This is me. Not the most current picture, but it’s the best one I have of me by myself. Because my daughter took the picture, she used her expertise to erase the wrinkles and the extra poundage – she’s talented, but hey, she can’t work miracles.
We have a son, Stephen, who turned 24 this year. He has more tenacity than a woman at a Macy’s shoe sale. And because of his persistence, he has a great job in Houston and is officially on his way to financial independence. This means Tom and I are one step closer to getting a room with a view when our kids put us out to pasture.
We also have a daughter, Courtney, who attends New York University. She’s a very talented graphic artist and an accomplished writer. At the tender age of 2 Courtney got her start, much to my dismay, by writing on the walls. But she’s a stubborn girl who wasn’t going to let anyone stop her and is well on her way to making her mark on the world.
I like my kids. Love them both to pieces, but I’m really glad I LIKE my kids. I live my life vicariously through them. They inspire me.
As for me, I’m a product of the sixties. When I was born, school teachers still wore suits and ties, and flight attendants were thin and glamorous. When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, my reply was simply “smoke cigarettes and shave my legs.” At least I accomplished half of my goals.
My dad raised me after my parents divorced, and I attribute my love of all things sweet and sugary to him. He taught me that a piece of pie and a Coca-Cola was the breakfast of champions. I was an overachiever and made good grades, joined speech and drama in high school, and was a cheerleader. However, by today’s standards, I think I was more of a nerd than I realized.
I chose the college I would attend based on where everyone else was going. I really had no idea what I wanted to be, so I chose communication. Not that it mattered, since I slept through most of my classes. I did pass French with a C, but I attribute that to a computer glitch since I didn’t even take the mid-term or the final.
I finally got my act together and moved to Houston to attend a small bible college. I had no doubt that this was where I was supposed to go, but I assumed that I was facing a life of solitude, since the majority of men there were going into ministry. Most preachers I knew were far from the athletic type that I was attracted to; instead, most wore mismatched suits and cheap ties that usually hit north of their waist.
Making the decision before I left that I wasn’t going to date anyone, lest I be doomed to a life of plaid polyester, lasted about 5 days. That’s when I first got a glimpse of Tom. Tall, dark, handsome and athletic; I could overlook the tacky western shirt and the muscle car. And Vicki V-neck, the girl he was dating, I overlooked her on purpose. Yep, I even got him to overlook her too.
It’s been more than 26 years since I became a wife and a mother. My family is the reason I smile. They are the “what I have to show” for the last quarter of a century. They were my career, my social life, and my hobby. They were my identity. But my purpose has changed.
Being consumed with the busy-ness of raising a family made it tough to focus on anything else. I made that choice, along with nearly every other mom I know. It’s what we do. I put my dreams on hold. Sounds so much more Joan of Arc-ish than to simply say I had a convenient excuse to procrastinate. Did I mention that I’m also a bit of a perfectionist? Not necessarily a good thing when it comes to putting words together to form sentences that become paragraphs. (*sigh*) That’s the reason it takes FOREVER for me to complete a blog entry. Do they have medication for obsessive-compulsive-perfectionist procrastinators? Sign me up!
Now that the laundry isn’t piling up and parent-teacher meetings aren’t on the agenda, now that no one needs help with homework and there aren’t any proms to chaperone; just what exactly IS my purpose? What am I going to be now that I’m a grown-up? Just WHO am I Horton?
I would like to refer to myself as a writer, but lately, the only words I’ve written are on Facebook, Twitter, or this little blog. Not exactly Pulitzer Prize material. Lily Tomlin said, “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” Me too, Lily, me too.
My nest is empty, and thanks to a little fall I took down a few stairs resulting in a shattered elbow, I’m not currently employed. Nothing but time on my hands. No excuses. The pressure’s on.
After all these years, IT’S. MY. TURN.