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11/03/2006 - 1:38 p.m.

SERENDIPITY

When Kat was small, she was often very rigid about things. When you have great difficulty reading body language and generally are overwhelmed by sound or light or just a lot of hubbub, you tend be a bit change resistant. Besides, like her father (and to a large extent, her mother), she was born to be a creature of habit. To try to make her a little more daring, we developed a code word: serendipity. When we turned to Kat and said, "Serendipity," it mean we were breaking out of routine but we believed that, if she could get herself to go along, she would like it. Last night, I whispered to myself, "Serendipity."

After Day arrived home from dress rehearsal for the school play, her cell phone rang. It was 11:00 or so, long after she usually would be home or take phone calls, but she had no school today because of conferences so I said nothing. She was talking excitedly and I realized it was her best friend, the one who moved out to Colorado suddenly this summer.

Shortly after that call, our home telephone rang. My first reaction was "oh, no." Late evening telephone calls usually involve either bad news or alcoholics I know who are well into their cups. I was half-asleep and did not grab the phone. I heard FogieKnight say, "Just a minute" and go to hand the phone to Day. (Boy, it's not like the old days when people had to come to the phone. Now phones go to the people.)

Next, the doorbell rang and FogieKnight went to get it. Then came the squeal that told me everything I needed to know. Day's best friend had just pulled off a very big surprise. She had just materialized on our porch—and in time for the school play. Any parent of sixteen year old girls or any one who has ever worked with them knows what came next. What came next was kiss, cry, hug, and perhaps most important, squeal. By then, I was awake but not moving.

Of course, Day's friend stayed with us last night. I altered my work schedule today so the girls could have my car to go to…..are you ready for this excitement?......can you bear it?.....it's just so delicious…..the just-opened, newly improved and expanded local shopping mall. Day has been dreaming of going to this mall with her friend.

But the biggest surprise of all was not Day's friend. It was Day. As she went off, she looked at me and said, "Thank you so much for being flexible."

Serendipity. Sometimes it's a good thing.

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