A while back we were all lining up in heaven, getting our paperwork straightened out.
"No, I'm being born on the fourteenth. No, the fourteenth. Not in Bolivia! The United States! I'm supposed to live in the United States!" I picture the scene looking a bit like my first day of tenth grade.
Anyway, at some point we bounded over clouds up to a desk with several baskets on it labeled things like, "knowledge," "beauty," and "car fixing abilities (only for those living from the late 1800s up)." Behind the desk was a council of stars.
They said, "We will grant you certain gifts for your time on earth. What is your wish?"
Mei got there early, stepped right up and said, "Give me all the faith you've got." The stars liked her so much, they threw a nice handful of intelligence, kindness, curiosity and a bunch of other stuff into the bargain.
My dad stepped up and surveyed the table, looking over each one. "Hmmm..." he said. "Hmmmm..." He stood there for a while, but finally he picked out analytical thinking, courage, gratitude and mad juggling skills, among others.
My mom chose wisdom, humility, and empathy in great measures and added that to the skills she already gained in pre-earth life.
I'm not sure what I got, but I'll tell you what wasn't in my shopping basket when I walked away: Math skills.
Numbers just don't stick in my head. I quote all of Pride and Prejudice, The Importance of Being Earnest and all three Lord of the Rings, but sine? Cosine? Um... are there x's involved? No? Oh.
Third grade addition?
Please! No! Don't make me suffer this way. I'm really a pretty good person. I do my chores. And yes, I'm putting off writing an essay right now. And practicing the piano. And applying for college. And memorizing what cosine and sine are. But I'm fairly responsible. And I made my little sister a tart for her birthday. Surely this counts for something.
I can read Shakespeare, the scriptures and Chinese. I really feel like this should be enough.