It’s long. I know. If you’re in a hurry, feel free to skim over it, my feelings won’t be hurt. If you have the time, grab a refreshing beverage or better yet, some cookies (that the kids don’t know you have), and enjoy the read.
I was born in Columbus, Ohio but grew up in San Antonio, Texas with my dad (a self-employed dentist), my mom (a physical therapist/stay at home mom/college counselor) and my brother (3 years younger almost to the day). Nurturing and teaching have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. My mom was great at them and I learned from her many things including how to treat everyone with respect no matter their life situation. She had much to overcome in this world as a polio survivor. I had my turn taking care of her through the years and this taught me empathy, patience, cooking skills, laundry skills, time management, not to mention an in-depth understanding of the needs of those who are physically challenged! Dad taught me the love of gardening, of working hard, and gave us the ability to swim almost every day of the year – let’s hear it for backyard in ground pools! He gave me my first summer job and my first car! My brother and I got along great after I moved away to college, but we’ve always been there for each other, come what may! I know he’s got my back and I do his. I also made an eternity-altering decision at age twelve to put Jesus on the throne of my life, accepting his forgiveness, which allowed me to quit “working” my way to Heaven. It’s a gift. It’s free. It’s life-changing. You should consider it.
I graduated valedictorian from San Antonio Christian School in May 1986. I think I still have a VHS tape and a hard copy of that speech in a file box in the garage. That was back in the days before video cameras and cell phones! Oh the worry our parents felt when we walked out the door. But, that very fall, armed with lots of practical approaches to daily life with pie in the sky ideas, I entered the college campus. North Texas State University to be exact. Never heard of it? Good reason for that. During my time there, the name changed to University of North Texas. I walked away with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Elementary Education in the Meadows Program from UNT five short years later. Of course, at the time, it felt like an eternity, but little did I know then how fast time really does fly! College was a massive growing experience, living away from home, having independence with responsibility, learning to get along with all kinds of people and roommates, making friends, being in charge of getting myself clothed, fed, to class, to the library, to work and to church. (Big shout out to Denton Bible Church!) It was a huge part of my growth into who I am today.
I was then and am still certified to teach first through eighth grades, in the state of Texas. Not that I would ever in a hundred million years consider stepping toe on a middle school campus for the purpose of teaching those hormone-surging, selfie-taking, technology-addicted, sugar-consuming, music-blaring tweens and teens! It is simply not my calling! However, I did thoroughly enjoy my six years teaching third grade, and one year teaching fourth grade, in Grapevine Colleyville ISD. During those seven years of teaching, I experienced the pain of divorce twice, once when my parents separated after 28 years of marriage and second when my own marriage of 8 years fell apart.
The beauty of eight and nine year olds is they can already read and write, love their teachers and school is still exciting as they transition from learning to read to reading to learn. I taught on a team of six amazing teachers who never left the building before 5pm and usually after 6p. We wrote our own lessons, designed units, incorporated literature everywhere, cut and pasted amazing newsletters, included so much more than the required elements and worked hard to make everyday fun! For the kids, sure, but for us too! I still have 27 boxes of teaching “stuff” that I cannot part with! You just never know…
In July 2001, I married Technology Man. Then my world was turned upside down. I stepped away from classroom teaching and substitute teaching to start our lives together and to plant some strong roots in a relationship with his two year old daughter. She is a social creature with a creative imagination, who likes to be the center of attention, and was very possessive of Technology Dad at the beginning. As of this writing, she has grown into a beautiful young teen with a love of all things music. She can be found playing the clarinet with her band, running cross country, being on the soccer field, playing a great game of chess, hanging out with her friends, dressing up for fancy or fun occasions and excelling academically. And don’t forget listening to music in any format it can be found!
Growing a blended family is hard work. Sometimes leaves wither and fall off the branches while other times the fruit on the tree is beautiful. It has seasons and its members may look battered on the outside from the wind and weather of turmoil, but the inside is solid and has potential to be life-sustaining. Co-parents, courtrooms, conflicts, attorneys, paperwork and police have all been a part of this blended family journey. Would I have married Technology Man if I’d known all the unbelievable situations we would find ourselves in? (Hollywood’s got nothing on us!) Hard to say. But I can tell you that this ride has not been anything like I expected.
Enter the next phase of my life, biological children, both boys, six years apart. If you’re keeping up with the math, yes, I’m an “older” mom by definition. I gave birth to my first son when I was 35 and my second when I was 41. Don’t tell me how old I will be when he graduates from high school! I do not want to know! I would like to believe I bring the gift of age, wisdom and stability to my parenting. Only time will tell. Of course, there are a few gray hairs, okay, maybe a lot of gray hairs, but we know people who can do something about that! My oldest son is a genius. His knowledge base is incredible, his photographic memory is amazing, his gift for learning languages is spectacular, his logic irrefutable, his social skills lacking, his need for repetition and order frustrating and his anxiety level is through the roof. But we are managing together to unpack his talents to better guide him into whatever comes our way next.
My youngest son is an adventure boy. He loves the great outdoors, it’s never too hot or too cold or too rainy or too windy or too snowy for him! He will create an indoor playground out of any piece of furniture that’s handy. The most amazing thing about him is his tenacity. He is relentless once he has his mind fixed on something. A lesson I would do well to learn. He has also just been outfitted with his first set of glasses at 3½ years old making the job of keeping up with his brother and sister a little easier! He is a very happy boy and has the makings of an athlete someday!
In addition to rearing our three children, Technology Man and I are members and serve regularly at Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, lead a small group Bible Study, attend PTA and school board meetings, find people to do maintenance jobs around the house, attend our kid’s activities, volunteer, run a shuttle service to school and doctor appointments, read a ton, feed the natives regularly, clean occasionally, sleep some and laugh a lot. I love teaching, in the professional sense, as well as at home with my kids. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’m always on the lookout for a teaching moment! If I had a little more time, I would work on my scrapbooking projects. I take thousands of pictures every year and sadly very few ever make it out of the computer. It’s something I’m working towards because I do believe that pictures tell your story so well and build a strong sense of family every time they’re enjoyed.
So there you have it. My life in less than two type written, single spaced pages. My Technology Man decided that I needed to share some of my experiences with the world and he created me this brightly colored magazine style blog to do so. Maybe I have lived through some tough stuff to be able to encourage others along their journey. Thanks for stopping by and reading My Story. I truly pray that something in one of my posts speaks to your heart while you’re here. I look forward to reading your comments.
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss