You know what I love to watch on TV? Dance shows, talent shows, and competitions. I love watching all the people trying to reach their dreams. I love watching the cheesy back stories that are made to tug at your heart-strings. Most of all though, I love when they have their mother or father on, waiting in the wings…cheering them on. It never fails that I will get a little misty eyed when watching the parents cheer on little Suzy’s dance performance or little Tommy’s singing performance. It never fails that they’ve had to overcome some great hurdle to be there that day, or that place in their lives. My mind always seems to drift to Katie-Anne in these moments. I think that I’m like every parent in the regards that I want my child to do great things. When I was flag captain in band, I wanted to be the best. I wanted to have my parents out there to see what I could do because I honestly thought I was pretty damn good (at the time). What most of the kids and teachers didn’t know was… that was all I had growing up.
I grew up in a beautiful place of the world named Fort Walton Beach, Florida. (850 in the house!!!) White sandy beaches, amazing shopping, and so much to do as a child. That is, unless, you were one of the many that couldn’t for a number of reasons. Too poor, bullied, behind in grades, and often, through no fault of your own, you become the outsider. I had a few friends, some closer that others, but non knew my dark secret. I was being raised by my grandparents, well most people knew this but not really why. I never told anyone because I was ashamed. My mother was a very mean, very abusive drinker that didn’t hesitate to take her problems, real or imagined out on me at any given moment. Most ways it was very physical, some more mental. I could tell you stories for days that you would not believe…but not today. Getting to my point, when I returned to live with Memaw and Papa I was supposed to going into my senior year. I had been tested and put into gifted classes in my 6th grade (deficient gifted btw whatever that means lol). In fact though, I had failed the 9th grade three times while living in Texas. So the school board got together with my grandparents to try to save me. They took all of my 9th grade years and what I passed in each year and decided to put me in as a junior instead of a freshman again. I had to take summer school and correspondence courses as well as only one elective, which was band. I was a good flag girl. I could do a double double and almost a triple double (toss flag, it spins 3 times in the air while I spin 2 times under it and then catch it in a blaze of triumph!). I would go to practice everyday excited to learn more but afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. I was on the big side you see. I was seen to some as a bitch, to others as stand offish. I was awkward and always afraid of getting in trouble. When our instructor would yell at me for doing something wrong…I just wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. I think I came across like I did because I had no concept, after being with my mother as a child and preteen, on how to treat people, or how to react normally to certain situations . I didn’t want to get made fun of, laughed at, or a number of things that happens to those that get bullied. The other side to this is…that I didn’t let people in. I was standoffish because I couldn’t take the chance that I would get hurt again. I was so lonely. But not lonely enough to let anyone really in… or leave and go back to my mother.
Despite all this, I did get to be flag captain in the winter guard. I struggled to make it though every practice, ever run through, ever exercise we had to do to be part of the show… and I did it all with Sick Sinus Syndrome. Oh what is Sick Sinus Syndrome you may ask? It is where my resting heart rate is between 20-25bpm. Without a pacemaker, like I have now, I was literally trying to just get enough oxygen to breath. I was told I was out of shape, ate too much, and because I was a charity case because my grandparents couldn’t afford to take me or enough money for the trips to all the extra places the band went, there were a few times that I was left behind. Imagine if they had known then that my resting blood pressure was 40/60 give or take a few.
My grandparents came to one show the whole two years. I don’t blame them, they were old and my Papa still worked so he was too tired to go. Every single show though, I would always look around, in case someone was there for just me…to cheer me on. There never was though… I decided early on then that if I had kids that I would do everything differently. I would be present at every competition, every dance recital, every championship chess game. Whatever it was, I would be there. I would be their face in the crowd. I would be on the sidelines cheering them on. You know the one I mean.
After I had my own children, I would always day-dream about what instrument they would choose to play, what style to dance, what to song sing…whatever it was, I would be there hopefully embarrassing them in the best way possible. Being the mother in the curtains waiting for her littles to come running into her arms and her tear streaked face.
But now, I don’t know how much of that dream can come true. Don’t get me wrong, she’s strong as all hell, but she’s missing five, very much needed, ribs on her right side that will keep her from doing any kind of contact sports. She can swim but not competitively due to how her clavicle is now attached to her sternum (by a wire). Dance maybe could be a possibility if its contemporary, but never with a male partner…she’d have to be solo.
I know there are tons she will be able to do, academically for sure. She already has a huge interest in science, which I TOTALLY support! As a grown up I want to be a Planetary Volcanologist ( No I am not grown up, nor a Planetary Vulcanologist…shout out Office Depot lol). I want to study volcanos on other planets. I’m not sure if there is some wildly crazy science competition that she could be in, maybe a science fair type thing. I’d be there though, with my nerdiest shirt on, tears running down my face, and running down the aisles screaming, “That’s my baby! She just learned how to turn M&M brownies into a biodegradable form of energy for space travel! That’s my baby!” She’ll need to learn to read first though, which she has absolutely no interest in by the way. But hey, that’s how it is when cancer happens…