I turned 20 on April 12, 1998. I was a junior in college at the University of Arkansas. I got my wisdom teeth cut out the next month, but much more traumatic than that, my dear sweet Grandma passed away that October. Losing a beloved grandparent was very difficult, especially since we had lost Grandpa a couple of years earlier.
After turning 21, I graduated from college with a degree in therapeutic recreation, did my internship at a rehab hospital, and moved to Nashville with my sister to support her dream of musical stardom. I worked at an alternative school (boy, the stories I have from there!) for 2 years, took up swing dancing, and met my husband when I was nearly 23. Right after our second date, my last surviving grandparent, my dad's dad, passed away. I flew to Kansas City for his funeral, especially mournful because I had seen him so infrequently during his last years. Five months later, in July of 2001, Grant and I were married.
Being a military wife was full of new challenges, since not only was I immersed in a brand new culture, in a new town where I knew no-one, had to find a job, and oh yeah, I was married, September 11 happened and our whole lives changed. Grant was part of the initial ground troops invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving me to cope with living alone (which I had never done) and worring about my husband in war zones, with whom I rarely had contact. What did I do with my oodles of spare time? I learned how to mow my own large yard, put together 2 1,000 piece puzzles and had them framed, and helped lead worship at my church. And yes, I spent a lot of time writing letters and moping. And praying. And moping more. And visiting my sister in Nashville.
During his deployment to Afghanistan, my younger brother, almost 16, was diagnosed with AML, a fast-moving, life-threatening form of leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. Thanks to God's providence, 3 of us 4 siblings were perfect matches. A miracle in itself. I was chosen to be the donor and the transplant occurred on September 11, 2002. Grant had just gotten home the month before. Despite a few setbacks along the way, my brother is fully recovered and close to graduating from college, Praise God!
Just before Grant left for Iraq, I got pregnant. I was 24. That was a tough deployment. Okay, they were both tough. I can't really say which was harder.
Anyways, again Grant got home just in the nick of time, a month before delivery. He got to come home before the rest of his division because he was separating from the Army. Corban was born on October 20, 2003.
We bought our first home and settled in. Our home was on a double lot and Grant spent nearly 2 years going through the process of splitting the lot so we could either sell or build. We built. We broke ground just a month after our daughter, Marissa was born...October 28, 2005.
We moved into our new home (right next door....easiest move by far!) in June 2006. I was 28 years old.
Fast forward a few months and I'm pregnant again, another baby girl. Annika was born September 6, 2007. We are so blessed with big, healthy, beautiful babies and good deliveries. One of the special things about this daughter; my Grandma was the second daughter (3rd child) of her mother. My mom was the second daughter (4th child) of her mom, born when Grandma was 30. I am the second daughter of my mom (3rd child), born just weeks before she turned 30. Annika is my second daughter (3rd child), born 7 months before I turn 30. Kinda cool.
So let's see. Nutshell version. In the past 10 years, I've lost 2 grandparents, graduated from college, moved 4 times, had 3 different jobs (other than wife and mother), gotten married, gone through 2 deployments, donated bone marrow to my brother, had 3 babies, bought and sold a house, built a house, and started a blog. Not to mention all the "little" things like mastering cheesecake baking, making lots of new friends, joining MOPS, growing in leaps and bounds in being a good wife and mother (though I have so far to go yet), and starting homeschooling.
It's been a good 10 years. I'm excited to see where the Lord takes me in the next 10.