I regularly step back and take a look at my life and think how fortunate I am. I've got my sweet, successful husband and smart, handsome son, the house of my dreams, a fulfilling job, a handful of dear, dear friends, and an extended family who has always made me feel sheltered and nurtured and special. If only I were as skinny as I was when I was a teenager, I'd think life just couldn't get any better...
3 has always been my favorite number, and it continually shows up in my life. I am the oldest of 3 daughters, born on 30 August 1976, and I can see how that role as the eldest sibling has shaped my personality, molded me into being the responsible one, the first to branch out, the caretaker. I always knew my younger sisters were looking at me to see just how they might go about their own lives, and while I haven't always deserved being looked up to, I've tried not to disappoint them. They remain my closest friends. My parents never made me feel like I had to earn their praise, but I have always hoped for their approval and wanted to make them proud. My father is a long-time teacher and coach. He's coached most any sport out there, and I ran track and played volleyball and basketball for him when I was in high school in Cassville, Missouri. He is currently teaching sixth grade and coaching girls' tennis and softball in Rogers, Arkansas, a two hour drive from Springfield. My mother worked for years as a school secretary before they moved to Arkansas and now she stays at home. They also run a summer camp and live on the premises year-round. My father does all the upkeep and management of the facilities and my mother does the cooking--three meals a day for upwards of 150 people a week. The camp really is a charming retreat and is probably my little boy's favorite place on Earth. We visit them often, and although their home is not the one I grew up in, it's such a sanctuary for me.
Ryan and I were raised in very small towns, where we both played sports, did well in school and worked a variety of jobs. We met at Drury University here in Springfield, and we were friends for a quite a while before we decided to spend the rest of our lives together. My undergraduate degree is in English, but I also studied journalism and did some of the required education classes. Ryan's degree is in Sociology and Criminal Justice. He always wanted to be a police officer, but I'm relieved those plans took a turn. I much prefer him to be safe and sound at home with me every night. We got engaged in our last year of college, just before graduation, and we were married in the historic chapel at Drury on 1 May 1999. In all, we've known one another over 16 years, been together for 14 and married for 11. Marriage is certainly not always easy, but I've never doubted my choice in Ryan. He is a good man, a kind and doting partner, and one of the smartest people I've met. And he always makes me laugh, even when I don't want to. His parents still live in the house where Ryan grew up in Bolivar, Missouri, which is just 30 minutes from our house. They are retired and spend a lot time traveling and camping with their large group of friends. Ryan's older brother and his wife live part of the year in Bolivar and the other half in Alaska. Ryan's mother makes the most delicious food, and we are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with the entire Fraser clan.
Our lives changed immensely on 3 December 2002 when our only child was born. We named him Macauley, using the Scottish prefix Mac in a nod to Ryan's heritage, and the middle name Lane, after my youngest sister. He started talking quite early and hasn't stopped. He is inquisitive and witty, argumentative and sociable. He is in second grade at a wonderful elementary just a short walk from our house. He is an excellent reader and has quite the vocabulary, but lately we've been working on getting him to listen and follow his teacher's directions at school. He's so used to being around adults as an only child (and only grandchild on both sides of the family) that he has trouble remembering he can't engage his teacher in a one-on-one conversation just any time. He is just so social and outgoing and rarely shy. He loves to play with the kids in our neighborhood, watch SpongeBob and go camping with both my parents and Ryan's. I often wonder if we're doing him an injustice by not giving him a sibling--I am, after all, so very close to my sisters--but life is easier now that he's almost eight, and I can't imagine starting all over again.
I'm in my seventh year of teaching high school English at Kickapoo, and while I'm not sure I want to be a teacher forever, I always knew I'd work in education even when I was young. My middle sister is also a high school English teacher here in town. I have a Masters degree in English Literature, and I love to read and write. I am also very interested in interior design and I love puttering around my house. My favorite thing to do is shop at flea markets and antique stores and then use the vintage treasures I find in interesting ways in my decor. I find flea markets so inspiring, and I read lots of magazines and online decorating blogs. We live in a great house that is new and green and energy-efficient but was built with the features of a 1920s-1930s house--lots of architectural detail, glass doorknobs and antique fixtures. We've been here for two years this month, and there are still lots of projects I'd like to try. That's good, because I get restless when a house is "finished." I pretty much enjoy any kind of shopping, as well as going out to eat (I'm a lackluster cook myself), watching Jeopardy! and Oprah, and just lounging...reading, napping, hanging out with my boys.
Ryan has worked for a small computer company here in town for 10 years, and we bought the company almost 3 years ago. He does networking for other small businesses here in town among other things. He works really hard and the business has thrived despite the rough economy. We are very lucky. He's always been a hands-on dad and husband, and we share the housework and childcare the best we can. He loves to watch football and tinker on his computer and just relax on the weekends after such a busy week at work.
We are a laid-back family. We do have our routines, necessary to make it through our school and work schedules, but we aren't all that rigid. We know we are fortunate and we are grateful for what we have. We mostly just take life day by day, doing the best we can to be good to our son and good to each other.