How I Grew Up

Getting to know me is part of getting to know why my situation is so wrong. Getting to know what I can offer my children. Getting to know that injustices are big and small and personal, and when a person is wronged, the ripples spread out to impact everyone around them.

But sticking with a little about me. Here we go.

I grew up in Ohio, raised by (incredibly) young parents in the safe nest of their extended families and community. Qualities that come naturally to them formed a who-we-are foundation that I could take for granted growing up. But I don’t take it for granted anymore. They do things that I wish every human being could expect from another. They share. They accept. They demand the truth. They root for the underdog. They open their doors. They work incredibly hard. They pick people up when they’re down. They stick together. They move forward. They believe in each other—and in me. That’s a beautiful reassurance.

Growing up, I had wild freedom that came with their youth. They were incredibly confident that nothing bad would happen, so I drove large tractors in elementary school. I learned how to drive a stick on a dump truck with a trailer of hay hitched to it and my Dad threatening the whole time that I’d better not spill the load. I spent hours and days outside alone or with my siblings, lying on my back in a canoe or trying to remember the path to the swamp in the back of the woods. My mom would tell us not to come back until lunch. It made me a dreamer.

She would also tell me, at times, to stop reading and go outside. Find some balance. And so my natural tendencies have always included contemplative reading and writing. I also often find myself hugging animals, trees, and the people I adore. I love art, the night sky, and music over the water. As an adult, I’ve been blessed with three beautiful children whom I hug every chance I get. Like many, I work hard every day to learn. To stay focused on my many blessings. To stick with who I am. Keep sharing. Take chances. Root for the underdog.

Demand the truth.

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