My dad was in the military when I was growing up, so we lived in a LOT of different places. I went to a different school every year from 4th grade until I graduated from high school (we didn't move every year, but the years we didn't move, I was going from elementary to middle to jr high to high school). Usually when I tell people that I was a military kid, I get some form of "Ohhhh. How was that?" Which, when you think about it, is a weird question. It was the only thing I really knew, so it was normal to me. Normal is just what you're used to.
The next question is "What place was your favorite?" Without hesitation, I say San Antonio, Texas. It could be because I went to high school there, or was married there (after my family had moved away), but its probably because its just a great place to live. There are lots of fun things to do (Riverwalk, Spurs games, concerts, rodeos, Fiesta) and lots of delicious places to eat (Alamo Cafe, Rudy's BBQ, Las Palapas, Taco Cabana). Almost all my memories of Texas are good ones. I spent many nights driving around, enjoying the sultry San Antonio air, windows down on my Celica, listening to Dave Matthews Band, driving from 1604 to I-10 to 410 to I-35. Even now, if I'm ever driving home by myself at night, listening to my music, I get a glimpse of those memories. Feeling free. Feeling very much like the real me. Not the mom me, but just me.
The other question people ask is "Which place was the worst?" I have a quick response to that one too. Mountain Home, Idaho. We lived there for the hard years: middle school/junior high. I felt very much alone for a lot of the time there. The girls that were in my youth group at church were brutal. Brutal. I was the target of all their gossip and pranks. It was miserable. I survived, obviously. But it affected me. It didn't define me, but it did shape me.
In retrospect, I find it significant that my least favorite place was followed by my most favorite place. I'm sure it has something to do with the contrast between the two of them. But I also think it has something to do with who I became as a result of what I endured in Idaho. I had survived that Refiners Fire and emerged as a new person. A stronger, better person.
I have recently come out of the worst few years of my life. I did not handle my last baby very well, and in retrospect, I should have been medicated. Add on top of that, her health problems and fussiness (recurrent kidney infections and acid reflux that was so bad that she spit up blood), plus financial problems and disappointment in my husband's search for better employment, resulting in marital problems, plus a misunderstanding with a family member I had once been close to ...pretty much left me at the bottom of a deep pit.
With the help of my husband, family and my faith, I gradually pulled myself out of that pit. In crawling out, I learned so many crucial lessons. Painful lessons. Things that you know deep inside, only from first hand experience. It changed me. Many of those lessons are too personal to share. But now that I am here, I can distinctly see the trials behind me that I endured, what they taught me, and how they shaped me.
Knocking off a sharp edge here, polishing a dull spot there, softening a rough edge there.
And here I am now. Enjoying some pretty great times. My husband just finished his MBA and my baby is now a healthy and sweet little toddler. Our marriage is the best its ever been. Our little family is happy. This blog is a new passion that makes me feel alive and accomplished. It makes me feel like me again. And I simply would not be here if it weren't for what I learned and how I've grown in the past year. I needed those trials to turn me into who I am now.