I was inspired by a blog I read this week, MckMama.
It gave me the great idea to give the lil' dude a big glimpse of who's at the helm of Little Dude's Mama. Who I am. Where I came from. Where I've been. Go grab something to drink and shut your office door. This is going to get long!
I am born on Friday, April 4, 1980 at 12:56pm. It was Good Friday. I would go home with my maternal grandparents to their farm as my mother went back to college. Six weeks later in chemistry lab, she would meet my dad. Jimmy Carter loses his presidential bid for reelection to Ronald Reagan and critics say the loss was due to Carter's failure to handle the Iran hostage situation effectively.
In late summer of 1982, I disappear in the night from my grandparents'. I am just over 2. Everyone fears I have fallen into the Snake River that runs behind the house or am lost on the heavily wooded 80 acres of property. I turn up with the dog, Shuck, covered in mosquito bites at my aunt and uncle's house a quarter-mile away. Legend goes I wanted to "visit" my cousins.
June 18, 1983, I am the flower girl in my parent's wedding. I cry because I do not want to wear a dress. Pictures show my defiance as I refuse to smile. My dress, knee-length, reveals tanned legs with numerous scrapes and scabs. I am total tomboy. That very same day, Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space. I leave my grandparents' farm, the only home I had known. We move 120 miles away to a big metropolitan area, and into a high-rise with an outdoor pool.
I become a big sister on December 22, 1984 as my little brother and only sibling is born. I wanted a brother for Christmas, his due date was Christmas Day. He is born gray and not breathing due to aspirating meconium into his lungs during delivery. My dad will tell my mom he cannot handle such a traumatic event again and says he is perfectly fine settling our foursome into a forever family. Terms of Endearment wins Best Picture at that year's Academy Awards.
In 1985 we move into our first house and I finally have my own swingset. I start kindergarten and wear red jeans, a white polo shirt, belt, and tennis shoes on my first day of school.
In 1986, I handpick my first puppy, a Springer Spaniel Black Lab mix, and name her Dolby after the label Dolby Surround Sound I see on my aunt's stereo system. She would live for 17 years and when she finally died, it would hurt just as bad as losing a person. The Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates 73 seconds after launch. I remember sitting in the school's cafeteria watching a TV someone had wheeled in and wondering why all the teachers and grownups were crying.
I break my right arm after falling off a swing as a seven year old in the winter of 1987. My cast was blue and my teacher showed me how to adapt holding a pencil just in time for the Iowa Basics test administered school-wide. To this day I still hold my writing utensils in weird, pinched way. Baby Jessica falls down the well.
I am the junior bridesmaid in my aunt's wedding in August of 1989, the same week my dad takes a job in his hometown 100 miles from where we live. I go with him to stay at my paternal grandparents' lake home as he starts work and my mom and brother stay behind to finish the move. I start 4th grade and am laughed at on the bus for wearing boy shoes and having a mullet. My family would stay in that town for 13 years, where my brother and I would graduate high school.
I break my right arm in the summer of 1991 after falling off my bike. I do not cry during the whole ordeal and being older, I choose a white cast. I start 6th grade with a smelly cast on, caused by secretly swimming in the Snake River and a chlorinated pool. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was released and Nirvana's album Nevermind was the year's #1 in the U.S. I would meet my first best friend, H., who would become my maid of honor 14 years later.
On the second day of 7th grade in September 1993, I get my first period and cry. My mom lets me stay home the next day as I struggle to get a grip. I wear forest green Girbaud jeans and a striped rugby shirt for my school pictures. The summer after 7th grade, I flip over my bike handlebars and break my left collarbone and a few ribs. My brother, witnessing my accident, calls my mom from a neighbor's, telling her "I think she's dead," and hangs up. I am not.
New Year's Eve, 1994, 12 of my friends I and go a little too far with a prank and vandalize a yard filled with Christmas decorations. We are caught and each have to pay $25 restitution and apologize publicly for our crime. I am grounded for the first time ever, a punishment that would last for months. A few months later, myself, the lil' dude's eventual Fairy Godmother, and her auntie S., drink gin mixed with Tang, getting drunk for the first time. My parents would not find out.
In 1995, I experience a severe allergic reaction to shellfish while having dinner at home. I am rushed to the emergency room, arriving unconscious. Since then, I have carried an Epi pen with me and am to the point where I cannot remember what any type of seafood tastes like. My friend E.'s mom dyes my hair for the first time in their bathtub.
Rapper Tupac Shakur is murdered in 1996, the year I get my driver's license, get my first boyfriend, get my one and only D in high school, get into a horrible car accident totaling my brand new car, get my first job at a grocery store, and play three varsity sports; volleyball, basketball, and track. 1996 always stands out in my memory as a big year for me.
I travel on an airplane for the first time, puking the entire 12 hour trip to Germany, in the spring of 1997. My basketball team plays in the state tournament, losing in the opening round. I see Titanic in the theatre three times. I become a Godmother to my cousin A.
I spend New Year's Eve 1999 in the Dominican Republic not convinced Y2K meant I would forever be stuck there. As a college sophomore that spring, I get my first tattoo. Dream, love, desire, in Chinese symbols, on my lower back.
In 2000, I fail my one and only college course, Accounting I, and decide to change my major. I become an editor at my college's newspaper, starting a weekly column called "Surviving Opal" which I would pen until I graduated two years later. In the presidential election, Florida poling issues would prolong the official results of George W. Bush's win for nearly a month.
As a 21 year old, I officially will never live with my parents again. It's 2001 and I cry about it for a long time. It would be the year my parents turned 40, my brother, 16, and my grandma, 70. Big year in our family.
I move to the city where I still live in 2002 and answer a cryptic newspaper ad for a generic job in the company I work now. I meet the Dad. I get my first cell phone. I get my first text message. Our family cat, Tess, would die at age 12. I take the biggest roadtrip I've been on to Vegas with the lil dude's other auntie S., and leave her there to experience life.
In late 2003, I introduce the Dad as my boyfriend to my parents and grandparents. I pierce my nose. America has been at war with Iraq for over six months at this point. My last roommate I'll have, L., moves in and when we both move a year later, we pack all our belongings into Hefty bags, launching them over our 3rd story balcony to the parking lot below.
I have ovarian surgery, get married, and get on an airplane with the Dad for the first time in 2005. Terri Schiavo is removed from life support. The Dad and I get our zodiac signs tattooed on Valentine's Day. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is released as the final installment to the JK Rowling series.
We become parents to the Beagle in June of 2006.
March 22nd, 2007 the doctor calls to tell me the pain I'm experiencing is implantation pain associated with pregnancy. I am pregnant with the lil' dude. She will arrive looking like her daddy 260 days later. NFL quarterback Michael Vick is sentenced to 23 months for his involvement in a dogfighting ring.
I attend my 10-year class reunion in summer of 2008, still arm-in-arms with the seven girls I met in 7th grade. The girls who all were there New year's Eve in 1994. I tell the Lucky Charms story at my grandpa's funeral. I start this blog. I unpierce my nose. I plant a vegetable garden and it grows.
And that brings me right back here.