Saturday, June 23, 2012

Who I Am

My very thoughtful and loving mom (step mom, but I don't think of her that way) sent me this yesterday and it has had me thinking a lot.

Do you remember being a child and thinking about what you would be like when you grew up? Do you remember your hopes, dreams, loves, and fears?

Did you think you would be famous? Did you think you would be rich? Did you think you would be a football player or a singer or a teacher or a fireman or the president?

I remember wanting to be a mom and wanting to have babies. And I wanted to have lots of horses and be a "horseback rider". I wanted to be a writer, too.  I wanted to travel, and go and see lots of places. I wanted to have a lot of friends. I wanted to be beautiful, smart, and tough, and I wanted to have a handsome prince who loved me.  I never wanted to disappoint anyone and I hated being alone. I was afraid of falling and of failing (and was REALLY afraid of gorillas). I wanted to make my Daddy proud.
Me at about 3 years old
Little Erin
30 years and 12 kids later, and yes, I clearly still love babies and being a Mom. I have had horses (and hope to again) and love them more than any other animal in the universe. I have been a writer for a newspaper, enjoy writing this blog, and plan to write a book some day. I have been to many different countries and love to see new places, people and cultures. I have the very best friends in the world. I still really don't like to be alone and I am still afraid of falling, although I have gotten over my fear of gorillas. :) I have never stopped wanting to make my Daddy proud.

My "babies"
With my Daddy

BFF's :)

I love these girls!!
 And I sure as heck found my Prince Charming. :) Or I guess he found me.
My best friend and my soul mate
We've been married almost 16 years. I would not have this life without him.
Ooooooh, I love him. :)
I may not be "beautiful" by many of today's standards (I have short hair, I have super fair skin that I don't even try to tan, I have no boobs at all, and I have shoulders, arms, and legs that are muscly instead of super thin), but I am fit, I am confident, and I am happy with how I look.

I certainly am not smart all the time, but I was a straight A student, graduated at the top of my class, and got an academic scholarship to college. I left college to become a mom, but have continued to learn and educate myself on many things. I have made mistakes, but I believe that the BIG decisions in life I have made well.

I still don't like disappointing people, although now I really only care about what the people who matter the most think. My Heavenly Father and Jesus. Josh. My kids. My parents. My brother. My close friends. I used to care too much about what everyone thought, and tried too hard to get approval from everyone. And let me tell you, when you have 12 kids, when you adopt kids of different races and have a transracial family, when you adopt children who are HIV+, when you advocate for children who are HIV+, when you adopt children with significant special needs, when you run A LOT, when you become a marathoner and make lofty goals - there are plenty of people who don't approve and let you know all about it. But that's ok. I have the love and support of a wonderful group of people, and if I am doing what is right for me and for my family, then, as my wise Dad says, "No one else gets a vote."

I am happy to say that I am no longer afraid of failing either. Somewhere between the age of 5 and 35 I discovered and learned that it is ok to try and fail, and the trying is what makes life exciting and worth living. And even more importantly, "You have not failed until you quit trying." - Gordon B. Hinckley

So what would the child I once was think of the adult that I have become? I hope that she would be proud. I hope that she would think that I was kind of cool. I hope that she could see past the mistakes I have made. She would probably think 12 kids was wild (Brady Bunch times two!) and that 26.2 miles is really, really far.

I know she would be amazed with how blessed I am - not because I am famous or rich monetarily, but because my life is rich in what really matters. I have been blessed with the most incredible people in my life to love and be loved by, and with so many amazing experiences. And just when I think it can't get any better, I am blessed with another new key person in my life, or have another experience to treasure.

Discovering my love of running and finding a talent and my inner athlete was a fun surprise. I never dreamed of being a runner when I was a little girl, and I never could have dreamed of how much running would give to me and what a big part of me it was. 

My life has turned out so much better than I ever could have dreamed. Of course there have been challenges big and small and it has not been easy, but such is life. The challenges and the blessings have helped shape me into this adult that I have become. There have been many twists, turns, and surprises, but in a lot of ways I am the same little girl who doesn't like to be alone and who loves horses, hoodies, books, and babies. I am just older, wiser, and faster. :)


Kristen Lawrence said...

Your family is gorgeous and you sound like you have an amazing life! I think your child self would be thrilled with all her future accomplishments. Keep at it! :)

Jen@runfortheboys said...

