Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's All About Me

Isn't that just the most narcissistic blog post title you've ever read? Well, as most of my friends will tell you, I love my birthday, and have always felt that it really is all about me. The only day of the year that I can just bask in the love of all my family and friends. Well, not the only day, but the only one that is really all about me. Do I sound like a 12-year-old? Yeah, I agree.

Unfortunately, my birthday comes with a counter that I'm not that crazy about anymore. I'm 41 today. I'm not sure why I shared that, since I've spent the past week trying to impress upon my son that it is rude to announce my age loudly in public places and to anyone who will listen. I remember being so excited about turning 16, and then 21, even 25. I'm pretty sure it was all downhill from there. Except that looking back on my life, all the best times have been since then. So why do we hate birthdays if life just keeps getting better and better?

I decided that my birthday was a good day to share a little bit about myself on my blog, for those of you who may not know me as well as others. For those of you who do know me as well as I know myself, feel free to point out mistakes, exaggerations, or omissions. This is just a brief overview after all. So here goes: it's all about me!

I was born on November 4, 1969, in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. I was blessed with absolutely the best parents on the planet. They loved me and supported and continue to do so. Even more importantly they loved each other and modeled to me what real love means. I'm the oldest of three, and my sister is definitely my oldest friend. She is 2 1/2 years younger than me, and is in many ways my polar opposite, and we therefore often drive each other crazy. But she knows me like no one else does, and I don't know what I'd do without her. She was there for all of it, and aside from my parents she's the only one who was. My brother didn't come on the scene until I was 9, and I adored him from the moment I saw him, if not before. I clearly remember thinking many times during his childhood "Is he really the cutest kid in the world, or is it just because we love him so much that we think he is?" Looking back, I think it was a little bit of both. I still feel that way about him, even though I don't talk to him nearly as much as I would like to. I'd still do just about anything for him.

We moved three times after I started school. From Moncton we went to St. Stephen, NB, then from there to Summerside, PEI, and then finally to Rothesay, NB, just outside Saint John, which became home. These places can be divided into milestones. Life began in Moncton. My brother was born in St. Stephen. My sixth grade teacher in PEI told me that I could write. That's why you are reading this blog. And Saint John is where I grew up.

Despite my talkative nature I was a pretty shy kid and I hated starting at a new school where I didn't know anyone. I love PEI to this day, but those were not good years for me socially. At least for the last year or two there I was bullied pretty badly. I remember crying my heart out when Mom and Dad told us we were moving to Saint John, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. The day I started at Rothesay Junior High, my mother took me to school and when we got out of the car my head automatically went down. Even now I can hear my mother saying "Pick your head up and stand up straight!" I never forgot that, and still when I'm walking into a new social situation and I'm tempted to duck my head and disappear I hear her voice. Just one of those lessons that stick with you. I made friends that day who are still my friends today. Getting away from the bullying situation in PEI was the first step in building up some confidence that had been shattered over the past couple of years.

My parents had always instilled the importance of faith within me. I had gone to Sunday School since infancy, and was shocked the first time I heard that some people don't believe in God. It was in my teen years that my faith began to become my own, though, and I began to really understand what a personal relationship with God meant, and how it could and would shape my life. From that point on I don't think that faith has ever really faltered. There have been very difficult times, but I have always understood that my heavenly Father wasn't causing those rough patches, but carrying me through them.

I wasn't one of the really popular kids in high school, but I had good friends — many of whom I still call friends today. I liked high school — I enjoyed the atmosphere and the school spirit. I loved English and I hated Math and Science. Reading and writing were always my passion where academics were concerned. I guess that's why it's not surprising that I studied English in university. I always knew I wanted to write and teach, but I didn't have the grades to get into a B.Ed. program right after high school, so I headed into a four year B.A. at UNBSJ.

I liked high school, but I loved university! I was so happy there. I made some wonderful friends my first year, and had a lot of fun. My grades attested to the fact that I was having a lot of fun, but I still did moderately well. I had begun to come into my own and was gaining confidence in who I was and who I wanted to be, and I was studying things that meant something to me.

I didn't have a serious boyfriend until after my second year of university. We dated nearly two years, and I always knew it was going to end, and probably end badly. He didn't share my strong faith, which was and is the guiding force in my life, and I knew I didn't want to enter a forever relationship with someone who didn't value the same things that I did. I was a mess after we broke up, for a long time. I think the time it took for me to get over that break-up was more a reflection of how I was feeling about myself at the time than it was of the person I had been dating. I will always encourage my kids not to date someone they wouldn't consider marrying. Not that I want them heading into serious relationships very young. I just want to spare them some inevitable heartache that I could have saved myself if I had been more intentional about who I dated at that time.

After university I did a lot of things. I went on a mission trip to Honduras that changed my perspective forever. I was a nanny. I was a tutor. I was a youth leader. I was a childcare worker. I bought a car. I spent a lot of time with friends. I made new friends. I said goodbye to friends who moved away to start their careers. I dated a bit. I watched a lot of friends get married. I had a lot of fun. I learned what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And then I went back to university.

My husband and I don't remember meeting each other. We lived in different cities, but had some friends in common. We had attended youth groups at different Wesleyan churches, and had probably met at youth rallies. But one day it just occurred to me that he had always been around. He was interested before I was. We went on one date, and I really wasn't interested in another one. He continued to ask me out until one day he asked if I was ever going to say yes. I said no. I changed my mind a few months later, and I'm lucky he gave me another chance. I still didn't treat him very well. I was terrified of getting into a serious relationship again, but this time I knew that it had a chance of lasting forever. I was afraid of letting him have my heart for a long time, but when I finally did, I was done. I knew I'd marry him long before he knew. He is an amazing man and a gift I treasure every day... even if I sometimes don't show it as I should.

We got married two years later, a week before I graduated from the B.Ed. program at UNB. I thought I wanted to have kids right away, because I had always wanted to be a mother more than anything. Chris wanted to wait two years, and I agreed. It ended up being nearly four years before, after two heartbreaking miscarriages, we finally had our son. As painful as that period in our lives was, I am truly grateful for those four carefree years that we had together, just as a couple, before the responsibility of parenting became the major focus of our lives. I love being a mom, but I think our marriage is better because we invested a lot of time just in each other before we had to invest so much of ourselves in our kids.

Except for a year spent in Kingston when Connor was two, we have raised our two awesome kids in Fredericton, in the company of a bunch of other great and godly families who were raising their kids right along with us. I am eternally grateful for the foundation those friendships gave us, and the support they give us even now, although we're far away. Yesterday I received a loving care package in the mail from a few of the best girlfriends I could ask for. I am loved, and I feel loved, even from a distance.

At forty-one I am many things. I am Chris's wife, Connor and Janelle's mom, Stan and Marilyn's daughter, Tracy and Brad's sister, an aunt to a bunch of precious kiddos, a teacher without a classroom, a neighbour, a parent volunteer, and a friend. I know beyond a doubt that I am a precious child of God. And I'm a blogger. This post has a lot of holes in it, but it holds the essence of me. If you didn't know me before, I think you have a pretty good handle now on who I really am. If you already know me, perhaps even you have learned something. I think maybe even I have.


  1. You can't honestly expect me to remember if you have a detail of your life wrong, can you? Bwahahahahaaa!!! Hope your dinner out out was delish.

  2. I think it's great that you love your birthday! I love my birthday too!! (it's tomorrow!) Kinda funny (ironic) that I'm getting to know you better through your blog than when we lived in the same city. :)

  3. You still don't expect me to find any holes, do you? Honestly? I'm glad you liked your care package. Now open up those embellishments and do some scrapping!