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My daughter S has had an amazing life. She entered life in August 1975 as a full term baby but at a low birth weight. She had lost weight in the womb because she stayed too long. She weighed only 5 lbs. 6 oz. but was 21 ins. long. I thought she looked like a spider, with a big head and long arms and legs. Her father called her “Beach Ball Head” for her bald head. In fact he called her “Beach” for much of her young life.
S was a much loved and much wanted baby. The relatives on both sides of the family fussed over her and friends gave her beautiful gifts. But her parents split up when she was but two years old. She began her series of weekly visits to her father’s home when she was two. Every Wednesday night she would go to her father’s house for the evening and spend the night. She would also spend some weekends and a week or so in the summer at her grandparent’s camp at Saratoga Lake. When she was young, she spent her days at the Pine View PreSchool. We lived in a small house on Rooney Avenue in Colonie, NY. She had playmates there.
When it came time for her to go to school, I enrolled S at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Day School, a school nearby. She had a happy time there until her fifth grade year. That year was terrible. She had an awful teacher who didn’t like her. A boy broke her finger that year. The next year I moved her to the Loudonville Christian School. She was in that school for three years. While she was there, she acted in the New York State Children’s Theater. She was in the play The Christmas Carol. She played one of Bob Cratchitt’s children for two years. Then she decided to go back to ballet. She had been dancing but put it on hold while she was acting. But when she was finished with acting, she started dancing again in earnest.
For high school, S went to Albany High School, the school where her father taught. We thought that was good so that her father could keep an eye on her. I often took her to school and also picked up two of her friends on the way to school. Then she would come to my office after school and I would drive her to ballet school in Saratoga Springs. She would do her homework in the car. The next year, she went to ballet school in Albany. It was downtown near my office. The next year, she went to ballet school in Schenectady. She was always looking for the best teacher. In the spring, we would go to auditions for summer programs. One year she went to the Pennsylvania Ballet’s summer program in Philadelphia. One year she went to the New York State Summer School for the Arts summer school in Saratoga Springs. One summer she went to the Cleveland Ballet’s summer school in Cleveland. She was a serious ballet dancer.
Then I remarried and moved to Texas. S moved in with her father and things began to fall apart. Her father began an affair and her stepmother kicked him out. S moved out of the house and moved back into our little house and stopped going to school. She failed to graduate from high school. She had to go to summer school in order to graduate from high school. She started dating a boy from high school and only wanted to get married. She enrolled in community college but didn’t really want to be there. She got a job as a waitress. Her boyfriend went into the Marines. She dropped out of community college and continued working as a waitress. Then she and her boyfriend decided to get married. They got married in July of 1994. In January of 1994 she flew to Okinawa Japan to live with him when he was stationed there.
In July 1994, S called to tell me that she was pregnant with twins. She came home soon after that. There was a baby shower in Albany and then she came to Texas and I drove her to California where they would live in my car, which I was giving them (well, I THOUGHT I was selling to them). They settled into an apartment. I went back out when the twins were born for three weeks. Things were not going well between S and her husband. He was drinking heavily and S discovered that he had not applied for base housing. He eventually got base housing and I visited again.
Then the family moved to Hawaii. Things were even worse between S and her husband. He was drinking very heavily. Then the end came. S went to her college class and told her husband to watch the twins. He fell asleep and the twins wandered away from the house. The MPs found them wandering on base. S decided to leave her husband. She came to San Antonio with the twins.
When S came to San Antonio, I helped her get an apartment. Then she got herself enrolled in community college and got her associate’s degree. The twins were in pre-school. Then when they were in kindergarten, she found a job as a receptionist. She supported herself and the girls. She moved to a bigger apartment and met a nice man and got engaged. She eventually got a better job with a cancer research firm and managed to buy a lovely house in a nice neighborhood with a good school. She broke her engagement to her fiancé. But she was an independent woman.
S and her girls have lived in her house for about ten years. In that time, she has met another man and gotten married. She is very happy with him. She is now an administrative assistant in another firm and is very happy there. It is a fast-growing firm and fast-paced and suits her well. Her twin daughters are entering their senior year of high school and planning to go to college next year.
S has become a lovely independent woman. I am so proud of her and all she has accomplished in her life. She has overcome tremendous adversity and obstacles to achieve amazing things. She has two beautiful and talented daughters whom she has raised by herself with no help from anyone. Her life is so much more than I could have ever hoped for from my little “spider baby” all those years ago. I could not love a person more than I love this remarkable woman. Her life deserves Four Stars. ****