When I was a small child I was very, very superstitious. Very. I was brought up in a household where my grandmother would say a novena at the mention of bad news and my mother would say things like don't put shoes on the table, it's bad luck. Black cats, walking under ladders and broken mirrors were taboo. Of course, when I broke a thermometer on the bathroom floor and played with the balls of mercury for a half an hour, no one batted an eye, but shattered glass?
The horror! You'd better get the rosary or start knocking on wood.
While I don't remember Friday the 13th being a huge scary deal, until after Jason and his lovely mask surfaced in 1980, the date itself was thrown into the general cornucopia of things to fear.
For some reason though, I hated that date on the calendar. It was terrifying to me.
I'm sure it didn't help that my dad died the same year the movie premiered. The timing was also coupled with a few other suspicious happenings, although I don't believe either one of them happened on the 13th.
But who knows.
In elementary school, I had a friend who loved the occult and had started reading palms and tarot cards. One day, during indoor recess, huddled under a table in my 6th grade classroom, she asked me to draw cards and she would tell me about my future. One of the cards I chose represented death.
She told me that someone close to me would die very soon.
My father did shortly after.
Of course, it was from cancer and it was expected, although not from me, an optimistic 11 year old.
After my dad's passing, my mom told me a story that was eerily similar. She and my dad were at a party the summer before, where a psychic was giving readings. They decided to play along and there were a lot of laughs until she told my dad that he would get very sick...but never fear...he would get better.
Obviously, he did not.
When my mom's friends ran into their psychic neighbor months later, they asked her about it. She said that she knew he would not get well, but she didn't want to take hope away. And she sincerely hoped she was wrong.
Well, as you can imagine, these two incidents were enough to send an impressionable teenager into a superstitious panic that lasted for years. The mere mention of bad things were enough to make me believe they might come true.
Don't even say that and take that back, became common phrases in my home.
I had splintered and calloused knuckles from all the wood I knocked on. I picked up pennies and had a lucky rabbit foot...hot pink! I never ever participated when my girlfriends did the psychic party thing and the mere mention of tarot cards or palm readings sent chills up my spine.
Scary movies were a big no.
And for some reason, the number 13 in any form, was bad.
I managed to keep my superstitious nature tucked away and hidden from most people, although my husband was always well aware of it. We had been friends for many years before we dated and you can't hide that kind of crazy for too long. Teenage boys have radar when it comes to that kind of stuff.
He has never been superstitious. He thought my fears were irrational and as kids, he teased me about them, every chance he got. Once we were married, he toned it down.
We'd been married for a few years before the baby urge kicked in, but once it did, I was obsessed. Babies and getting pregnant were all I could think about, so naturally, like most things in my life, it did not come easily.
When I finally did get pregnant, I was thankful that it was without medical intervention, but it was a rocky road all the way through. Sonograms, blood tests, weekly visits, measurements and worry were all on my path to baby. I was having complications that no one could really put their finger on and whether or not I would carry the baby to term was always in question.
Each week I left the doctor's office with little more than a pat on the back and an appointment for the following week. I swear the doctor would say, "Fingers crossed!" as he left the exam room.
Superstitious behavior ran high during those months, as you can imagine.
And it all paid off, because on a sweet spring day, my baby girl arrived. She was perfectly healthy, totally gorgeous and only five days earlier than predicted.
On the 13th.
Best day of my life.
Ironic isn't it?
No. It wasn't a Friday, although her birthday has obviously fallen on that day a few times and rather than fear it, we've embraced it. One year, we had a Scooby Doo costume party. Lots of Daphnes. The festivities came complete with a mystery to solve and treasure chest (filled with party favors) that was guarded by ghosts (low hovering white helium balloons with streamers taped to them) in my scary (not really, just ugly) laundry room.
She even turned 13 on Friday the 13th, so we threw another fabulous party.
You see, I did not want my kids to grow up with the same fears and crazy superstitions that I did. That kind of thinking is restrictive and a burden. It has the power to taint everything if you let it.
Instead of "don't say that!", I tell them that words don't make magic. When a mirror breaks, I shrug it off and tell them the only thing I'm concerned about, is blood and when we see a ladder, I don't want them to walk under it because it could be dangerous if it falls.
And 13 is my super lucky number.
I have changed the script I grew up with.
Although, I still don't want anyone's shoes on the table, but who would?
Oh, I'm not totally cured. Psychic readings are out, never got one, never will. I still hate scary movies and get chills when my husband hums the theme song from Friday The 13th.
I also occasionally knock on wood.
If there's a really good reason.
Are you superstitious?
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