Someone once told me that every decade you should look back on where you were, who and how you were, and what you were doing so that you can figure out what changes you need to make for the next decade.
When I was ten years old I was an avid reader, and when I say avid, I do mean avid. I got in more trouble for reading under my covers with a flashlight than I did for doing any of the normal ten year old things most kids do. During my first ten years of life my father died when I was seven, my mom remarried two months before I turned nine. I taught my brother how to ride a bicycle when he was five and I was eight 1/2. I barely talked the year after my father died. I answered with yes or no, rarely saying anything more, except when my third grade teacher Mrs. “Rotten” I mean Rottlier told me to put my book away and do my work. I was finished with my work. I was sitting quietly at my desk reading my library book while the other students were still doing their work. I explained this to her, yet she still told me to put my book away. Angry, frustrated, and confused I lashed out. “I don’t care about anything. My daddy’s dead and I don’t care.” I was sent to the principle’s office where I was asked a ton of “psyche” questions, and my mother was called.
They told my mother she needed to send me to a psychiatrist, but back in the 70’s they were called shrinks and that wasn’t something good ole’ fashioned Southern families did. My paternal grandfather came to stay with us quite a bit after that, if I was going to listen to anyone or talk to anyone it would be him. He took me fishing. I read books to him. He taught me how to build things and put things together. We made a copper bracelet, a wooden bank that looked like Snoopy, and a number of other things. He called me his “Feisty girl” because he said I didn’t have any quit in me. I was so stubborn that I wouldn’t give up even if that was exactly what I should do.
One week before graduation from high school, my (paternal) grandfather died and my heart was broken again. It was my (step)dad who helped me get through that. My (step)dad has been a rock for all of us from the very beginning. My maternal grandmother always claimed that my daddy and God sent “J__” (my step-dad) to us. Fate, destiny, angels…who or why or how he was sent to us, we were blessed the day he married our mother.
In April my father will have been dead 39 years. In May my grandfather will have been dead 29 years. I am now a grandmother myself and as I look back on this past decade, I know I’m ahead of schedule but it feels right to be pondering my past at this point right here, right now for some reason. Perhaps it is because my son is in bootcamp, my daughter is in college and trying to raise her baby (toddler) alone, my husband is on the road and hates being OTR (over the road) but is doing it so that we have insurance and I can get my shoulder treated, and a mammogram, and most likely a hysterectomy.
I was blessed the day he walked into my life. A higher power was definitely looking out for the both of us when we met each other. He’d tell you I’m his saving grace, and I have to say that he is definitely mine. Not that either of us were looking for someone, we weren’t. Both of us were happy being single, resigned to the fact that we were probably going to be single for the rest of our lives, and we were both okay with that. Then we met by chance through mutual friends and here we are…married for 16 months and happier with each other than the day we got married.
My life has changed the past few years by leaps and bounds. I’m definitely a better person now than I was when I was younger. Part of that is thanks to my children, a big part of that is thanks to my husband, a part of that is thanks to my beautiful grandchild, and part of that is thanks to all the people throughout my life who made a difference in my life, like my daddy, my granddaddy, my (step)dad, my grandparents (in general), my MOM, my brother, family members, and my friends. We are who and what and how we are because of all we’ve been through.
I’ve never given up. No matter what has happened, I’ve always kept right on keeping on. Maybe it’s because I’m just that stubborn and feisty, or maybe it’s because I’m just that hopeful. I don’t know. But now that I’m older, I’m finally pursuing my dream of writing a book, at least one, but I’m hoping it will be a lot more than one. Maybe I won’t be published, but at least I’ll have written the damn thing. And I’m sure that those I love who are no longer here are looking down on me and saying, “Took you long enough…What were you waiting on…I knew you could do it…Hang in there…” at least I’m pretty sure my Momo (paternal grandmother) has that one eyebrow raised, that smirk on her face, and she’s pointing at the computer as if to say, “Well, hurry it up kid, it won’t type itself.”
So I’m going to go back to writing my book. Sorry that the posts are hither and thither. I’ll try to do better.