Thursday, October 8, 2009

How'd I Get Here in the First Place?

Lots of changes are happening in our family. Really none of it is horrible. Just changes. Some good, some scary, and some just....well, just. The King's plant is closing its doors in about a year in a half. We thought we had a plan of action, but things changed. Not necessarily for the bad. Just changed, which means we get to spend more time wondering where we'll be. Our pediatrician is leaving. We all know how I feel about that. Our children are growing and hitting life's little milestones one after another. At any rate, all these changes mean I have to sit down a little and ask where we're going from here.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I can't really determine where I'm going until I acknowledge where I've been, or at least try to determine what the thing was that got me here in the first place. Obviously choosing the King was the pivotal point that got me where I am. I mean, let's face it. Without him, there wouldn't be five little people running around calling me Mommy all the time. But, what was it that got me to the point that I was good enough to deserve such a great guy? What happened? What moment or series of events led me to the good life I chose?

It's plain and simple. I'm lucky. I am just about the luckiest person who ever walked this great Earth. I very obviously have a Father in Heaven who saw something in me and did His darndest to save me for whatever it is He wants me to be. I am lucky. I am lucky to have had a biological dad who signed the papers to turn me over to my mother and her family. Had he stayed in my life, I would have taken his path of less resistance. So, I'm lucky he signed those papers. I am lucky to have had grandparents, nutty as they are, who took me in at eight years old instead of letting me become a foster care statistic. I am lucky to have had a birth mom who came with a truckload of issues. Her issues impacted me in that they made me stronger. I'm resilient. I always come out on top, not necessarily unscathed, but always on top.

Obviously, the King and my children are the biggest evidence of my luck. There is never any question of that. As for the pivotal thing that happened to me in my life to get me here, there has never been any question of that, either. It all goes back to luck (and the undeniable hand of God in my life).

I was thirteen years old when luck hit me once again. My favorite uncle and aunt had just had their son, and two weeks later moved away across the country. I was crushed. I cried and moped and was just generally sad. At that moment, it felt like my motivation for making good choices had just disappeared.

Enter Min and Hen. This moment. This day that they moved in five houses from my home is still fresh in my mind. I didn't know it on that day, and wouldn't really realize it for almost a decade, but that day was the day guardian angels came into my life.

Min and Hen just happened to be Mormon, like me. Imagine that!! Two LDS families in CT living on the same street. Unheard of! Min and Hen happened to have something I loved, a bargaining chip of sorts. They had a baby boy, and a baby girl was on the way. And they needed a babysitter. Jackpot!! I didn't feel at that time that I was good at much, but I was a pretty good babysitter. That babysitting job was life altering.

I got a lot out of being with Min and Hen, which was good because I spent a LOT of time with them. In time, they even gave me my own house key. Hen was a typical guy in a lot of ways, except he was a "smart guy". He used big words, and I usually pretended to know what they meant before going home and opening my dictionary. My favorite word from Hen: Scatological. Not sure what it means? Look it up. It fits me well. Really.

Then there was Min. She taught me how to sew on her sewing machine. I must have made four thousand hair scrunchies. (Don't get all excited, people. I don't remember even a little bit of how to sew. I can barely sew on a button anymore.) She gave me real responsibilities in her home. She trusted me.

It was the little things they did. They made me a real part of their family. I went on their little vacations and day trips with them. Min even got a cookie jar with my name on it and kept it stocked with my favorite cookies. When my family went on vacations, I stayed behind. And I stayed with Min and Hen.

From all this, it sounds like I just happened to work for a nice little family who happened to like discussing poop (did you look up the definition of Hen's word yet?) and knew what kind of cookies I liked. It was more than that, though. I don't know if they intended it from day one, or if maybe they realized later on down the road that there was a need, or if it was just...well, luck. I don't know what it was, but they inspired me.

Something about them made me want to make right choices. I didn't ever want to let them down. That's not to suggest by any means that I didn't screw up here and there. I most certainly did. (Hopefully to this day they don't know ALL of my screw-ups!) But, I wanted to be better for them. They made me a part of their family, and I wanted to deserve that privilege. They were NORMAL. It was like I had finally become part of a "typical family" with a mom and a dad who loved each other and respected each other. All these years of knowing them, and I still don't know if Min and Hen fight. If they do, they do it behind closed doors where their children aren't privy to it. Finally, I was part of a family and I didn't want to blow it.

In the eighth grade, I started smoking. I don't think it was much more than curiosity and it didn't last long. My worst nightmare would have been Min finding out and looking at me with that one look she had when she was disappointed and disapproving. She didn't give me that look often really. I remember getting it when I started dating a guy she either didn't like or maybe just knew I shouldn't have been with. I may have gotten it a time or two when I was beyond disrespectful to my parents. I just remember wanting so badly to never see that look again. I didn't want to disappoint her. I wanted to deserve to be a part of this amazing family. And, eventually somewhere somehow, I came to realize I didn't have to work so hard. I was in. They accepted me with no questions asked unconditionally-even with the mistakes.

Shortly before my senior year, the worst case scenario (I thought at the time) happened. Hen was being transferred. To the exact opposite side of the country!!! I worried about what I'd do without them. (And I happen to know they wondered what I'd do without them.) We kept in touch all the time. They weren't with me physically, but they were with me in thought and spirit. And I survived that year. Mostly.

When I moved away to college, I'd spend my summers with Min and Hen. I lived in their garage, and I loved it there. I worked at a local daycare center, attended a singles ward in their area, and got a real view of what a family could be. They laid the groundwork for what I would base my own marriage and life around.

The day I was married, Hen signed the marriage certificate as a withness. Min stood in as my mom. (My own mom couldn't come and my grandparents boycotted the wedding-that's a whole other blog post.) Their daughters were my flower girls.

Looking back on it all now, I know what really happened. A Father in Heaven put them in that little house down the street from me at a time when I was most vulnerable and also most malleable. They didn't need me to babysit. I needed them to be examples in my life. I needed them to show me what marriage, life, and truly living the gospel of Jesus Christ could be. I needed them.

They laid the groundwork, and then when the time was right, they were literally the ones to stand beside me and send me off into the life I was destined to live. They are still there in the wings cheering me on, wondering what on earth possesses me to do the crazy things I do, and always having every ounce of faith in me that I'll succeed. And I haven't let them down yet...I hope.

So, I don't really know where on this planet our family will wind up. I don't know what sort of goofy antics my children will get me into, or what sort of medical/developmental surprises they have in store for me. Wherever it is that we, as a family, and us as a couple and I as wife-mom-me wind up, I know it'll be okay. I know that because I know what got me here in the first place.


Chris and Brianna said...

Amiee, that was touching. Thanks for sharing. We love ya.

M said...

I can barely read for crying. Thank you for this beautiful tribute. I'm pasting it into my journal. We know that we were led to that house on your street. You have blessed our lives more than you will ever know, and blessed others with your constant efforts to "pay it forward." We could not be more proud of you and the great person you are. Love, Min

LaLa said...

What a beautiful entry! Min is one of my best friends and has also been a surrogate sister when I've really needed one. I think she's blessed more lives than she'll ever know. Glad she blessed yours too.

Thanks for sharing!

Angela said...
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