I can sometimes close my eyes and smell my childhood. It smells like freshly raked leaves, chlorine on my bathing suit, sweat that lingers on my skin, and freshly popped cheesy popcorn.
It tastes like Oatmeal Cream Pies, tacos on a Saturday night, and hose water.
I treasure the childhood I had. I spent summer days riding bikes with my sister, Dinah, to faraway lands and magical “secret” places that only we knew about. My sister treasured it too. Five days before the worst day of my life, she wrote a short story for college about a time when we were playing hide-and-seek as kids. She must have treasured it as much as me, for no one can ever take these moments in time away.
I am the middle child. I am the free spirt. My mom sings, “I Hope You Dance” over me because she says the words remind her of me. I’m my Daddy’s little girl. I hold his hand in mine even when my teenage friends could see. I walk with pride standing next to my big brother. He’s huge. Standing at over 6’6″, he stares into the eyes of boys and frightens them away. I smile at him because I’d rather hang out with him, then stupid boys. My sister was always my best friend. We loved hard and we fought even harder. Yet, at the end of the day when we layed down in our beds that shared a room, we always said:
“I’m sorry if I’ve done anything wrong.”
“I forgive you.”
” I’m sorry if I’ve done anything wrong too.”
Every. Single. Night. We didn’t want to die and go to hell for unforgiven sins.
Sometimes we had a line dividing up our bedroom. Other times we slept in the same bed when outside terrors scared us.
Eventually we grew up.
I started college, then became involved in church ministry. Soon, I left for Australia, then to Thailand for a year of missionary work. My passion became showing women how beautiful they are. Thailand changed me forever. I talked to prostitutes and taught them English. I helped a center that gave them a chance to come out of prostitution by choosing to learn a trade. I bought them out of bars for a night of fun and feasting.
Life became hard there by myself. I came home.
I went to massage school and became a licensed massage therapist and worked on completing my bachelors degree.
During this time I met and married the man of my dreams who I met in the most unique way…online! He, since, has given me two beautiful children and fulfilled my greatest purpose in life of being a mother.
Now I am reliving my childhood through my two children. Nothing could be better than the life I have now. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy. Some of you know the missing part of my testimony. One year ago I lost my best friend, my sister. She made the impulsive decision to end her life the day after her boyfriend was killed in an automobile accident. By just admitting this, I feel like I have to defend her honor. I wonder when that will go away?
Her death shattered my perfect, little world and questioned all I believed in God.
It’s been a year since her death and life is changing once again. We are eagerly anticipating getting out of the military and moving back home to establish our roots close to our families. Life is good for my little family. With each boo-boo that I kiss, each diaper that I change, and each word that I speak to my children, I remember how critical the present is.
I remember to kiss my husband deeply everyday.
I remember to tell my parents how much I love them.
I remember that life is too short to have fake friends.
I remember that no matter what God is still good and still my God.
I remember that if my kids adore me, then I have successfully been the mother that my mother was.
For this life is my story.