Monday, August 14, 2006

Looking way back

I had been prepared to blog on another subject entirely, something more in line with the subject of this blog — publishing, illustrating, writing. But when I came home from work, my mom, who is visiting for the next two weeks, gives me a packet with some of my old stuff from back home in Des Moines, which included this photo. I'm so blown away, I haven't seen this photo in ages.

I must have been about 18 years old, maybe 19. My life was so very different back then, it's almost like looking at a ghost. Sorry to walk you down my personal memory lane, but here are some of my thoughts looking at this photo:

-- I was much too young to have a child. Much too young to raise a child. I didn't know that back then.

-- I had just been accepted into a commercial art program at a community college. Those days when my 20-year-old Nova actually started up and ran, I bundled my daughter up in a blanket, laid her on my lap, or on the seat next to me (boy have laws changed), and drove her to day care — which ever one I could afford to pay that month — then drove myself to school in Ankeny, Iowa, about 40 miles north of Des Moines. On days that my car didn't run, a friend's father, a man who liked and believed I had a bright future, drove me to school.

-- Ronald Reagan cut my grant for books and art supplies at the campus book store, when I went onto welfare for the two years I was in college. I remember thinking, "I can't eat books or T-squares."

-- I was in the midst of a custody battle with lawyers and judges and custody investigators. I won. My daughter's mother was still in high school.

-- I was so deeply in love with that baby girl, and the smell of spit up mixed with baby powder, but I absolutely hated walking through the mall pushing a stroller (it messed with my cool).

-- I missed "scooping the loop" on Friday nights with Ronnie, Michael and Kevin. I miss them to this day.

-- So many insecurities, fears, demons. Looking at this picture, I can see them clearly in my eyes. At the same time, I possessed confidence in my abilities, and I was optimistic about my future.

--What happened to my hairline? Sometime over the past 20 years, someone pulled my hairline two inches farther up from my eyebrows and pumped fat into my face.

--I can't believe the little girl in this picture is all grown up now, and will be returning home tomorrow with her own child.

Wow, how time flies.


rindambyers said...

Yay, for you for sticking it out for getting custody! It's not easy for fathers to do that as the courts tend to favor the mothers. Have a joyful and enjoyable visit!

cloudscome said...

I love reading your blog. And I love this post.. What a wonderful picture! You look full of love and determination, and so does your daughter. Enjoy the visit!

Rita said...

Wow, Don, I just wanted to say I love this post.

Love it.

And, wow. Great photo. Thanks for sharing!!


Melinda said...

What a precious girl. But boy, that must have been rough, raising her so young. It was rough enough for me raising a baby at 30! But I'm a wimp.

Great post, totally.

Shawn "the Little girl in that picture" said...

Dad that was sweet, brought tears to my eyes.
Love Ya too.