"I am a fat, forty-something housewife and mother, in suburbia Wisconsin, trying to make ends meet and save my country." That's the short of it, the long of it follows.
I was raised in rural Wisconsin, the oldest of the six children my parents gave life to. I was not a good kid. My temper is legendary in my family, and when I was younger, I didn't control it. On a fairly routine basis, I beat up my little brothers and sisters. Until my baby brother was born when I was 12. He was the sibling I shared my room with, who "civilized" me according to my parents. He was also the only sibling I never hit in anger. He and I still share a special bond today. My temper is no less fierce today than it was as a child, but I have learned to control it better.
I am one of the lucky people who walk among you, undetected. I survived four very close calls with death, which means I am here for a reason, and I never have to doubt that.
Five days before my 13th birthday, May 16, 1975, I was riding my bicycle home from school. I had to make a special stop to drop off a birthday party invitation at the house of a friend. Now, I grew up on a farm, and the only way to get to my house was on one of two highways. This friend's house was on my way home, but it was the long way around. I dropped the invitation off and continued on my way home. I had to make a left turn across the highway, at the bottom of a hill. Remember riding a bike downhill after toiling up it? You feel as though you're going a hundred miles an hour; wind roaring in your ears, your hair flying back (no bicycle helmets in those days), drying the sweat built up by the long climb. As I came up on the corner, I signaled for a left-hand turn, saw no one in front of me, heard no one behind me, and turned. And got hit by a semi.
People will say I'm lucky, and I'm not inclined to argue. A year later, on the same highway, at a different corner, a schoolmate was killed by a semi while turning across the road. I am lucky, but more importantly, God isn't done with me yet. Thirteen is almost too young to understand the import of what happened, I did, however, get that I am here for a reason.
The accident didn't change my life significantly, I still ran riot over most of my siblings. I stole from my parents, smoked and experimented with cigarettes and marijuana--although I didn't use drugs until college. I got pregnant twice by two different men, and gave two precious babies up for adoption. Now I say I may be a grandmother and not know it. The best result for me has been that those two babies have grown up and not seeked me out. This makes me believe that their families were right, and my decision was right.
I married, too young, a man who believed he could control me through violence and fear, and did for almost five years. It was during this time I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. That still brings a smile to my face. I'm not perfect, far from it, but I am saved. Two children and a divorce later, I was a twenty-something single mother with two pre-school girls.
Not too surprisingly, I swore off men. I also threw myself into making a life for us and accepting the limitations that naturally come with being a single parent. I worked at being a good parent and a good provider, and got on with my life. In my early 30's I was offered a job with the state for, what was then, good money and I took it. It was there that I met my husband.
We were getting ready to get married, when I was struck down with a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in my lung). The doctors in the ER told Rod (my hubby) if we had waited half an hour longer, I wouldn't be alive. Three years later, during the delivery of my last child, my uterus partially ruptured and I bled out half my blood volume. My latest brush with death came in March of 08, when I was hospitalized with double pneumonia, which was also in my blood stream.
What have I learned from this? I am where I am supposed to be. Live each day as though it were your last, for it might be. Live your life in the center of God's will. It doesn't mean life will be easy, it means you will never be alone in the struggle.