It is finally time to prepare you for how the park ranger and I met and our love story.
First, I want to give you background on who I am and where I have been. If you have been reading my blog from the beginning, just be patient, this is some review with a few bits and pieces I have been holding back!
I grew up in a town in Mississippi next door to my grandparents. They had a lovely old home with white columns and between our home and their home was about an acre of what we called "the park". A little life foreshadowing, huh? It was full of beautiful trees and flowering plants that my great grandmother planted and tended to with help of only her husband and a "garden helper" named Obie. They also had a lady that worked for our family for a little over 50 years named Ira. I adored her and she was family to me. I miss her as much as I miss my grandmother now that they are with the Lord.
My childhood was a bit of a dichotomy, my parents were divorced and my mom struggled to raise her 4 children on her own. On the flip side, I had my grandparents (on my father's side) next door who made sure I had the "right" clothes, involved in the "right" circles, everything that prepared me to be in the "right" social club.
I have 3 biological brothers and when my mother married my step-father (who never treated me like a step-child) she took on raising his 2 boys at the ages of 4 and 6. She never treated them like anything but her own, they lived with us full-time so she was their mother. So, those of you who have number issues, that means I have 5 brothers. Nope, not a sister in sight.
I was an over-scheduled child, I was in gymnastics, dancing, softball, cheerleading, the social club, church activities and on and on. I do appreciate my mother's sacrifice that allowed me to do these things that many others were not as fortunate to do. However......
.....A warning to all mother's out there, find what your children likes, what they are good at, and their passion. Don't put them in every sport or every type of lesson just so they will be in the "right" crowd, that makes it about you and your social acceptance needs, not theirs. Oh, was I child training preaching, alright, moving on.
I was the head cheerleader and what everyone would consider a popular girl. I had friends that were in all different kinds of "groups" and because of this I was ostracized at times by the other "popular" girls. They talked behind my back, made things up about me, and pretty much were not real friends. As I look back, I would not change this time in my life. My feelings were hurt at times, but if I walked back into my high school right now with an array of people I graduated with, I could look them all in the eye and be happy that I was who I was, treated them how I treated them, and be even happier about the person I am today.
I was baptized at the age of 11 and was involved in my church youth group. In all honesty, I was baptized because I had been in church the majority of my life, I thought that was the next thing I was supposed to do, and because my friend Robin was going to get baptized. Yeah, yeah, I know that was not right, but give me a break, I was 11.
During my last two years of high school, I was in church sporadically as I was over-scheduled and hanging out with older people that were not church-goers. I lived in a town that trains Navy and Marine Corp jet pilots and it was during the "Top Gun" times. So, hanging out with these college educated pilot trainees was much more important to me than some of my other commitments, um, like church. I am not proud of this, but this is The True Park Wife Story, so I am just keeping it true.
All in all, I had a very blessed childhood. My brothers would say that I got away with a lot more than them because I was the girl, the only girl. Maybe that is true, but I tend to think I was too busy with all my commitments to get into too much trouble, plus I was such a people pleaser that I did not want to let anyone down.
Next, the college years, a few of my fun jobs, and eventually I will get to that fateful day that I saw that Wrangler-wearing park ranger walk into my life.
The Park Wife
Chapter 2- The College Years