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Celebrate Life

I was just thinking about some dates that are important to me. Some might seem silly to others, but each one marks an event that somehow made an impact on me. Sometimes people ask me how I can remember all of them, but all I can honestly say is that is just how my mind works. I have a good memory, especially when it comes to numbers in general. Anyway, so I don’t really know why I feel like sharing some of these dates with you, but I just do. So, come along with me and let us journey through my past a little bit, shall we? πŸ˜‰

The first one is not an event I remember, but it is perhaps the single most important date of my life, the day I was born. I was born on Monday, December 18th, 1978 at 10:17am in Waupun, WI to my parents, Danette & Russell. They weren’t even together anymore at this point, but there was once a time when they loved one another. I cling to that knowledge. I wasn’t a product of a one night stand. My parents were dating when I was conceived and that does mean something to me. So anyway, yeah that day was the day I was brought into this world. πŸ™‚

The first date that I can actually remember that still sticks with me is February 28th, 1990. My mom, her loser b/f at the time, and I were going to make the move from West Allis to Madison. My mom had finished her classes at M.A.T.C in December of 1989 and on January 16th, 1990 is when she started her job at the Dept. of Revenue. She was commuting roughly an hour to work for nearly two months and it was getting expensive and stressful for her to keep doing that, so we finally moved. Okay, so actually January 16th is actually the first date that sticks in my head. But anyway, when we moved away, it changed a lot for me. I was going to be starting yet another new school, but this time in a whole new area and I wouldn’t be able to just walk to my friend’s houses anymore. I was afraid and excited at the same time for a fresh start.

Next up is a very rough day, one that sometimes I wish I could forget. December 4th, 1992 is when I couldn’t handle what was going on at home anymore. My mom’s b/f had been molesting me for a few years at this point and the few times I had told her didn’t result in any changes. That December morning, I snapped. I was so tired of Mike acting like he was my dad one minute….punishing me, spanking me, yelling at me, etc and the next touching me like he had any right or permission to do so. I hated him for what he was doing tome. Part of me felt like maybe I deserved to be punished for all I had put my mom through, but then as time had gone by, I was growing angrier inside. So, on the way to school I had started writing about everything. As I was writing, I started crying. A girl who was a couple of grades older than me asked me what was wrong and so I shared with her what I had written up to that point. She told me I needed to talk to someone about it, but I wasn’t sure I was ready for that. So, then I got to school and by then, I was a wreck. A little before my first class was supposed to start, a friend of mine asked me what was wrong and I shared with her all I had written. She too said I needed to talk to someone, but she got me to go with her to the counselor. Nervously, I shared with him my notebook. After that, my life changed forever. Throughout the day, cops showed up and were talking to me about everything. By the end of the day, I was taken from my mom. I stayed with a friend and her family for a few days and then I was put into foster care. Months later, we had the official trial. Oddly enough, I blocked that date out of my head. I only remember that it was in April of 1993 and that I had to miss being a part of the 8th grade musical because of it. So much happened after that day in December, a lot of it stressful, but I did also meet a lot of people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And, most importantly, I got away from the man that was hurting me. In the end, my mom did leave him, but things were strained between us for a long time. Even now, when I have tried to get closure from her, she still clams up. I have come to the realization that I may never get the resolution I seek and I am trying to make peace with that. I love my mother even still and we have gotten a lot closer over the last few years. One day, I will fully forgive her for not being there for me…a little each day, one step at a time. As for him, I don’t know how I will forgive him, but I want to so that the pain and anger go away. Most days I am alright, but now and then, something triggers my memories and then, I am a teenager all over again. I want to heal, fully and I pray that God will help me do just that.

