Now that I am living away from home for the first time, I have started to see my childhood in a different way. It's no longer something i'm living in, it is now something that is in the past. Through all of this reflecting, one thing has really stood out, and that is how unbelievably stable the first 18 years of my life were. If I could do one of those product reviews you see on Amazon about my childhood, I would give it 5 stars.
When I was born, the fact that I had a disability was a complete surprise. My parents had no indication that their second baby would be any different from the first, so I'm sure the whole thing was quite a shock. Because of the fact that everyone in small towns feels the need to know what's happening in everyone else's life, there was a lot of extra drama surrounding my birth. People would call with the pretense of concern, which i'm sure was part of the reason, and then ask questions about me that were really personal and not information that my parents wanted to share at the time. I have been told that my birth was the reason for them buying their first answering machine. My parents did not let this change in their lives become an excuse for giving up. They figured out how to provide me with the best possible life in the most effective way. I am so grateful for that. When I was in high school , I remember at some point learning that babies can be tested for the disability I have before they are born. I came home from school and asked my mom why she didn't get that test, and her answer is possibly the greatest thing anyone has ever told me. She said, "It didn't matter, because I knew I wanted you either way." Now if that doesn't get you all choked up, nothing will.
Now that I'm older and have met new people who come from all different backgrounds, I realize how rare it is these days to have a mother and father who stayed together throughout my entire childhood. I always knew that Daddy and Mama loved each other, and didn't really need to spend a lot of time thinking about it. Though things weren't perfect, I learned that they are not quitters. They are persistent and they work through things instead of jumping ship. I now understand how rare that is and how important it was in making me who I am today.
One of my favorite memories from childhood is getting home from school, doing my homework, and then waiting for my dad to get home from work. Sometimes I would even sit by the window with my dog and wait to see his car pull into the driveway. Mama would be in the kitchen making supper and I would announce "Daddy's home" and the dog would bark and run to the door to greet him. It seemed like such a typical thing at the time, I just assumed everyone's Daddy came home every night. Now I know that's not true, and I realize how important a stable father is in a girl's life.
So what's my point in writing all of this down? I guess it's because I feel like many people's testimonies are about how they survived a turbulent childhood, and I have never been able to relate to that. So I guess I needed to figure out a way to build a testimony from a stable childhood, and what I came up with is this.
I know what love looks like, because I have always been loved. Because of this, I have a bigger responsibility to show love to others. I can't be unloving towards people and blame it on the fact that I was not loved, because I was, God has shown me what love is, and now it's up to me to be an example of that love to everyone I meet.