I'm the infant born to a couple married twelve years, the first baby her mother was able to carry to full term alive; in fact, the only one.
I am the baby who was so bald-headed when she was a year old that some lady at church told her mom she had better “take that baby to a doctor and see why her hair won't grow.”
I am the child who learned to make believe early in life because there were no neighbor kids to play with. I am the one who wanted a pony more than anything in the world, and pretended to be an Indian every chance she got, hoping that somewhere in her background there was a drop or two of Indian blood.
I am the girl who didn't have close friends in school, and eventually figured out she didn’t need them anyway; after all, she had kittens at home to play with. The one who, when sides were chosen in gym class, usually got picked last because she wasn’t any good at sports... the one who ran the wrong way with the football, and couldn’t hit the baseball when it was her turn at bat.
I am the sixth-grader who asked her cousins what that machine in the school rest room was for, the one that had “Kotex” written on it, and wondered why they giggled and refused to tell. That girl who, a few weeks later, sat in a room with the other sixth-grade girls, trying to understand what the school nurse was telling them about their bodies. The only girl in the group who had never heard these things before.
I am the teenager who dreamed of doing or writing something significant that would change the world, and I am now the old woman who realizes she never accomplished that, and that the world would be exactly the same if she had never existed.
I am the girl who went through high school without ever going on a date, turning down the couple of boys who were brave enough to ask her because she didn’t know what she was supposed to say or do, with a boy. I’m the one who never considered going to the prom.
I’m the girl the driver-education teacher made fun of in front of the other kids because of her pathetic attempts at driving, and said he’d pass her if she'd promise never to drive; he thought he was being funny, but he wasn’t. At least she kept her promise to him.
I am the girl who, at age twenty-one, somehow stumbled onto a man who believed with all his heart she was beautiful and never wavered in his affection for her through forty years of marriage (so far), allowing her all the solitude she required and spoiling her outrageously.
I am the newlywed who wanted a dozen children because babies are cute, and realized after having two of them that she wasn’t that great a mother and probably shouldn’t have had kids at all, so she got fixed.
I’m the woman who tended large gardens, raised pigs and lambs and calves and chickens, finally saw her dream of having a horse come true, milked registered Jersey cows, and loved doing all that; and when a thing stopped being fun, she stopped doing it.
I’m the one who has almost always owned a guitar and longed for somebody to jam with, but for the most part sang and played alone, without an audience, and got by fine.
I am the grandmother who dotes on babies and toddlers, but has a difficult time dealing with children once they are old enough to go to school. Let's not even talk about when they hit puberty.
I am the woman who is scared of motorcycles because of all the statistics she reads about the dangers, but rides often behind her husband (praying without ceasing) on his “mid-to-late-life-crisis" Honda Gold Wing, because he's so ecstatic when they are riding.
I am the person who has done almost everything she wanted to in her life, and wouldn’t feel a bit cheated if she found out tomorrow she had a terminal illness, because life has been that sweet.
I’m that woman.