The day after Thanksgiving in 1995 is another day I am trying to heal from. At this point, I was out of foster care and living with my dad and step mom. I had met my dad in March of 1989, but I actually never recorded the actual date in my head. Though I still remember the beer cans on the table and the smell of beer on his breath. The rest of that day was a blur as all I took from that day is that my dad didn’t seem too thrilled to meet his 10 year old daughter who was nothing but anxious to meet him. Anyway, back to the date at hand: My mom and I had gone through therapy and had reached a point we thought we would be okay to live together again, so we tried it for a few months and realized it wasn’t working. So in the end, she sent me to live with my alcoholic father. It didn’t end well. As I was saying about the day after Thanksgiving of 1995, my dad had asked us (my two brothers, my sister, and myself) to go get wood from the basement for the wood stove. Well, I didn’t get up as fast as he wanted and he started in on me. We argued and he told me to walk the few miles into town to my cousin’s house so I could stay there. This was not the first time he had been drunk and flew off the handle, but it was the first time he actually threw me out. He had done this to my brother before, but Mike always just snuck back in through the other door and went to his room while Dad cooled down, something I didn’t know about till later. Anyway, so I was angry and decided to walk past my cousin’s house and to head the 18 miles to Ripon where a different cousin lived. It was snowing and cold, so after a few miles outside town, I began trying to see if someone would stop to help me. Someone finally did, a lady and her two daughters. She asked me what was wrong and I told her. She asked me who my dad was and when I told her, she began to laugh. Apparently, he was known to be a joke to the town, the drunk. 😦 I didn’t like that he was known that way, though it didn’t surprise me. Anyway, she did take me to her home overnight and then the next day, she went to my dad’s to get some of my stuff. She brought me to my mother in Madison. But that didn’t end well at all. She told me that she loved me, but that she wasn’t in any position to be a mother to me. So, now I didn’t have a home to go to. I was then taken to Briar Patch, a place that helps battered women & children, kids that need tutors, people who are thinking of committing suicide, and yes provides temporary foster care placement to kids in need of somewhere to go. I spent a couple of weeks with a nice family in Madison. They were only set up to take kids in for a couple of weeks at a time. I did like them though and wished I had been able to stay longer. They actually were the only good thing about my 17th birthday. During the day, I was at Briar Patch and the evenings were spent with them. On my birthday, they brought me ice cream with a candle in it, talked with me, and gave me supplies to make Christmas cards for my friends at youth group.I don’t remember their names now, but I do remember their kindness and I am thankful they were there for me during that rough time.

December 18th, 1996 was the day I turned 18. At 10:17am, my mom called me to wish me Happy Birthday. At this time, I was living in Milwaukee with my grandmother. My mom had gotten her to take me in when living with her, then my dad, then foster care again for a little while, and then her again all fell apart. Despite the bitterness and sadness between us, we both knew that we were loved by the other. When she called me that day, I was touched. She told me she needed to wait until the precise moment when I turned 18 to call. I said, “You remembered when I was born?” And she said, “I will never forget that.” And I don’t think I will ever forget that moment.

December 26th, 1996 is when I went to Kentucky to meet my pen-pal that I had been writing since the 8th grade. I took a bus to meet her. I was so happy to finally meet her in person. That time I spent there was so much fun. I got to see President Lincoln’s home, have fun at an arcade, see the mall in E-Town, dance to Spice Girls in her living room, play pool in her basement, etc. It was a fun trip. I spent NYE there, didn’t return home until mid January of 1997. I got my first french kiss there too, almost moved to Kentucky actually, yes for the boy I met there lol. But, no I didn’t….in the end, I stayed in WIsconsin.

December 18th, 1998…when I turned 20. My friends from church threw me a surprise birthday party, as they did for a few of us as we turned 20. It was to celebrate officially ending our teenage years. That night was so much fun. I was slightly suspicious when a couple of the girls from my Sunday school class had asked to hang out, but it wasn’t until the day they were picking me up that I KNEW something was going on. When two of the girls came to pick me up, they told me that we had to pick Kari up. I was thinking, but she has a license and car, so why do we need to pick her up. Then, we get there and now they say we need to inside to get her. We knock, she doesn’t have her shoes on or anything ready to go. It was mostly dark, but something seemed off. So, we walk in and then when I get around the little wall that divides the doorway from the living room, I hear, “SURPRISE!” We played games, ate lots of good food, and laughed A LOT. They all signed a huge card for me that I kept for years till after moving a few times, it had started to fall apart. But, I still remember that evening well. Still I say, “Thanks guys and gals!”

