Start in Spring, season of hope and beginnings, with a Mommy that has the greatest heart and mind you've ever encountered and a Daddy who's the perfect playmate. Have an older brother, strong, ruthless, and brave. Get a little sister who had her own spot in your heart from before time and will have one long after it, then a little brother who smells of innocence for longer than anyone should. Be adored by grandparents, and adore back. Live in the orange house. Play house in huge cardboard boxes. Eat food from the garden. Help Mommy can. Sing with Mommy. Dance with Mommy. Feel your heart race with your feet when you hear the music from the ice cream truck.
Start kindergarten. LOVE school. Learn that boys are fun to kiss. Find out you can't kiss until you're engaged. Get engaged the next day. Find out you can't be engaged until you're 18. Fear you'll be dead by then. Get a crush on neighbor boy. Get a crush on boy at school. Learn to do nothing about them. Finish second grade with a sick day. Be excited to finally be able walk to school. Move across town from new school.
Move into house that smells of old stories and friendly ghosts and has the funnest closets. Learn that older brother has a fantastic gift for scaring the daylights out of you, especially in the dark of the old house. Love the huge orchard. Eat unripe apples by the bucket with an apparently cast iron digestive system. Watch Grandpa build house for Mom. Have to be chased out of construction site by wooden spoon wielding Grandma. Sweep sawdust. Pick up scraps. Move dirt and rocks. Gain a favorable reputation in the hardware stores for organizing nuts, bolts and nails when in the shop with Grandpa. Get own room. Beautiful blue carpet. Get own bookshelf! Realize the joy of a double bed that doesn't have to be shared. Still share with sister for fun "sleepover" nights. Scratch each others backs until you fall asleep. Find a perfect moment, suspended in the clear, deep water of a newly filled pool on a random summer day. "Camp" in the basement. Play-act every musical you know. Be content not to be the star. Harbor tiny, but resigned spark of occasional renentment at never getting to be Leisl. Laugh at yourself. Speak fluent Movie-ese. Have entire conversations with family in said language. Laugh while Mom tickles Dad, and older brother keeps merciless time. Know you are loved. Make graham crackers with multi-colored icing on rainy days. Read. Sing. Suddenly realize that your little brother isn't so little. Feel a pang. Miss that smell of innocence. Listen to every record in your Mom's considerable (and cool) collection. Make it through elementary school, despite those pesky fractions. Have 2 good friends.
Begin middle school. Pierce your ears. OOOOOWWWW!!! Not realize just how much you need to grow into your face, and start being aware of WHEN picture day is until picture day. Stop listening to the stupid school photographer. Go to school with mascara on just one eye. Realize that your fellow students seem to have become idiots over the course of one summer. Decide that family is more important than friends. Find friends who think the same. Be invisible. Get good grades. Have bad people skills, and yet not really understand why people don't like you. Watch everyone and their dog get a boyfriend. Be lonely, but not really sorry. Not worth the price. Have unfashionably bad hair. Own first pair of fashionable jeans. Get braces. Still have 2 good friends.
High school. More of the same. Have first kiss with highly inappropriate person, which makes it all quite thrilling. Join volleyball, track and choir. Do fair in the the sports and well in the choir. Get a crush on a senior. Have him be kind. Still think the people your age are idiots. Lose the braces. Endure and Survive high school. Get out a year early. Still have 2 good friends.
Meet a boy who sees you. Likes you. Start writing to each other. Get engaged. Get married. Have some great first apartment stories. Have a perfect baby girl. Fall in love with shy dimples, sparkling, ocean blue eyes and baby belly laughs. Slowly realize that your husband doesn't really like you. He wants a porn life. Find out you don't like him, either. You're not a porn anything. But you're having another baby, whether you like him or not. You'll keep trying. Another beautiful girl. A little elf of a person. Quiet and still and watchful.
Decide you're tired of trying to become something you abhor just to make him like you when he doesn't want to. Leave. Connect with an old friend. Marry said friend because he offers shelter and healing. Heal. Learn you don't need to be sheltered anymore. Discover he still needs to shelter. Go back to being just friends. Get your own place. Re-discover the joy of a double bed you don't have to share(but have a part of you long to share a king size). Still share occasionally with your girls for snuggle time and chats.
Invite God back into your life. Learn to know your parents and siblings as adults. Go to school. Learn to see yourself. Embrace your strength. Live in your power. Be a year from having what you want or the ability to get it. Learn that you always had it. You're here.