Thursday, September 19, 2013

Should We Turn Left or Right? Or Right-and-Three-Quarters? Or Maybe, Not Quite?

Tonight our school is hosting an Oh, the Places You'll Go-themed Curriculum Night.  In an effort to prepare, we read the classic Dr. Seuss book to our first graders.  It's a book I hold close to my heart, as I always used to read it to my third graders on the last day of school.  However, since I changed jobs back in 2010, it has sat dusty on my office shelf for years.  This year, though, I was able to pull it back out in my classroom and put it to good use.

As I was reading it, though, I had a really hard time holding back tears.  While the book can hold many different meanings depending on the reader's perspective, it seems to speak volumes to what we're going through right now.

Based on my previous, probably too-raw post, it's no secret that lately our lives have revolved around doctor appointments, fertility treatments, medicine and injections that make me look and feel like death, more bad news, way too many needles... and lots and lots of conversations with God, committing to trying to remain faithful no matter how hard it is while also trying to choose hope no matter how hopeless we feel.

And Dr. Seuss spoke right to me through his crazy prose:


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don't.
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting."

I cannot even tell y'all how accurate these words are for me right now.  Recently, it's been all bang-ups, and hang-ups, being left behind as everyone, I mean everyone, has soared right on.  Leaving me to feel alone, very alone, and angry, and resentful, and scared.  Because no one, no one understands... other than my husband, who has been on this journey with me, every step of the way.  And it's not anyone's fault that they don't understand, that they've left me alone, saying and doing things that make me feel worse, even more isolated - but it has still led me to the place where streets are not marked, and windows are dark.  Wondering whether to turn left, or right, or sit down and just give up.  And it is constant waiting... for a better break, for sure, and another chance, no doubt.  But also wondering if those things will ever happen.

And Dr. Seuss continues...

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing..."

Somehow, no doubt, we will escape.  We'll find our bright place, whatever that may be... one day we'll be on the other side of all of this, hopefully understanding the journey and growing stronger because of it.

Dr. Seuss concludes with:

"I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!"

According to good ol' Dr. Seuss, we have a 98 and 3/4 percent chance of succeeding... which are much better odds than the doctors are giving us, so I think I'll stick with Dr. Seuss.

I can't wait to get to the Great Places... I can't wait to have OUR day.  In the meantime, we will keep on keeping on.  We've decided we can't even take things one day at a time right now, but more like one hour at a time.  We're overwhelmed, we're scared, we struggle to remain hopeful - but we're brave and we've got each other, and though we know it's going to take everything we've got to continue this journey, our journey... I'm anxious to see the places we'll go.
All words taken directly from Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss, copyrighted in 1990.


  1. I don't have any words to try and make you feel better and probably wouldn't be successful even if I thought I did. But we haven't forgotten and we pray for you daily.

  2. Such a beautiful, poignant post. Love you and can't wait to see the places I know y'all will go.

  3. I think I need to start reading more children's books, I like his advice :)

  4. This just made me tear up Jess. Just remember, "You're off to great places" and we are all praying for that for you!! XOXOX