I was born on the very first day of my life in a small Kansas town.
My brother, Kevin was only 14 months old. My mom often talked about how difficult…and how fun it was to have two babies so close together. We grew up much like twins, doing new things at the same time. I don’t think the “birth order thing” really applies to us so much, since we were so close in age and he a boy and me a girl.
My parents would have loved to have more kids…but when I was three my mom developed a tumor in her uterus. She had surgery, then months of treatments. I don’t remember any of that time. Grandmas and aunts and neighbors took turns helping to take care of us while Mom was weak and sick. She told me once that during that time, she wished so badly that she had the strength even to just fold a load of laundry. I try to remember that wisdom when I feel whiny about all the laundry I have to fold.
Mom made a full recovery and the cancer never came back. Mom and Dad would celebrate her birthdays heartily, having learned the hard way that life is precious.
When I started school, I had a very hard time…probably because of some insecurities I developed when my mom was sick and I was passed around a lot. My mom always felt bad about that. I cried a lot at school and had tummy aches. I finally “came out of my shell” a little in the seventh grade. (I never knew I was in a shell before that…but that’s what my volleyball coach told my mom. What am I, a turtle?)
Here are some exciting memories you’d probably love to hear about my school years:
- In first grade we put a note and our school address inside a balloon and sent them off from the playground. Months later the school received a letter from some guy in California. My balloon had made it all the way from KS to CA and lived to tell about it. I was a six year old celebrity. (I mean, they put an article in the Pratt Tribune and everything.)
- Ooh, another first grade balloon memory… For our class Christmas party, one of the moms had us play a game where you had to sit on a balloon and pop it. I gave it all I had, but I could NOT pop my balloon (I was so stinkin’ scrawny). Kristina’s mom finally came and pushed down on me real hard to get my balloon to pop. It still didn’t pop. All the moms laughed and I thought they were laughing at me. (sniff)
- In the fifth grade, we did a musical called, K.I.D.S. Radio. My friend had to do a solo called, “Figaro”…about a dog and she had to sing, “Bow Wow, Bow Wow” several times. I was SO glad I didn’t have to sing the Figaro song.
- I hated P.E. Always.
- I cussed twice in the fifth grade. I called Wesley a “Jack—“. I said it to impress Joey. I’m pretty sure he was impressed. That summer, I cried and confessed to my mother my potty mouth. I never cussed again.
- I started to play sports in the seventh grade. I played volleyball and basketball and ran track. I was never very good, but I tried hard. (Kevin got all the athletic genes.) When we lifted weights in high school, I was always the one who “benched” the least amount of weight. It was that scrawny thing coming back to haunt me.
- My junior year, I tore a ligament in my knee while playing volleyball, which pretty much killed my sporting career, even though I didn’t really have a sporting career to begin with. For a few months, I had to wear a thing on my left leg that was half cast – half brace. The only kind of pants I could wear were sweat pants. I bought a pair of sweats in every color and even wore them when I sang in choir concerts. Lovely. My left leg is still slightly smaller than my right leg (muscle wise). Lovely.
- I played the flute.
- I had 17 kids in my graduation class. Impressive number isn’t it?
Well, we’ll stop there for now. Did you hate P.E. or love it? Did you play an instrument? Could YOU get a balloon to pop with your bottom in the first grade? (sniff)