|My first grade school photo|
When I was a kid, it was all about family...
I grew up in a small town in Southwest Michigan. Our town only had one stoplight and the joke was that if you blinked while driving through, you would miss the whole town. My family (Mom, Dad, younger sister Christy, and younger brother Joe) rented the house next to my grandparents. My other grandma and many aunts and uncles lived on the same street. So family was always around. I have happy memories of going to my Aunt Jan's for Thanksgiving Dinner, my cousins coming over to play on our tire swing, and playing basketball in my grandma's backyard with my uncles.
The best part was living next door to my grandma and grandpa! We only had to run across the yard to get a warm hug or sweet treat! Plus, my grandparents had a huge garden full of yummy strawberries, blackberries, sweet corn and tomatoes. One of my favorite memories happened when I was around five or six years old. There was a huge blizzard and the snow came up to my dad's waist. It was impossible to go anywhere...or maybe not! My dad shoveled a path from doorstep to doorstep and carried us one by one to my grandparents house. Instead of being homebound, we spent a fun evening all together.
When I was a kid, I loved school...
I carried a book with me just about everywhere. Although I probably shouldn't admit it, my best friend Alyssa and I would even occasionally take our books out to recess. Yes, I was a bit of a nerd! But school was fun for me and I had great teachers. I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was in first or second grade.
One of my favorite teachers was my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Long. He gave us interesting, creative projects like making models of a civil war battle scene and creating marionettes to walk in the Memorial Day parade. I still remember winning second place in a contest (I don't remember what the contest was) and getting to go on a special trip with him and his daughter to see The Sound of Music. It was fun to get all dressed up and go out for a nice dinner and play in the "big" city (Kalamazoo).
When I was a kid, I loved to sing (but not talk)...
As a child I was very shy. I hated to talk in front of groups and was very quiet in class. However, I loved to sing! Put a microphone in my hand and give me a song to sing, and my timidness and fear just melted away. When I was around eight years old, I even competed in our town talent competition. There was a room full of people, but I just closed my eyes and sang out loud and clear! All through my childhood, music played an important role- and I still love to sing to this day:)
When I was a kid, creative play was the best kind of play...
Not that I didn't appreciate my toys. I do remember my first Cabbage Patch and Barbie dolls (as well as the beautiful clothes my Mom and Grandma crocheted for them). I also remember the year Christy, Joe and I got a gaming system for Christmas! But some of the best play were the games we made up! We played cops and robbers, detectives, and school. We built castles in our sandbox, had races between our house and our grandparents, and argued over whose turn it was on the tire swing. One of the silliest games we made up was "beauty pageant." On hot, summer days, my sister and I would put on our swimsuits and jump, leap, and twirl through the sprinkler in our yard. My poor brother had to "judge" who did the best performance and runway walk.
When I was a kid,...
prayers, hugs and kisses were a regular part of our bedtime routine.
I believed I could be anything I wanted to be.
I could always run to Mom and Dad to feel safe and secure.
I was loved, nurtured and made to feel special.
These are the things I want to provide for our child someday. I want to create great memories with family and friends. I want to foster a love for learning and creativity. I want our child to grow up feeling loved and cherished. I want hugs and kisses to be in abundance. I want our child to feel safe, secure, and special!