Day By Day

I'm eating lunch and watching Godspell this afternoon. Research, don'tcha know.

I missed Godspell when it came to theaters in 1973. I was 20 years old and busy with a toddler, another baby on the way, and a disintegrating teenage shotgun marriage. I was supposed to have gone to college. I was supposed to have "done something" with my life. I was supposed to have made my parents proud.

Instead I left college at 18 and had a baby, then two by the time I was 21. I had missed the movement I wanted to be part of, and the world skipped by me in my twenties. But I heard "Day by Day" on the radio and fell in love with it.

It would take me many years to understand that my life just went in a different direction, that all lives go differently from the way we plan. It took me longer to learn to appreciate that different direction and to embrace it, to protect it, and cherish it.

I scribbled in my twenties, while I scrabbled out a living. I got serious about writing when I was in a safer place, in my thirties. I began to publish essays and features in magazines and newspapers. I was in my forties before a publisher was willing to work with me on a picture book that turned into Love, Ruby Lavender. It was published in 2001, when I was 47 years old.

Just before it was published, I became suddenly single again. I scrabbled once again until I could stand on my own two feet. Both my parents died, and I missed them (and yes, Cuz, I know they were proud of me). I have just turned 56 years old. I'm seasoned, and I'm still here.

Now all the children are grown and I am writing about the Sixties, when I came of age. I'm watching Godspell (which, along with Hair and Jesus Christ, Superstar, ushered out the Sixties). I'm watching Godspell and remembering what my mother and father were afraid of, and what they tried to keep me from. To save me? To save themselves? Who knows.

I would have been Robin. And I would have loved it. But my life didn't go that way. I look back on my life, however, with surprise to see that I have loved it. All of it. Even the so-difficult, so-traumatic stuff. It's okay. I'm okay. I'm good! And today, if I still want to be Robin, well... I can.

Here is Robin Lamont, my counterpart, singing "Day by Day" -- a song I sang my young children to sleep by when I was in my early twenties. Click twice if you want to link directly to YouTube, where it may load faster.

Me 'n Robin -- we would've been a pair, eh?

I'm gonna make me one of those hair wreaths.