September 19th, 1999 is the day I got into my first major car accident. Michelle came to get me so that we could hang out and go to evening church. We stopped at Walgreens first and then we were heading to church. It started drizzling, but as we neared the church, it was pouring so hard that we could barely see. As we reached the intersection of Brookfield Road & Capital Drive, Michelle told me she was going too fast to stop at the yellow light, so she tried to go through it. A car that was turning and towards us decided the same thing. The last thing I remember was putting my arms up and screaming. Moments later, Michelle was asking me if it was her fault. I told her I didn’t know. I told her I felt numb and like my heart was on fire. She told me to stop complaining and was freaking out herself. The paramedics got me into the ambulance not long after and off to the hospital I went. Later, Michelle came by and apologized. She told me she had just been so upset and didn’t realize how injured I really was. She had an airbag and I didn’t, so I slammed full force into the dash, nearly rupturing my spleen. My back and neck still suffer, though I am grateful it wasn’t worse than that. My mom came by, told me not to get into cars anymore and laughed. One of the pastors from church came by to see me, laughed about the morphine keeping the pain away. His wife picked some of my stuff up from my apartment for me. I ended up having to drop out of college due to being injured so badly and I lost my job and apartment. But, I had family and friends who really stepped up and helped me out. I still thank God to be here today and that no one else was hurt. I haven’t seen Michelle since that day, hope she doesn’t feel bad anymore. I am okay and I forgave her a long time ago. I hope she is doing well.

July 19th, 2000, 10 months to the day of that accident, another one occurred. I wasn’t driving that time either, but I allowed someone to drive my car that I never should have allowed to. I made countless stupid decisions that day and it nearly cost me my life and it hurt a few of my friends. I was the only one at that time who was 21, so I was the cool one that day. We wanted to drink, so I got some alcohol. Our original plan was to go to the woods, drink, and hang out. But, Aaron decided to crack open the bottle while we were driving. Eventually, I let Danny drive instead of me, knowing it wasn’t safe for me to drive. But then, Danny was drinking and driving. He was going too fast, but no one noticed. I thank God now that we were on a country road without any other traffic at that moment. As a song by Tool played and Aaron yelled at us to turn it up, Danny began to fishtail. At first, I thought he was joking around, but by the time I realized he wasn’t, it was too late. As the car began to flip, I passed out. I woke up at the hospital. I reached my hand up to my head and my hand was covered in blood. I had apparently flown out of the windshield and nearly lost my left ear. They had to sew it back on. *shivers* Lisa was badly injured. She broke her right collar bone, was limping, and looked as if someone had punched her in both eyes. Danny broke four toes on one of his feet and was scratched up from being half in and half out of the car. Aaron was bruised up and definitely sore, but was by far the least injured. Even still, thinking about it all now, I feel so stupid for buying the alcohol, contributing to the accident, letting Danny drive, well…for all of it. My friends could have died. We could have hurt someone else. I thank God every single day that we lived and that we healed. My body has never been the same, but I use that as a reminder now to never be that dumb again.

November 10th, 2002: THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE TO DATE! On that Sunday morning, I had been in labor for 14 hours and was so ready to be done, ready to rest, and most importantly to welcome my child into this world. At 11:00am on the dot, Zachariah Matthias was born. He was 22 inches long and weighed in at eight pounds & 14 ounces. I got sick after I had him and as it turned out, had an infection in the right wall of my uterus, which explained a lot of things towards the end of my pregnancy. But, even with all of that, I wouldn’t take it back because when I held my son, that was it. He is the greatest gift God has ever given to me. While I have made many mistakes over the years thus far, I have been doing the best I can to make sure Zach has all he needs. He is my light, my joy, my life. It’s hard to believe he will be 12 this year. He really is such an amazing enigma and a wonder to behold. If you’re a parent, you will understand that while we may never ever truly figure this thing called parenthood out, it’s worth everything we go through because they are the greatest joy we have ever known.

November 8th, 2003 was Zach’s 1st birthday party. My step-mom agreed to host it, so we all made the trip to Markesan. Even his dad showed up. He bought a purple alphabet caterpillar toy that we adults had too much fun with.*laughs* Zach wasn’t digging the cake too much, but he did eat enough to make a mess lol. The day was spent laughing, playing with his new toys, taking pictures, and watching Zach have fun.

Zach had a good 2nd birthday, but his 3rd was far more memorable. That truck that my friend Eric gave him was played with A LOT that day. Gee thanks, Eric lol. This time, Zach ate a lot of cake, oi. It was my mom, grandma, my friend Eric and his daughter, my friend Jess and her son River, myself, and of course Zach. When I show Zach the pictures from that day, he still remembers that truck.;)

His 4th birthday was a Cars themed birthday. My friend Skye came up from Illinois. A bunch of my friends came actually, like they did for his 2nd. Niko worked on my car and Nikki helped. Zach saw the cake and took his Lightning McQueen toy right off. He put it in the bathtub that night and the stickers came right off. And after his eventful day, he actually went right to sleep.

