I was a brightly colored girl of 6, whose daddy would buy her colorful presents for her birthday and for “just because.” My white sneakers with the colorful butterflies all over them were my favorites. As I grew older and bigger I sadly outgrew them just as I outgrew my pink bike with the streamers. I remember the time when I came home from a trip with my mom and my siblings to step out of the van and turn to see my first 10 speed bike, it bright purple waiting for me. A surprise. I hugged my dad as I admired the paint job of my new and simply awesome bike. I still have the light switch plate with the purple and yellow butterflies on it that he gave to me once, just because. And hanging with my jewelry is a turquoise necklace he once bought for me while on a mission project. It is not all about the presents he gave me, it was his presence that made life colorful and special as well.
I was the smiling girl of 10. Who looked just like her mother. Her mother who baked cookies and brownies and bars and cakes. Her baking was always the best, being flavored with all of her love (cheesy but true!). She sang “it’s bubbling, it’s bubbling, it’s bubbling in my soul” when anything was boiling on the stove. My husband had to call her to get her biscuits and gravy recipe when we got married. She had spoiled me with my favorite birthday breakfast for too many years. I still expect biscuits and gravy in the morning and angel food cake with ice cream and strawberries in the evening, candles are optional.
I was the adventurous young lady of 13. I remember camping, hiking, canoeing, theme parks, water parks, and long car rides with my also adventurous family. I remember the times we complained about the vacations, but overall they are something that I will never forget and I will always cherish. From Disney Land, to Six Flags, to Arches National Park, to the Grand Canyon, to New York City, and to teasing Dad about “is it going to rain?” and “Are we tipping the canoe this time or staying dry?”
I was the black clad, studded belt, thick eyeliner, depressed, and lonely high school youth of 17. Who had no reason to be. I had a loving family with supportive parents. I had a dad who was a volleyball, basketball, and golf coach, who always encouraged me when it came to public speaking, music, and acting. I had a mother who spent time trying to teach us piano, who accompanied my flute solos, and who attended almost every single sporting event, theater production, and band and choir concert.
I would not change a thing. I know that back then my parents cared for me. I know that right now they cared for me. They are teased every now and again that I am the “forgotten middle child.” But I really know better. I have always known better. They have instilled in me a desire to be better, to live better, and to love others. For they always loved us. My family life was as perfect as we humans can make it. Sure they messed up and sure I messed up (I messed up less than them obviously), but when I look back, when I am able to flip through the 5 (or is it 6 . . .) volume Creative Memories photo albums that my mother lovingly and painstakingly put together for me, I only remember the good. I remember the bedtime “horsey” rides that my sister and I would take on my dad’s back on the way to bed. I remember saying my “Now I lay me” ‘s at night with my mom. I remember putting together puzzles on lazy Saturdays with my dad. I remember my mom passing on to me her passion of reading stories such as Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women.
When I talk about my depression, I am sharing more than just my story. I know I am bringing up memories that I would like to forget and memories that they would like to forget. But it happened and I feel called to share my story. The hurts and struggles that I face and the hope and love that I have experienced throughout, well, I hope to transfer that to anyone else who needs it. I hope in stirring up my past, and some of my present, that I can help someone else fight through their struggles too.
Thank you mom and dad for raising me to who I am today. I would not change you for anything.