Despite a turbulent upbringing, getting kicked out by my father when I was 16, living in my boyfriend’s grandma’s rental property, and having it fairly rough, that wasn’t even half of my story. In fact, it was only the beginning. You may think that’s the reason I’ve chosen “Eighties” theme, but it isn’t. I’m sort of odd and love the numeral 8. It’s always been my favorite number since I was eight myself and got baptized. Of course, now, I love it because it means “infinity” when lying on its side. But on with the story.
My report card was a solid 4.0 until my junior year of high school, where I was one year ahead of my cohorts. That’s when I got a taste of REAL life. I married the guy who saved me from starvation and freezing to death when my father threw me out as a teen. We didn’t marry until I was 21, and our marriage barely lasted a year. Funny how that worked out. We were too young, but he was my first love, and I’ll always feel that way. I have no idea what he’s like now. I don’t know him at all anymore.
But I was positioned to graduate in 1984 at the top of my class. I wound up going back for my diploma many years later and receiving it in 2004. How many straight-A students do you know have a difficult time graduating? The funniest part? I don’t even remember doing it due to a bout of anterograde/retrograde amnesia! Funny, huh? But that’s not the story I’m telling you. I’m also not mentioning being in a car accident that paralyzed me while pregnant, being homeless, or many other “adventures” that have made me the strong and independent woman I am today. Because I’m going to talk about being a single mother and getting my life back on track! The good stuff!
I went from being a knock-out (Yes, I can say that, because it’s a part of my life I don’t remember, but I’ve seen photos!), to be a 208 lb. woman. I remember people asking me why I was always so happy all the time. Now, they avoid me like a leper. But I’m changing that because I don’t like it. How did I come to find this out? My 11-year-old-say-it-like-it-is daughter asked me why I frown all the time like the gumball machine ate my money. I looked in the mirror and decided I hated her telling me this obvious truth.
Last Thanksgiving, I began working my ass off at a gym and paying attention to what I ate. Instead of eating “poor people pasta and potatoes” (the four P’s), I switched it out for spiral-cut squash, the gym, and Kinect with my kids. The last part is the most daring. See, we live in northern Utah, and it gets pretty damned cold here. But the basement apartment doesn’t have a working heater. That’s okay though. We have blankets at night, a plug-in heater during the day, and again — Kinect, a video game we sweat to death with.
My son is 15 and brilliantly naive, but I’ll tell you more about Asperger’s later. My daughter is 11 going on 30 and thinks she knows more than me. Who knows? Perhaps she does! But between the three of us, we’ve got all the bases covered except home plate. While my daughter insists on me finding some unsuspecting victim to marry, I’ve tried explaining to her I don’t want a man who would settle for an overweight and disorganized woman, such as I am today. So, I’m working on it. But still, I’d rather have no man than settle for one who won’t treat us with the kindness and creativity we deserve — someone extraordinarily intelligent, but funny; refined enough to tango, but rough enough to horseback ride; and someone who can be strong without being bossy. Too tall an order? I’m in no hurry. I’m just working on myself.
There is one thing you must understand about my kids–they’re polar opposites in every way imaginable. Let me reiterate — EVERY way imaginable. Well, they’re both Caucasian. I believe that about covers it. So, if you’re interested in flashbacks, lessons we learn, and a life to consider in escaping your own, I invite you to grab a tall glass of alcohol, or a strong cup of tea and stay tuned for more exciting adventures of our jungle life.