Hull: Bloom where you are planted
With every person comes a story and the opportunity for new beginnings. This is definitely one of those times for me, as my life has been turned upside down!
I was born and raised during the ’60s in Phoenix, where it still felt like a small town even though it was growing rapidly. Listening for the ice cream man every evening and shooting chinaberries with my slingshot were common events. Climbing on my bike and riding to the baseball field where we slurped on slushies’ and just hung out until the sun faded and the smell of orange blossoms permeated our very thoughts was just part of summertime.
Life was very carefree for me growing up. Of course, there were challenges. But in retrospect, they were minor compared to what lie ahead for me.
Being an only child to a single mom allowed me to generally be the center of attention. However, due to the fact that my mom was the sole provider and worked many hours, it also — inadvertently — created a lot of loneliness for me. From these experiences was born my intense desire to begin a family as soon as possible. I met my current husband of 34 years, Clayton, in Rocky Point, Mexico, when I was just 16 years old during spring break. We married four years later when we were both sure that this would be a true lifetime relationship. You see, my husband was also an only child, raised by a single dad and had the same needs for a “family” as I did.
Life moved fast for us as we had three children by the time I was 25 and opened our own construction company. There’s so many stories to share with you about those times, but let’s keep moving and we will revisit them later. We went on to have one more child later on in our life, just when we thought that we were pretty much finished with the early child-rearing years. What a blessing he was, as were all of our children, but we just weren’t anticipating this one. You know the cliché, “You complete me?” Well, he completed our family. The tapestry was vibrant and colorful.
As with any family, the years brought so many moments of the most memorable and intense joy, as well as excruciating pain and heartache. But again, nothing compared to what lie ahead. I have always said that we, as parents, actually get to live many lives. We live vicariously through our children’s hopes and dreams. Sitting for endless hours at the gym while our daughter flew through the air on the uneven bars, listening with strained ears through the many band concerts, pacing the baseball field as our son pitched his umpteenth game, driving home with mixed feelings of pride and sadness after leaving our first-born child at college, or sitting around the dancing campfires at all of the Scout meetings, were just a few of the many lives which my husband and I have been privileged to journey through. Without our children, we would never have had those chances at all the different forms of stardom.
Currently, our oldest son is 33, married and serving in the U.S. Army. Our daughter is 31, divorced with three children and just became a registered nurse. Our next son is 28, married and serving in the U.S. Air Force; next is our youngest son, who would have been 18 this last April but is residing in Heaven instead. He died by suicide 18 months ago, which we will speak more about another time.
So how did I get here? I used to tell my kids all the time to “bloom where you are planted.” However, it really has had the most meaning for me lately. After a lifetime of being focused on providing a “home” for my family, 34 years later I have had to re-evaluate what “home” means. All of my children live out of my home state of Arizona, my youngest son is in Heaven, and my husband is working in Dickinson. Suddenly, I am traveling constantly to and from wherever my family is, with the exception of Heaven. If I could, I would visit there as well. What do I take with me and how do I create “home” wherever I am? I leave behind my mom, friends and support system that have helped me with the loss of our son. We all agreed that we would just say “See you later,” not “Goodbye!” Everything seems so temporary and new except what lives in your heart, which you take with you no matter where you go.
So for today, my new beginning, I have my books, music, some cherished pictures, my favorite candle burning, my Bible and all of the thoughts jumbled up inside my head. I hung my clothes up in the new closet, put my makeup away and ate some of my favorite yogurt. When I finish writing, I will go to the local nursery and buy some flowers so that I can “bloom where I am planted!”
Hull is a wife, mother and motivational speaker and writer who, like many others, recently moved to Dickinson because of the energy industry. She will be writing a recurring column for Our Town. Read more on her blog at bloomwhereyouareplanted.areavoices.com.