Last week, I asked this question: Who are you? What forces have shaped your destiny? What has made you the unique and quirky person you are today? I can't wait to read your lists, those of you who've written them.
My Tuesday Ten destiny was shaped considerably by the fact that yesterday was $2 Tuesday at The Oregon Zoo. It cost our family $12 to get in instead of nearly $60. So blogwise, it's Tuesday Ten on Wednesday this week.
Ten Persons, Places, Things or Ideas That Have Shaped My Destiny
1. Growing up on a farm. Acres to roam. Cows and horses and chickens and pigs and geese (mean ones) and ducks and cats and dogs. A tractor and an old pickup truck. Giant anthills and woods and a hay barn. Bee stings. Apple trees and blackberry vines and a garden as big as my current back yard. One beautiful sunny day when I was about 5, or so the story goes, my dad was cutting the grass in the hay field. Somehow he messed up the t.v. antennae. My sister and I came running out of the house in a panic, "The t.v.'s not working!" And....that was the end of the television. That's right. No television. We read a lot. We found things to do, like chase the geese and poke anthills with sticks and jump around in the hay loft and and wade in the ditch and climb trees. We made up stories, acted them out, and wrote them down. We played in the mud and got dirty every day. Our Barbies had wild adventures. We exercised our minds and our bodies. I have nothing against television these days, by the way. Given my druthers I'd just as soon get rid of it, but loving husband likes t.v. and it's kind of fun to have around.
2. Turning forty. Well, not the turning part so much as the getting here. What a journey it's been. I've written a bit about this station on my journey here. I still feel like I'm twenty-five and I feel like a completely different person than the twenty-five year-old me. Life certainly isn't the way I'd pictured it (completely over and stiflingly boring), instead it's richer. I suspect it's been this rich all along, but it's just taken me this long to notice. Ten Things I Never Thought I'd Be at Forty here.
3. My sisters. I have two. Lovely and beautiful human beings, and I'm honored that they're a part of my life. There's so much attention placed on how our parents shape our lives, and it's certainly true. And my sisters are a part of my being, both the sister of whom I can't remember any part of my life that doesn't have her somewhere in it, and the sister I remember welcoming into our family with such joy. I can't imagine my self without my sisters. I love you.
4. My dear dear friends. All of my friends are dear to me. And the friends I'm thinking of have been a part of my life for almost thirty years. We grew up together. We've connected stayed connected through thick and thin, from pimples to wrinkles, through college and work, joys and worries. I love you and I admire you, my dears, and I cannot imagine how empty my life would have been without you.
5. My hair. I'm certain my life would be completely different if only I had long glossy thick perfectly-behaved hair. Check this out.
6. Becoming a mother. I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter. I heard a friend's son call to her, "Mom?" and suddenly I truly realized that I was about to turn into Mom for someone. I felt panicked, short of breath for a moment. Now I turn my head when I hear a child crying in the grocery store, even if I know that all of my children are safely at home. I smile and try to offer a smile when I see a mother struggling with a tantrum-y little one instead of thinking, "My kids will never be allowed to do that." My life became less about me. My heart grew.
8. Autism. Oh, the lessons I've learned. My heart has been broken, my patience has been stretched beyond its limit and I've been so worn down that I wanted to give up. I've celebrated victories that most parents take for granted. I've been tested. I've been blessed. I've been burdened. What a gift I've been given.
9. My first tattoo. "You'll never get a tattoo," my ex said to me. "You'll just keep talking about it and never get one." I was incensed. How could he say that? Then I began to consider. Was it true? I realized that I could either be the kind of person who always talked about wanting a tattoo, or the person who went and got one because that was what I wanted. It took me a long time to decide what I wanted. I got a sun on my ankle to celebrate and symbolize a new day, a new time in my life, strength and light. I've not a single regret. As a matter of fact, I went and got another to celebrate my fortieth year. Maybe I'll post a picture sometime.
10. Loving Husband. Who knew that "respectful and kind" was my type all this time? Sheesh, it took me long enough to figure that out, anyway. Now I only overreact most of the time and sometimes I'm not completely controlling and grouchy. He's been a good influence. He'll laugh and kiss me when he reads this, and say, "Now, you were never like that, honey." And he's right....partly because he's a good influence.