I was afflicted with allergies from an early age. I grew up in a humid, coastal area where molds thrived and so did my allergies. Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes--like the commercial says, I muddled through allergy season. All year long.
When it came to my allergy prick test, I threw all restraint to the winds and hollered. I made such a racket that our family doctor, returning to his office from the nearby hospital, heard me and came rushing into his office building to find what kind of torture his nurses were inflicting.
My memory gets a little fuzzy regarding the weekly shots. I remember keeping up the screaming; my mother remembers stubbornness and resistance. Any way you slice it, I was not a model patient. And every week we had to go through it all over again.
Around this time, I made a comment to my mother about the number of trophies my older brother possessed compared the number I did (none). My brother had several successful Little League seasons under his belt at that point, and I only had one miserable season of tee ball in which I closed my eyes before swinging at the ball each and every time.
My mother, clever and sympathetic woman that she is, saw her opportunity. She told me I could earn a trophy if I could shape up for my allergy shot for ten weeks in a row.
Willpower and motivation, I tell ya.
The thing is, when you take that much trouble to tell your timid, extremely sensitive, overly emotional child she's courageous, she believes it. She holds on to that trophy and certainty for thirty years, and when she thinks to dig it out of the bottom box in the farthest corner back behind the water heater in the basement, she thinks, Huh, this is worth displaying, and sets in the mantel.