I am not an emotional person. Not much makes me cry. I’m pretty indifferent to a lot of things that make people sad, angry, happy, excited, and on and on. I can pinpoint exactly when I decided to be this way. Not something I plan on discussing here but I remember it. It was a choice. No one guided me in the way I decided to be. I am probably more different than anyone in my family. I came into it all on my own. I feel like there was a turning point when I decided to raise myself and do me my way. I was young and it took a few years to have the freedom to do it, raise myself, but when I was able to, it was freeing.

I can count on one hand the number of times I cried over my dad suddenly passing away. I have what is either a blessing or a curse because I can just shut it down. I just shut feelings down and do what needs to be done. Yesterday made 5 years. I wasn’t upset yesterday but I’m strangely upset today. Probably because my husband and I were out for an early anniversary (a day early) dinner when I found out. I don’t know. I’m sad that Cooper won’t know who he is. That all Keileigh has is pictures of the two of them when she was little. I have a few things of his but that is all I physically have. Everything else is memories and it is hard to pass those down. I’m not even a huge family person but there are two people I want my kids to know. My dad and my grandma. They won’t know one and my grandma lives so far away I don’t know that they will know her either. I think some of my most fond memories growing up is with my dad and my grandma. When I think about being happy when I was little that is what I think of.

71958_1678711608464_3999459_nThis is me and my dad. Obviously I’m the adorably smushy one and he’s the one in the terrible 1979 shirt. 😉

I felt like I never got to see my dad much growing up. I do remember the summers I did get to stay there were the best. I’m not a country person at all but that is where he lived. I remember just swimming (before my fear of fish and not seeing what was in the water, you won’t catch me in a lake now) and having fun. He didn’t have a lot of money but I don’t remember that ever stopping us from doing really fun things like pick shells out of my grandpa’s driveway and watching the fireworks at the lake. We’d get to go stay with my Uncle Jimmy and at the time Aunt Janice. After they divorced we’d still go see Aunt Janice. They were always fun. I only got to do that when I was with my dad. I’d get to spend time with my godparents and that was always amazing. I always wanted to live with my dad and finally did when I was 15. It was a decision that pretty much shaped my future.

Living with my dad was the fondest memories I have. I look back and the friends I had, the things we did, the crazy crazy things we did (what were we thinking?!?! Who goes to the waterfalls to jump?), school was fun and no pressure, hanging out at Curt’s house, having my friends drive all the way to my house because I didn’t have a car which was cool because gas was like 5 cents a gallon, rollerblading for hours between my house and Brenna’s, going to the lake at night (my dad lived on the lake) with my friends without the fear of being abducted which is insane to me now because it was a campground and who knows who could have been out there at midnight, being allowed to have friends who were guys, like Pete, come through my window at night because I was trusted and my step mom and dad knew we’d just joke around and watch movies, being trusted to go and have fun (even if my friends were guys) as long as I was in the driveway by curfew, talking with Sarah about stupid boys and a million other things, walking all over Superior even in the dead of winter, laughing all the time with my bff Krissy (who is even the godmother to K) and messing around with her super adorable little brother Nick (who passed away almost a year ago)….it was everything being a teenager should be about. It was fun and amazing. I had a 16th birthday party that was so inexpensive but was probably more fun than anything you’d see on any MTV Sweet 16 special. At that time I felt richer than any poor person had a right to. Sure I got in trouble here and there but I didn’t go to jail or anything. I’m pretty sure I don’t remember anything illegal happening. Ok….wait….well…..my daughter reads this so maybe I should stop there. 😉 The point is that I had a wonderful time during those years and they wouldn’t have happened if my dad hadn’t been so cool about letting me be me and trusting me enough to not be stupid.

July 27, 1996 I went with my friend Brenna to our friend Billy’s house. We were going to go to the fair that night and see some crazy hair band, Firehouse I think. Billy had his friend Kevin over. We’d never met him. I feel like we all were just one huge group of friends and looking back it does seem like everyone knew everyone else. Sarah lived there her whole life and I was fortunate enough to have a cousin who was my age and all her friends became my friends, too. Anyway, Billy had a friend over we’d never met before. He told us to be nice because he was out of rehab or some program. Look 16 years ago was a long time. I can’t be expected to recall everything. I do remember we were washing Billy’s truck because, let’s face it, who wants to go out in a dirty truck? haha So country. Kevin sprayed me with the hose and I was pissed. I hated him. He also made a Suzy Homemaker comment to me. Thinking about it I do think that maybe he wanted me to stab him. Anyway, I hated him most of the day. Somewhere along the day I realized we’d have to spend all day and night together and we should just get along. I’m pretty sure by the end of the night we were an “item” or whatever we called it then, or whatever it is called now.

photo-5This was the day Kevin rode his bike, like a real bike that you pedal, 25 miles from my house to his house. The back of the picture says summer 1996 so this must have happened maybe a month or so after we met. From Duluth, MN all the way to the country of Superior, WI. Over one of the bridges that goes over Lake Superior, up and down big hills….basically it is like saying he walked to school in the snow both ways. lol He must have really liked me. I like to think he’d still do that for me. Ahhh, he looks so young here but totally in the 90’s style. Those glasses and No Fear shirt give it away.

Today makes 13 years since we decided to get married. In total it has been 16 years. Had I not been allowed the freedom to have the time of my life when I was 16 with the friends I had I would have never met Kevin. It has been a tough time but anything worth having, maintaining, saving usually involves tough times. People give up too easily and there have been times we’ve given up. I’m not saying there are times people should give up, there are. Never remain some place you aren’t happy. Never show your children, by example, a dysfunctional relationship because that is what they will consider normal. The difference is we decided that it was worth it to build bridges, get over them, and move on. There are times I complain about Kevin but it isn’t often. He can be annoying like any husband or any wife. I don’t continually put him down or bash him with my friends or family. I don’t vent about him and his every move. I don’t do that because he is my best friend. He’s known me for 16 years. He knows the good and the bad. He doesn’t know just what others see, he knows the whole package. That is more than I can say about anyone else in my life. There is no one in my life that I’d want to know me better than him. I choose to be with him and he chooses to be with me. He is a good man. We don’t just stick it out for our kids or because we are too scared to move on. We grew up together. We became adults together. I wouldn’t have had the chance to do any of that had it not been for my dad. He let me move in with him. He let me be free. He let me make my friends and live my life. He trusted me. Without all of that I wouldn’t have met Kevin and we wouldn’t be married for 13 year.

So Happy Anniversary Kevin…..and thank you, Dad.