I’ve spent the last few days turning my thoughts over and over again in my head, trying to decide how to start this story. What pieces of it I should share here with you and what exactly this whole thing will look like. Days later … and I am still pretty much where I started. Nowhere. Still, my story has something every great story seems to have — a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning looks like a pretty good place to start.
In the beginning
My story begins on a cool, spring day in the late 1970’s. Two very young, very beautiful people were exchanging their vows just outside a quiet, little cabin near a lake hidden deep in the Carolinas. The azaleas were blooming and their flower girl held, but one large dandelion to match her long yellow dress.
She was smaller and petite. A striking beauty with dark Cherokee skin, eyes of green with flakes of gold, and hair as black as night. She wore not a gown, but a simple, white eyelet sundress. As always, she stole the show.
They celebrated the day by sharing an organic meal with friends and family, and a tower of carrot cake covered in daisies for dessert. I was just starting to show beneath that lovely eyelet sundress.
I can’t tell you much more about this day … what I do know, I know from two tinted and slightly waterlogged photos I have been carrying with me for the last 16 years. There are portions of my past, when I know we were all together, but I have spent much of my life blocking out the early years.
I’ve done quite well at it and from what I could tell, I was getting along just fine.
But when I started having children of my own, suddenly my new life began triggering memories of my old one. My past started to catch up with me. Often times, I am taken back by some of the hauntingly real memories that come back to me like shards of glass from a broken mirror. I question it all and most days I wonder about what could have been.
The thing you really need to know about my parents is that they have made poor choices. Good people, who made bad choices. Two beautiful people living life as big as they could and slowly being swallowed up by it. I wonder if either of them even saw it coming.
This big, big life they kept trying to control finally began to control them. In our lives, there has been lots of pain and brokenness. Broken hearts and broken things, broken people who have never really been put back together.
And after that, there were many homes.
Many families; many doubts; many rules; many tears.
Many children — just like me.
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