This is beautiful, and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, inside AND out....and I'm not just saying that. I bet the little girl you once were would be excited if she could get a glimpse into your life today! Yours is, indeed, a wonderful life. Maybe we should have the children in our lives make these lists of dreams of what they want to achieve and then share them with them when they are all grown up.

Jen@runfortheboys said...

P.S. We need a new picture. :)

Mark Matthews said...

Great post. I am always wondering what my old self would think of my new self, and in fact, play it forward, and think 'what will my future self think about me now when he looks back. How can I make him proud.' Your post and raw courage and honesty on your DNF inspired me during my last marathon maybe more than any other of your running feats.

KimPossible said...

Great post, made me both laugh and cry :)
And I love Jen's idea to get our kids to write down their dreams and save it for them.
I love my life now and consider myself extremely blessed, but I didn't have the kind of childhood where I got to 'indulge' in having hopes and dreams, it was all I could do just to survive it. Maybe that's why this post was so so touching to me, thanks for sharing.
Btw, you've inspired me to get serious about my speed work. I am in a whole different ballpark from you but I'm making great strides. Shooting for a 25 minute 5k and 55 minute 10k before the year is over :)

Ugly said...

People shouldnt focus on the past....its history and a done deal....

I never liked to write down long term goals in the future either--they never occurred; more of a Kansas and Wizard of Oz thing....that 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'.

All we have is Today.

Cheryl said...

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift... that's why it's called the "present."

Suz and Allan said...

This is such a heartwarming post. The child you would be proud to be raised by the mom you. Your devotion and love for your family shines through in all that you do!

Jill said...

Awww, this is AWESOME. Really, really good. I know the past couple years have been very difficult for me and it makes me sad if I sit and think about it too long....this is not where I envisioned my life to be when I was a kid. But you know, I've accomplished so much - SO MUCH - and I can't be sad about that. Sometimes God just gives us little tests to make us stronger. All will be good.

You always continue to be a huge inspiration to me, thank you!!

i Run said...

Erin: Like a true Disney Princess, enjoy your wonderful, magical carpet ride! You deserve everything that comes your way! After all, you reap what you sow! Your are truly blessed with the richest of gifts! Cheers to you!

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

this might be my favorite post you have ever written (which, by the way, says a LOT because i love your writing!). it is so beautiful and made me cry in the best kind of way. you are blessed and humble and amazing and inspiring. i am so happy for you!!

Yolanda said...


Thank you, thank you! I feel like you opened up my heart and took a peek inside, and now are sharing with me, that I am ok! Oh my stars, huge confidence booster for me, and I so look up to you. Rock on!

Raina said...

What a wonderful reflection on the person yo were, the hopes you have had, and how God has unfolded the path for you to reach them.
Your family is so beautiful!
I love the words you dad has for you. Your dad and my dad sound much alike in their thinking and in their love for little girls.
Glad to see you are back on the horse again too- :)

Mama of 5 said...

You are beautiful! You have such a pretty face and your smile lights it all up. What a great post.

Beth @ Miles and Trials said...

What a great reflection. It made me think back to when I was a little girl and the hopes and dreams I had. And now looking at my 12 year old daugther and her dreams and goals and I try to envision the woman she will become. Who knows what the future will hold, but with God and love and family, all will be good.

The Green Girl said...

I loved this one, girl. Beautiful.

I do try my best to honor my little me but sometimes I do let her down.

Gray Wolf said...

You have always made your Daddy proud!



Kathy said...

Oh, this is wonderful! How could she not be proud??

My older sister had me convinced that there was a giant gorilla in the open space down the road from our house (in Tucson, AZ - makes sense) ... scared me senseless. I still don't like gorillas.

Terzah said...

This is a great post, Erin! Thanks as always for the ongoing motivation not just to run as well as I can but to be grateful for all the good things in my life. :^)

Anonymous said...

I often contemplate if God waited to help you discover his gift/your talent and passion for running until you got all of His children in a home with a family of their own and two loving parents who have been so willing to sacrifice so much to get them here. I just can't help but wonder if all of yours and Josh's heartfelt efforts, which i know consumed your time, energy and thoughts in getting your children might have been different had you discovered all of this earlier. I for one can't help but be amazed at just how God has a plan for everyone... All things must come line upon line. Keep being the amazing mother, wife and runner that you are 'cause you, if anyone, have the ability to do it all!