Sometimes a Setback Is Really Just a Setup

Growing up, I remember always teasing my dad about failing American History in high school and having to repeat his senior year.

I’m not sure I ever knew the full story or if I did, I never fully appreciated it until recently.

My dad’s mom died when he was only sixteen years old. Such an unimaginable loss at such a young age.

My dad was having a difficult time dealing with his mom’s death and no one at his all-boys Catholic high school really knew how to support him in his grief.

He struggled, never wanting to go to school and coming up with any excuse he could find not to go, i.e. the infamous story of not going to school because he didn’t have a clean pair of black socks to wear.

As a result of missing so many days, he failed religion and got kicked out of St. James High School. He started the next school year at Chichester High School, in the old building, which was only for juniors and seniors.

My dad was still struggling and finding it hard to care much about his school work. He ended up failing American History and having to repeat his senior year.

He started his second senior year in the new building at Chichester, where he met my mom in homeroom. My mom had attended Chichester the previous year, as well, but she was only a sophomore so she was in a different building than my dad.

They went to the same school for a whole year without ever meeting each other.

My mom and dad started dating and eventually got married on August 17, 1968.

52 years ago today.

They had my sister, Melissa, and then me. Melissa had my nieces, Charlotte and Millie, who is named after my dad’s mom.

If my dad had never gotten kicked out of St. James, failed American History, and had to repeat his senior year, he might not have ever met my mom.

If my dad’s mom had not died when she did, none of us might even be standing here today.

Sometimes a setback is really just a setup.

Maybe my mom was a gift to my dad from his mom.

Although I am still struggling to find a reason why I had to lose my mom at a young age, I believe one day it will become clear.

What am I being set up for?

What gifts does my mom have in store for me?

If any one thing had been different, August 17, 1968 would be just any other day.

But instead, it’s the day our family story began.

Happy 52nd Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Thank you for being such a great example of unconditional love.

And Dad, thanks for failing American History. Turns out it was one of the best things you ever did!

My mom and dad going to the prom.

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