I'm sure you're going to find some redundancy in this, so bare with me. The truth of my life, and who has made an impact, good and bad tends to be redundant.
There are many people who have made my life worth living for at different times, but there are 2 people that have been a constant in that, 1 for nearly 9 years now, and 1 for 6.5 (unless you count gestation, and then you can add another 34 weeks and 6 days). You probably guessed I'm talking about Curtis and Gunnar. I cannot pick just one, and I won't. Without Curt I wouldn't have Gunnar and without Gunnar well life wouldn't be the same I can say that!
Let's start with Curt. He and I started dating at a time when I needed someone who was going to really be there for more. Someone who was going to stick around through thick and thin, no matter what craziness I was going through. We had known each other for a while, but it was more of an acquaintance type relationship. We had people in our lives in common who were both important to us, so our paths crossed quite a bit, but we never spent time alone together. That is until the day I invaded his life. If you think I'm joking, I'm not.
For those of you who don't know, I'll give you a brief background. One of my best friends in high school had a family who did foster care. I became very close with his family and all the kids in the home. Some of the kids, like my friend were biological children, some were current foster children and some were prior foster children. The house was always booming with people and food and more people. I loved being there and helping with the kids. In 1998 after Curt graduated he moved from northern California to Arizona, and moved into this home. He was not a foster child. His mother and my friends mother had been best friends growing up and when Curt wanted to leave his home town, his mom made a call, and Curt came to AZ as the newest member of the ever expanding family. No one was ever turned away, and Curt surely wouldn't be the first.
So this is when our paths began to cross. I didn't think much of it at the time. He started dating my best friends little sister, who I was also very close to, so that made him off limits. I didn't give it another thought. I'd smile or wave if I passed him in the house or on the property, but I don't think I uttered more that a "hi" to him. Soon after, that dear friend of mine that Curt was dating passed away in a terrible car wreck. None of us were the same after we lost her. I graduated high school not long after and moved (or ran away as my mom refers to it) to New Jersey. I kept in close contact with the family, specifically one of my friends little sisters. I called her once a week or so to check in.
I came back to AZ after my own car wreck in 2000. I went through a series of bad relationships until I ended up moving in with one of them. In March of 2002 I needed out of the relationship and the place I was living. My parents and I agreed that although they would not turn me away in my time of need, living with them was not the best idea after having been on my own, and with the frame of mind I was in. My friends parents welcomed me with open arms, just like every other child that has passed through and continues to pass through their home.
I pulled up to the house, just like I had done on countless occasions, only this time was different. This time I was there to stay. As I pulled up and parked in my "usual" spot I had to dodge the 2 people playing basketball and I remember thinking how amazingly good looking the older guy was and how sweet it was he was playing with one of the kids. It didn't occur to me to wonder who he was because so many people passed through the house on a daily basis I was lucky to know half of their names, and most were a relation of some sort. I grabbed a few of my things and headed into one of the girl's rooms where I would be sleeping. That's when I asked who was playing outside. I was astonished to learn that the good looking guy I had been ogling was Curtis. It's amazing what a few years and a change in circumstance does to your vision.
After I got a few things situated I went upstairs. I was going out with a friend that night and wanted to say goodbye before I left. Curt was sitting on the couch and I thought, what the hell, I'll see if he wants to go. Turned out the friend I was going with was a friend of his too (it happens a lot in that house) so he said he would go, and the rest is history. That was March 23, 2002. The day after Curt's 22 birthday.
Now that you know a little bit about how we got together, I can explain that Curt has been my rock for nearly 9 years. He has been there for me through little things like good jobs and bad jobs, fights with friends, multiple moves (in 9 years we have lived in 7 different places). He has been there for me through much bigger things, the things that make or break a marriage. My pregnancy with Gunnar. I was sick from day 1. I ended up in the hospital 6 weeks before Gunnar was born and then he was born 5 + week premature. Curt was there the whole time, even if he couldn't physically be there because he was working to support us, he was doing everything he could to be there for me mentally and emotionally.
When I broke both my wrists during the first year of Gunnar's life and was practically useless to both myself and our child, it was Curt who was working full time and taking care of both of us. Including things like washing my hair, buttoning my jeans, opening jars of baby food, making bottles, etc, because I couldn't. It was Curt who held my hand when doctor after doctor told us that we could not have anymore children if I wanted to stay alive to be a wife and mother to Curt and Gunnar. When I got sick a few years later it was Curt who took care of Gunnar and the apartment and everything that I normally did while I was in the hospital. It was Curt that worked ridiculous hours so that we could afford for me to stay home for the next year and a half and focus on getting better. It is Curt that has dried my tears on every occasion I've listed and more. When I thought I couldn't go another day and that I was useless, it was Curt that told me EVERYDAY how wonderful and beautiful and perfect I was, even when I wasn't. It is Curt who continues to do all of these things.
It is Curt who worked the same dead end job for almost 9 years to put food on the table and pay the bills and buy the things we needed, and some we didn't. It was and is Curt who is my strength when I think I can't keep going, but somewhere along the line I forgot that until he was gone and I didn't have him to rely on for everything, and I realize now just how amazing my husband is, and how much he has done for me, and now I have the joy of being able to repay the favor by supporting him in something he wants, something he is excelling at, something that has been a long time coming. I wish I had been strong enough to support him sooner, but hindsight is 20/20 and we can only move forward. Now you have a very small insight into the truly incredible person I am so lucky to call my husband and proud to call my soldier.
On to the other man in my life that keeps me going. If anyone had told me (I'm sure many did but I try not to think of my pregnancy) that the baby causing all the havoc in my belly and body would come out and be the greatest joy of my life from the moment I laid eyes on him, I never would have believed them. I think I was pretty certain at the time that pregnancy was God's idea of a cruel joke on me, but then I met Gunnar, and knew at that moment that I would do it all again for just one moment with him.
Gunnar amazes me everyday of his life, from overcoming the obstacles of being premature, to the first time he smiled, laughed, rolled, crawled, walked, talked, to now, learning to ride a 2 wheeler, 100%'s every week on his spelling, reading everything he can get his hands on and is a computer whiz. He is also the spitting image of his Dad. Not a day goes by that I am not told how beautiful I am or what a great mom I am, or how great a cook I am when I throw something in the microwave. He holds my hand and hugs me, he still kisses me goodbye in the mornings when I drop him off and when I put him to bed.
I live to see what he's going to do next, whether it's tomorrow or next week or next year or ten years from now. I live to see what kind of person he's going to become, to know what kind of mother I am, what kind of mother I was. I live to see my grandchildren, to see if they are as much like my husband and my son. I live and I kept going even when I wanted to quit because I knew that no matter what I could not leave these two guys who are my life.