His 5th birthday was quiet, just family, but nice. Zach as usual got spoiled. Thanks, Mom. πŸ˜‰ His 6th, Marie and her son James came by the day before and stayed the night. Marie helped out a lot, thanks hun! James and Zach had a blast. My mom talked with Marie a bit. Marie has C.F., which is something my mom’s ex Pete had died from. So they connected a bit on that. By the end of the day, Zach and James were worn out, happy to have made a new friend in one another. And I know I slept well too and happy to know my son had a good birthday.

His 7th birthday had to be the most insane to date thus far. My townhouse was so packed with children. My friend Jessy had the kids screaming, “CAKE, CAKE, CAKE!!!!!” She even taped them doing it. A couple of kids invited themselves to the party, but Zach didn’t seem to mind. He was having so much fun. All of the kids ate pizza and ice cream cake till they were full….except Zach. Every single year, he gets too excited to eat until the party is pretty much over. Then, he eats. After that and Jessy helped me get my apartment cleaned up, I took her and Damien home….and then Zach and I came home to relax and crash. That is a day I will always remember.

Zach’s 8th & 9th birthdays were just family, but as always, very special. However, his 10th was even more so. November 10th, 2012 was his golden birthday, so I wanted to make sure this would be one that he would never forget. We went to the AMF not too far away to have his birthday party. He bowled with some friends, opened gifts, enjoyed his Star Wars cupcakes, ate lots of pizza (eventually lol), and even took home a bowling pin with all of our signatures on it. This one was on his actual birthday too because it finally fell on a Saturday. He got lots of Legos, a gift card to Toys R Us, a video game, and even got money. πŸ˜‰ He said that it was his best birthday ever. Yeah, I was very happy to hear that.

While we’re on the year 2012….let us back up just a little bit. In late August of 2012, I had been getting close to Doug, the man that I am now with. At this time then though, we were just friends. August 30th is the first time we ever hung out as friends on our own. A couple friends said we made a good couple, but when they first started saying that, he was with someone and there was a time when I considered her a friend of mine. So, that combined with the fact that while by then I didn’t like her, I did respect him, though I barely knew him…I was not going to mess with that, also….I told our friend that I barely knew him and he didn’t seem to be my type. Also, I wasn’t over my ex yet either. Well, fast forward back to August and he is single now, as of a few months prior and we’re starting to talk. I actually saw him in July, but we were still just acquaintances then. Anyway, September rolls around and by mid month, I knew I had feelings for him. On September 30th, a month from the time we first hung out as actual friends, I told him that I liked him and had heard that he liked me too. He said, “I really like you, but I think we’d best be suited as friends.” My heart sunk. I was so confused. How could I have misread the situation. We’d hung out several times by then and were talking nearly every single day and something just seemed to click when we interacted with one another. So, this wasn’t the end of it everything, was it?

On October 1st of 2012, he messaged me on his lunch break and told me that his sister couldn’t use their Brewer tickets for Wednesday night (the 3rd) and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the game with him. Well, as it turned out, there were more than just two tickets. So at first, I wasn’t sure how the night would play out. Joe, Trina, Doug, and myself were to be going to the game that night. Doug picked me up and I swear it felt like a date, sort of. We went to a bar that had a shuttle to wait for them to join us. At the game, I sat between Trina and Doug. She knew there was something between us, so did Joe. While Doug and I are making lousy attempts to flirt and yet just be friends, Joe and Trina laugh. A few times they leave our seats to go “smoke” and leave us by ourselves. Oh wow, you could cut the tension with a knife. But, we did have fun. After the game and we’re back at the bar, we decide to stay and share a pizza. The four of us are laughing and having a good time, though Doug and I are still miserably trying to figure out what’s going on between us. Later when he takes me home, he walks me to the door and we share an awkward hug. I wanted to kiss him, but I was feeling very shy and nervous, so I didn’t make a move and neither did he. I went up to my apartment feeling very frustrated. That evening, I was talking online to my friend Tasha about it. She told me, “You need to own the situation, go after him.” I told her I was never very good at that sort of thing. She told me she had every confidence in me and that I would find a way to make it happen.

