Being an only child has its advantages. I never had to share, whether that be my toys, a room, my pets, you name it. I took great care of my things and in a way didn’t trust others with them. Others being anyone other than my mother and father. I was showered with gifts for any and every holiday. Not only was I an only child, but the only granddaughter, great granddaughter and great niece on my mother’s side. To say that I was the baby of the family was an understatement and I will be the first to admit that I was spoiled rotten.

I was treasured. Loved beyond all measure. My family’s pride and joy. My great grandparents paid for me to have the finest education available all the way through college. There was the understanding that as long as I worked hard and did my best, they would provide the rest. It was during these years of education that I learned how to organize my thoughts and articulate them in a way that made sense. I developed a worldview and a view of myself. It was during these years I grew into my own skin, learning what my strengths and weaknesses are – such as the gift of music. I have a beautifully unique voice when I sing. I’ve been playing piano by ear ever since I could walk. Whenever I wasn’t playing around on the keys, I was drawing. Art was my biggest accomplishment and acknowledgement throughout my school years. I earned a name for myself as a young artist. I competed and won regional competitions against hundreds of other students in the state all through elementary, middle and high school. I have a drawer full of blue ribbons to show my pretend children one day that their mom was cool.

Writing was my other love. All throughout school, my friends dreaded essays, but not I. Each essay was a challenge to see what new vocabulary I could use and the strength of emotions I could evoke from my words. From a very young age, I would write short stories among poetry and songs scribbled in colorful childish journals I still have to this day. It wasn’t until middle school when I competed and won a state writing competition that I realized I had a gift. My freshman year in college, two of my children’s literature pieces were chosen to be published in the university’s annual literary magazine. And it was right after my graduation that I started my first job as an editor for the local news station, writing short, concise stories on anything and everything bad that happened in the area. Murders, car accidents, atrocities – anything that ultimately resulted in a dead body. It was physically painful to have to deny my emotional response for each person I was writing an online article about. It’s business, you call the coroner, get the gruesome details and write it up for the web to see. It’s cold and staril because there’s no time to be weighed down by emotions. That’s the news industry and that’s why I left the news industry shortly after I accepted the job.

Shortly after leaving my first professional job, I got married. The day after my wedding, Congestive heart failure took my 94 year old great grandfather whom I was incredibly close to. Six months of unemployment and depression pass by and God knocked on my door with the opportunity to nanny part time for a nine and six year old. The day I was supposed to start my job, I unexpectedly lost my father at the age of 52 to congestive heart failure. We didn’t even know that he had the disease until the autopsy was finished. That kind of trauma leaves a person unrecognizable. I took a week off after Dad died to try and collect myself before starting my new job. And here I am, learning the secrets to parenting all the while being able to take the time to focus on myself and the things that bring me happiness. I am blessed to have that luxury.