People have sometimes said I was like my mother – when they were intending both compliments and insults. Often, they were right, but sometimes I’m vastly different.

Trips and special events were fairly scarce in our growing up years so I tried to get the most out of them by anticipating ahead of time. I counted weeks, days, hours, and minutes. I loved dreaming about looming excitement. Mama’s reluctance to join my exuberance baffled me. She answered my questions about her lack of glee by saying, “Something could go wrong and the trip/event might not occur. Then we would be disappointed.”

Was she right? Well, technically. In my view if something went wrong, I would wind up just as disappointed, and I would have missed all the anticipation fun as well. I made up my mind early in life to enjoy the expectation and take my chances on a letdown. That decision has led to a life filled with anticipation, special events, and an occasional disappointment. Which brings me to my current state of mind – chock full of anticipation.

I began to count months in early March when I made a credit card deposit, moved to weeks the first of July, and am now down to eight days! The big event is Carolyn Yoder’s Alumni Retreat put on by the Highlights Foundation in the area where Highlights for Children claims its roots. They do many workshops and retreats. This one is for those who have been in one of Carolyn’s retreats before, hence “alumni.” My anticipation fun has included visions of:
•    walking trails in the Pocono Mountains
•    quiet writing time away from the daily calls on my time
•    cooler August temperatures in Pennsylvania than in Mississippi
•    personal writing critiques from history/historical fiction editor extraordinaire Carolyn Yoder
•    sunrises over the mountains
•    great meals by an excellent chef with fresh local produce
•    making new friends who are also crazy about playing with words
•    batches of time not ruled by a clock to read, write, or do nothing at all

Mama was right when she said something could go wrong, and I could wind up disappointed. Nevertheless, my glass remains half full as I picture my week of retreat. Even if disappointment shows up, I have had five and a half months of wonderful anticipation. Not tomorrow, but the next Saturday morning I move to counting hours.