So the next day, on October 4th, I messaged him on his lunch break and asked him to come watch movies with me that evening. He agreed and came by later after dinner. First we watched Jeff Dunham, laughed, quoted his routine, and had fun. But, it did feel a little tense. I just didn’t know how to change that. After that, I put in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. About halfway through, I noticed how red his skin was and made a comment about it. He said he was always like that. I grabbed his hand and then noticed how warm he was, so I said something about that and again, he said he was usually like that. I put his hand down and leaned into him. He put his arm around me and then I sighed a huge sigh of relief. But, it was still a little weird. Near the end of the movie, as we had begun to inch closer to one another, we finally kissed. It was really odd at first, trying to get a rhythm. But, we did eventually and then, it felt right and very nice. It was the start of our “taking two hours to say goodnight” thing. I had to practically shove him out the door so he could go home. Neither one us wanted to rush things, but we both didn’t want to part either. But, I did get him to go and reluctantly I went to bed alone, but very happy.

October 11th, 2012 was our first actual date. I made dinner for him, chicken alfredo and then we went to see Trouble With the Curve with Clint Eastwood. It was a good movie and we had a very nice time. Again once back at my place, we took our time saying goodnight lol. I loved how I felt when I was with him and while it was all new then, I knew this was just the beginning for us.

October 16th, 2012, one of the greatest days of my life, was when Doug asked me to be his girl. I had asked him the week before to be on a bowling team with me so we could get more practice. We bowled on an every other Sunday league with our friends, but that wasn’t enough for me. He agreed and we were on our second week of bowling. While we acted like a couple from October 4th on, we were not official yet. At bowling, he was flirting with me as usual. But then he said something and I said, “Not until we’re a couple.” So later after bowling and on our way to hang out with friends, he asked me if I wanted to make things official. I said that I did and asked him if he wanted to. He said, “Kinda.” and I said, “What do you mean, kinda?” He laughed and said, “Yes, I do want to.” Then he asked me when our anniversary should be so that he could remember it. We could have picked the 4th or the 11th, but I decided to go with the day we made it all official. And here we are, nearly two years later, still together and as happy as we were then. πŸ™‚

(side note, Doug was there at Zach’s 10th birthday party and by then, Zach was as fond of Doug as I was. *smiles*)

October 23rd, 2012: I moved into my grandma’s house after my mom, myself, and others helped gut her home so that we could bring her back from MN to her own home. I agreed to take care of her since we knew she couldn’t be alone and none of us trusted my uncle to do it. It was a stressful situation, but I owed my grandma and she needed me. I was determined to help, to keep her in her own home and out of a nursing home.

November 17th, 2012: One of the saddest days….the day Doug’s mother died. I hadn’t yet met his family, but I felt so bad for him. I did meet his family at the funeral. It wasn’t a very happy first meeting, but I was happy I can be there for them.

November 27th, 2012 was a horrible day. My grandma had a stroke. As it turned out, it was her third stroke, only none of us knew, not even her. Everything changed after that. It got increasingly harder to take care of her, but I was determined to keep doing this for her.

December 15th, 2012: My 34th birthday party was so much fun and by far, the most wonderful birthday I ever had. Doug made it special, as did my friends. I wore a pretty dress and felt beautiful, was surrounded by people I love, and felt so special. πŸ™‚

January 5th, 2013: It was the day Doug first told me that he loved me. I will never forget it. πŸ™‚ I had been saying it for a couple of months, but he hadn’t been ready to say it back until then. I told him not to say it until he was ready, until he knew that’s how he felt. So when he said it, I started to cry. Even though I knew he wasn’t ready for marriage, I knew that one day I would marry him. He was my best friend, my better half, and my partner that my son adored, which of course was MAJORLY important to me. Finally, after what felt like eons, I found the one for me.

May 23rd, 2013 was a very happy day. It was the day that Doug and I moved into our home. So, now it’s been nearly a year since we have been living here. What a year it’s been. It’s small, but it is lovely. πŸ™‚ This is OUR home. We got Onyx (our black cat) on July 13th, 2013. He turned one on May 5th. Then we got Lucy (our puppy) on Christmas Day 2013. She was born November 16th, 2013. Then, the newest member to our family was added on May 3rd of this year. My my, our family has grown and our house feels like it shrunk lol. But, we are doing well and I thank God each day for every member of my little family. (and for every member of my big family, every friend, and every person who has helped shape my life. I love every one of you. Oh and by the way, Zach’s 11th birthday was celebrated on November 9th of 2013 and it was military themed, fun times, lots of noise, pizza of course lol and you know it….ice cream cake, family, friends, oh and flying helicopters.

Well I think this concludes this blog for now. There are other dates, but these to me were the most significant. Have a great day everyone. Peace, Love, and Harmony. God Bless!

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