Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top Ten Defining Moments

I have this friend. She is amazing beyond words. I laugh so hard my face hurts for days. And she makes me think. She is a therapist so I get a lot of free counseling. LOL!
She asked me the other day to come up with my ten most defining moments. Can you believe that? In all my life, with 3 ex-husbands, five children, 3 grandchildren and oodles of strangeness in my head, she wants me to come up with only 10 defining moments.
Of course, at first thought, I was down to five as the births of my children would have to be there. Well, I thought about it and decided they were not going to be on this list. (YIKES!)
While each one is special in their own right and each birth unique, those moments did not define me. As I became a mother long before their birth. Which took me to my first defining moment. Now, most of these are just in the order I thought of them, or in the order I want to talk about them. They are not chronological nor in order of importance. Except maybe this first one….

#1 When I told my father I was having my first child
It was that moment in time that I felt like a mother. He was so happy and so proud. He picked me up and twirled me around. At that very moment, I knew I was doing something phenomenal! He made me feel like that. I was going to be a mother. And my father will say that is the noblest job in the world. He thinks mothers rank right up there with God, The President, and Stan Musical. Yes, Stan the Man. When he asked when I was due and I replied with “April 25th” He exclaimed, “A SPRING TRAINING BABY!” Definitely, my most defining moment!
Now, in no particular order or importance!

~~When my husband said he didn’t know if he loved me.
That’s all there is to that one. At the time, it was horrifying. Now, I am just grateful!

~~When I wrote THE END on Just Sippy
As a writer, there have many attempts at “the book”. When I started Just Sippy I was at work and the first line came to my head. I immediately wrote it down as a text in my phone. When I went home that night and put it into the computer; I had almost the whole first chapter done that night. I wrote the next day and the next. I just knew. I knew this was the one. I told my mom and my kids. I told my dad. And my friends. For the next several months, they agonized while I wrote and read to them. Finally my son said, I don’t want to know any more. Wait til it’s done. Then I really knew. I started sending chapters to my mom and sister. They were begging for more. I struggled over time lines and events. I re-wrote. Changed the storyline twice. And then one day, it just clicked. Fell into place and I wrote THE END. My friend walked into my office just as I did it and I told her. She jumped up and down and then I cried. It was done. Bittersweet I think as I had spent so much time with my characters, they had become family. It was hard to not be with them everyday.
Until I found a publisher, of course, and the word “edit” entered the picture. Welcome back, guys! HA! Enter my next great defining moment

~~When I found out Just Sippy was going to be published.
Enough said really. Can’t put it into words. Seeing it out there. Hearing people say they loved it. There are no words. The moments continue to be defining! I am growing and learning more each and every day more of what makes me who I am and who I have yet to become.

~~The day my grandmother died.
This would be my maternal grandmother. Since I was the product of a teen pregnancy, my maternal grandmother and I were very close. I spent a lot of time with her and my grandfather. She always had heart trouble but as a child I was unaware. I thought ALL grandma’s had those little white pills. She died suddenly one Sunday night when I was 14. I remember my mother running out of the house and I knew something was wrong. She came home late that night and told me she had died. It was the first time someone close to me passed away. I felt so bad for my grandfather as he was just so sad. He and I became closer after that. I felt the need to take care of him. Enter my need to “fix” everything maybe.

~~ The day my brother said “I’m not retarded anymore”
My brother, diagnosed with cerebral palsy and mild retardation at 18 months old, is my best bud! Always has been my shadow. Two years younger I taught him to walk, dress himself, and dance. He has always been there in my life. We never made him feel incapable of doing something. He was always told he could do anything. When he was little he wore a helmet to protect his head from falls. He was never allowed to get up and walk without it. I remember one day when we were about 13 and 15, he was sitting on the couch and he just took his helmet off and said “I am not retarded anymore.” I didn’t think he even knew the word “retarded” as I myself hated it. (Punched a kid once but that is another story). Mom and I both looked at him and Mom asked, “What are you?” Joe just looked at us and said “Just regular”. We laughed and laughed about that. To this day, I feel like we coined the phrase “regular Joe”. And from that day on, Joe was just regular. He never wore that helmet again. He had to do chores and make his own bed. Today, he lives in his own apartment , pays his own bills, and attends and plays in the National Checker Tournament sponsored by the American Checker Federation every year. Just a regular Joe.

~~ When I left home at 18
This one is a given, I think. Everyone probably considers leaving home a defining moment. But, I was 18 and had just graduated high school; As valedictorian, I was definitely heading to college. Nope. I shocked my entire graduating class and my parents by leaving California and moving back to my hometown in Iowa. You know…the “I’m taking a year off to find myself”. Without a plan or a job, I moved in with my grandfather. Within a year, I was married. I didn’t attend college until I was well into my 30’s. **NOTE TO SENIORS-Do NOT take a year off!! GO TO COLLEGE NOW!

~~The day my Dad said the words “I have cancer”
This was almost 13 years ago. Those words will never erase from my memory. They resonate in my mind; a permanent stamp in my grey matter. The cancer, found in his mouth was renal cell carcinoma, which if you know anything at all about cancer, that means metastatic cancer, or MOVED from one place to another-in his case kidney to mouth. This was NOT good! He underwent surgery to remove the kidney and an adrenal gland. Years of medicine. He got supper skinny. He got sick again. We had a doctor error. Which led to REALLY REALLY sick! Well, today, Dad still says “I have cancer”. Yes, he is still with us. Still fighting the big fight. It has spread now to other places and he has given all the organs he can. Right now, we are winning with medicine! He can be found handing out cold beer every Wednesday night at our local VFW, telling stories and perfecting the art of making a wicked Shirley Temple. He writes too. He has published 3 of them; Zapata's Horse, Ogallala:The Rise of Morning Sun, and The Minimal Man, all available on Amazon! There’s your plug, Dad! I love you!

~~SOLD OUT on Amazon
Self explanatory! And yes, THEY ARE GETTING MORE!!

~~Having grandchildren
How much more defined can you be? There really isn’t anything better than when a little mini person calls you Grammy? Or Mimi. Those are my names anyway and it ROCKS! And no, it doesn’t make me feel old at all!!! My son turning 30 in a couple years---yeah, that might!

Okay, so there you have it. My Top Ten Defining Moments. What are yours? This is not as easy as it seems. It is actually quite hard and I will think about it for days and wish I would have put something else on it. There are more moments that have defined me and they are either too personal, too sad, too embarrassing, or not suitable for children. HA!
So, get to it. Give me yours. Comment here or send me a link to your blog about it.
Until next time


  1. I never knew your were valedictorian! One of my biggest regrets is losing touch with you and your family. I am upset at my parents for this one. You are an amazing woman Kimm!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Amanda. I was indeed valedictorian of my class. I was honored by the request. It is sad we have lost contact over the years. When the kids and I talk about old times, you and your family are always in the stories! Keep in touch now though.

  3. Beautiful post. I love your choices and explanations. I lost my maternal grandfather to cancer and my mother was the one who was given the news of his disease first. I was too young to realize how hard that was on her especially, taking care of my grandpa and grandma and still having time for my sister and me, but I realize now and it makes your story more touching. I love that your dad is fighting and making Shirley Temples. It's beautiful and inspiring.
    And your brother's story <3 I'm grinning like an idiot right now. Standing ovation for him and your family for being strong and generous enough to be there for him.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing a part of you, Caro. I'm sorry for the losses you experienced too. My father is an inspiration. We are blessed to still have him with us and cherish every moment!

    Thanks again.
    Stop by anytime