I was invited to be a guest on Stories of the Upstate, a Greenville-based podcast that interviews people from the community.
The host, Loyd Ford, is awesome. I’ve actually interviewed him before and found him to be fascinating. He believes everyone has an interesting story, a belief we have in common.
But this isn’t about his podcast or my appearance on it.
This is about what I didn’t say.
Ford asked me right off the bat to talk about my childhood. It wasn’t a surprise question. I knew it was coming, but I was nervous. I’ve only been on one other podcast and it was just last week – and it was hosted by a good friend of mine.
I was nervous, so I didn’t say everything I’d want to say if I were sitting down to write a succinct description of my childhood. In fact, I barely mentioned my family.
In my mind, that’s a huge misstep.
So here’s what I would say.
My childhood was almost exactly what I’d want it to be if I were to do it again. I was surrounded by love from a huge family.
I had two brothers who rarely made it known that they found me annoying and would include me when they picked teams for neighborhood football and street hockey games.
I had two sisters who were already nearing adulthood when I was born and, though I only got to see a few times a year as a kid, went out of their way to make those moments special. They taught me, by example, so much about being a young woman, what kind of man to find for a partner – someone who works hard for his family and will have your back – and they continue to show me what it means to be a great mother, even when it’s the most challenging job in the world.
My parents weren’t rich, but they made every opportunity I could’ve ever wanted possible. They supported me when I wanted to play sports I wasn’t good at and continued to pay for dance classes long after they knew I was just in it for the social aspect and wasn’t actually going to be a Rockette (shoutout to my fourth grade dream). They made sure I was well fed and they sat with me while I learned to read. When I was a young kid, they never let me act shy when an adult tried to talk to me. They taught me to look people in the eye and always try to be kind.
When a hurricane devastated many of our friends, neighbors and even strangers in Raleigh, they carted me all over town to help clean up yards and deliver hot meals.
I had all of the time in the world to play outside and run and laugh and make up games and just be a kid.
I did pretty well in school and had endless access to books, one of my favorite things. I even made friends with the librarians who would take extra time to talk to me about things I might like to read next.
I wrote books. I read. I ran. I swam. I played. I loved
I was allowed to be a kid in ways that so many people aren’t afforded.
If nerves hadn’t got the best of me, this is what I would’ve said.