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.

5 comments:

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!!

:D
r

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.