Monday, August 08, 2005

Growing Up Cleaver

My friend Lesa suggested writing down a brief biography...I'm taking her challenge so sit back and see my story for what it is. Life growing up in one of the most "normal" families that exists in today's society. My friends always flocked to my house because we were so normal and healthy. I think you'll see that even the Cleavers have a few dysfunctions........

Most of my life was spent on good ol' Apache Trail in Baytown, TX. I was born in the old San Jacinto hospital and lived in Baytown until I left for college. The basics of my family are as follows:

Skip & Nell - parents
My Matt - older bro
Papa & Bebe - Skip's parents
Daddy Bill & Nana - Nell's parents

I went to Noah's Ark nursery school. I have only one vivid memory from there. I was put in time out essentially for associating with the wrong person. Apparently the friend I was playing with had NOT finished her craft project and I had. Regardless, we both got in trouble. It's quite possible that my little brain twisted the facts on this one, but that's how I remember it.

Elementary school was at Harlem Elementary. Harlem is no longer standing. I believe it was condemned and torn down. I had almost all great teachers there. I can only think of one exception. I won't name names, but in 1st/2nd grade math I learned how to yawn through my ears. I did not, however learn my math tables. Grades 3-5 were awesome. I was put in the GATE (gifted and talented - whatever that means) program. I had lots of friends....mostly boys. I didn't seem to fit in well with or be comfortable with the girls much. Essentially, I went to school and church and played whenever possible. Summers were full of big adventures in the "big ditch and woods" in the back of our neighborhood. At night I remember frequent bedtime Bible stories and on Saturday mornings Dad cooked. I understand now that this was to give Mom a break. Back then I just thought it was fun. Most important in this stage was accepting Christ as my savior in the 4th grade - baptized on Christmas Eve with my whole family there.

Jr. High was at Cedar Bayou. I believe all of the buildings I had classes in have been condemned and torn down. I continued in the GATE program here and added some extracurricular stuff like orchestra (violin), track, and basketball. This is when the youth group fun started at church. We had a group of parents called YAC (youth advisory committee) that planned our activities. Basically Jr. High had pleasant enough experiences, but over all it stunk. People are just mean in Jr. High, and in the words of one of my high school teachers I was an "ugly duckling." The swan days didn't hit until AFTER Jr. High. I did meet a boy right before Jr. High started that became a recurring person in my life. We'll call him B. What do I remember most, I got inducted into the National Jr. Honor Society and my dad wasn't there because he had a volleyball game. Sorry Dad, no slam's just sticks out in my brain.

High school was at Robert E. Lee. I'm happy to say it has NOT been torn down (yet). High school was terribly fun. I discovered boys and they discovered me (the swan phase finally hit). I was in good classes and had some great teachers. We got a youth minister at church. Mark & Kathi Waltenbaugh will FOREVER be cherished by me. They truly helped shape who I am today. I dated a boy for about a year and a half in the middle of high school. Mark & Kathi, along with my Daddy Bill were instrumental in helping me realize that I needed a Christian boy in my life. B, by the way went to MoSt so he qualified. My senior year I began dating him. I fell hard. So did he. We would do the on again off again dance for years. Graduation came, now I'm a "grown up." B and I are not together, but want to be. He's going to be gone most of the summer so we don't do anything about it. When he gets back I'm dating his best friend. Oops.

Freshman and Sophomore year of college were at good old Harvard on the Hill (Lee College). I worked there as well. It was fun and I got the basics out of the way. I am glad that when you transfer, you just move the hours, not the grades. Due to pure laziness I received 18 hours of D in Mr. Britt's American Studies program. (yes, as in John Britt) It was a fantastic class, I was just lazy. Summer between these years B and I hook up again. This time for keeps I think. I was blissfully happy. Then my dad got fired in the fall. (unjustly) My Papa's heath started to crater. I decided that I would not go to A&M - partly to save $ given Dad's situation and mostly because of B. My parents threw a fit. There were tears. I sent my application in. I got my acceptance a few days before my Papa died. A few weeks later B broke up with me.

I moved to College Station in August. I still thought B and I would find our way to each other again. We wrote and talked on the phone. Meanwhile I date a geek in the band so I could get good seats at the football games. In November I started a part-time job and met a boy named Sanford. You all know him as Easy. Since I was dating the band geek we did not start seeing each other, but I new that there was something special about him and I wanted to be around him as much as possible. Over Christmas my dad got his job back, geek and I split up, and B and I had our final time together. I knew it was really the end and was oddly not upset at all. Of course, I had already met Easy.

The rest of the story goes fairly quickly. Easy and I started dating in January of 1997. My Daddy Bill died in November that year. Easy proposed two weeks later. By March I was diagnosed by my doctor as suffering from depression. Somehow I thought simply knowing what I was battling would make it go away. Easy and I got married at MoSt in December 1998. The first year of our marriage was rough - it was the most awful stage of my depression. During our second year married my mother took me to a Women of Faith conference. There I heard Sheila Walsh speak. I FINALLY began to realize that I had been ignoring God for a long time. I started the long journey home. The healing process for me is pure God. He took me from thinking of driving off bridges to happy, healthy, and full of life...His life. It took several years for all that to happen. In January of 2001 my Bebe passed away. She was overjoyed to be going to live with Jesus. I was scared the big D would take over again in my grief, but God carried my through. I got pregnant in September that year and we had Paris on June 24, 2002. In the summer of 2003 I went through Weigh Down Workshop and my relationship with my Lord really began to change. We placed membership at A&M Church of Christ and began making Christian friends. By the summer of 2004 I was finally able to say with confidence that I had been healed of my depression. Tripp arrived on October 27th.

So, here I am. 29 years old, I have an AMAZING husband, and two wonderful children. We are getting ready to build a new house. I have two degrees (BS in psychology and MA in Counseling) that I'm not getting paid to use but use daily. I have an ever growing relationship with Jesus Christ and my Heavenly Father. I have Christian friends to help me along in the journey and I have a fantastic relationship with my extended family. My husband and I have a joint vision of what we want for our family and the future is exciting.

Oh, and as for the Cleaver might have been easy to miss if you weren't reading between the a nut shell, we don't always agree on what's important in life, we don't always share the same opinions in politics, religion, or what car to drive, we don't grieve as a family when we loose one of our own (we tend to pull away from each other), we battle depression and anxiety.........I could add things to the list, but you get the picture...we're just like everyone else! Above all, however, in all of our dysfunction we cling to the fact that God is the head of our family and that His plan is best and He is in control of all the things we are faced with while on this little spinning ball of life. I will forever be grateful to my Daddy Bill & Nana, Papa & Bebe, and Mom & Dad for teaching me to trust in the Lord and to accept the peace He has to offer.

I just realized that I didn't talk about my Matt. I guess he'll have to do his biography for you to know him....suffice to say that he is the BEST BIG BROTHER IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!

1 comment:

Toppooch said...

I read! Thanks for sharing. Got goosebumps learning what Weigh Down did for you!

Love you! Lesa