position and relocated.

October 17, 1994, I was offered full-time employment with a company in Rome, Georgia, for which I had been consulting.

October 17, 1992, I met the only man I’ve ever truly loved for the first time. I loved him as soon as he spoke. It would take years, but I would eventually be glad in knowing that I was capable of such consuming love as well as unfathomable emotional pain when it ended. Until him, I had been proudly incapable of much feeling or emotion.

October 17, 1991, I quit my job at MCI to freelance full-time. This was the biggest career risk I have ever taken.

October 17, 1989, I found out I was pregnant with my only child.

Years before my son came along have blurred in my memory, but as I think back, year by year, I stop at 1980:

October 17, 1980, my mother passed away.

A psychic told me years ago that 10 is my number of significance, explaining that changes in my life will occur in the 10th month, 10th year, 10th day, etc. This, of course, would explain October. But, I suddenly unquestionably believe the 17th is significant because of my mother.

We were never close, but only because she was never quite happy with imperfection. She strove for the flawless life she knew as a child, yet never found as an adult. People let her down, and she never learned how to handle the disappointment.

That same psychic saw her over my shoulder. She said that my mother wanted to tell me that she apologized and that she was always with me. And that she thought “I was great, even if I didn’t know it”. This could have been the psychic reading into an old pain or it could have actually been my Mom.

I now choose to believe it was and is my mother. I have always thought of her, but have only recently understood that my anger and hurt was never my or her fault. And now, with my new revelation about the anniversary of her death, I feel a sense of gratitude and celebration.

I know my mother is celebrating my life with me, as we struggle happily and futilely toward perfection together.

-- Karen Rutherford
~ 560 words
October 2005

October 24, 2006: She was a week late, but, hey, it could happen to anybody. I accepted an offer and officially have a contract on my house in Mississippi that this single mother of a male high school junior - who whines that there's nothing in the house to eat the minute I put groceries away - has been paying for (in addition to our house here in Indy) since the renters moved out in June. Thank you, Mom and Baby Jesus!!

October 31, 2007: Austin was accepted to his top college choices.