Thursday, December 31, 2009


We brought all of our belongings back from Albuquerque after our annual Christmas visit this year. I am happy to have all of our things here, even if I am discouraged by the sheer volume of items I need to sort through. I am off tomorrow and Friday, so I am taking my time (and yes, I am up at 3:15 in the morning typing this).

So here is where my disappointment lies... I have opened several boxes of things from my childhood (school years). I won Student of the Month several times in elementary school, I got citizenship awards and scholastic awards and was a published author by the fourth grade. I won the school spelling bee with the word "bikini" in fifth grade. I worked on independent studies on grade levels far above my peers. I was a truly gifted and generally well-liked student.

In middle (junior high) school, I won the spelling bee at school level all three years and missed out in the last round at district level in eighth grade to a girl who was later disqualified for cheating. I worked as a junior docent at the NM Museum of Natural History and Science, I was in the gifted program, I took advanced level courses. I had an unsteady life at home, with my mother in school (amongst other things) so I really threw myself at my education with everything I had. I was on newspaper, yearbook, peer counseling, student counsel, drama and every other special interest activity I qualified for (including a very interesting video mural project). I have letters of recommendation from nearly every teacher and adult/mentor in my life. I even found a letter from the state representative for my neighborhood expressing his gratitude that I represented the South Valley (not known for it's education per se). I got into the local Catholic school with a 97% on the entrance exam.

In high school, for once, I was average (well, in the classes I took). It was a relief in some ways, but I wonder if it was just the attention that propelled me forward up to that point. My parents, although supportive, never really praised me the way teachers and peers had. I definitely still maintained my grades (although I got my first B in Mr. Penn's Algebra/Geometry class). I fit in well enough, I never had a problem making friends. I was not able to join many activities until my junior year due to bus schedules and my parents and what-not.

You see, my parents moved to Las Vegas the summer between my Sophomore and Junior years. My mom graduated from Pharmacy School and landed a job in Sin City. They gave me the choice to stay put and live between my grandparents and my mom's best friend, or move. I chose to stay. I was very disciplined and I was, for the most part, very happy. I had a boyfriend within the first few weeks of school. He made me giddy, like the sun shone just for me every day. He was (is) smart and funny and jovial (yes, I said it, jovial). We did math homework on the phone, hung out on the weekends, wrote little love notes in class, the usual high school stuff. I joined Physics club, cooking club, drama (back stage--even though I had a small part in one play) and Speech and Debate. I literally had the perfect teenage life, except that my family was not there. So, what did I do?

I moved to Las Vegas. I did not fit in. I did not join any clubs. I got a job. I made out with lots of bad boys. I drank. I snuck out. I snick in. I skipped school (although I still managed straight A's). I rebelled. I graduated, with honors.

So, here I am at 28. I am married. I have 2 kids. I have an associates degree (or three). I work the same job I had in high school. I never realized all those big dreams everyone had for me.

Some days I am disappointed. Then I remember, I am lucky. I can find something every day that makes me happy. So happy in fact, that the disappointment is reserved for delirious ramblings at three-something in the morning.