Today the book F#ck I’m in My Twenties told me to write down my earliest memory from each year of my life. It also notes that (“It’s okay if you don’t really remember the first few years. You were a baby! Give yourself a break!”)
Ages 0-3: I have no idea what age I was when this actually happened but I distinctly remember being in a stroller that my mom was pushing at Southglenn Mall (before it become the outdoor mall). There was a large ramp built in with wooden tile-like flooring and she would push me back and forth and every time she pushed me forward she would let go a little as if she was going to let me go rolling down this ramp totally free with the wind in my hair. And then I was relieved and overjoyed when she grabbed the stroller and continued pushing on level ground.
Age 4: I remember waiting outside the classroom for half-day ECE. I was always the first one and probably super early. One day my teacher came out and commented on how quiet and well-behaved I was and said she thought that deserved a treat. So she brought me out some M&Ms that were clearly from Easter or some other Spring celebration because of the pretty pastel shades.
Age 5(ish): My grandfather had swords hanging above his bar in the basement forever. I always looked at them and decided that he was obviously in the Civil War, why else would anyone have swords hanging up above a bar? So one day I asked him what it was like to fight in the Civil War. Mind you, he was a History teacher… and this was sometime in the 1990s. He started laughing and then said, “When was the Civil War?” Considering I was around 5 years old I shrugged and said “I dunno!” He of course, informed me that the Civil War was in the 1860s and said, “That would mean that I’m over 100 years old!” To which I kindly asked, “Well how old are you?” I have since learned that the swords that I believed were valuable Civil War relics were in fact, sabers from my aunt’s Scottish dancing.
Age 6 or 7: I was sitting on a large rug with colored squares that are often in 1st grade classrooms such as mine. I remember a girl named Ashley asking if she could sit with me and if I wanted to be her friend. I of course, being the incredibly shy girl that I once was, silently nodded and we continued playing. She then declared that she would be right back and to not “let anyone take her spot!” Again, I silently nodded and continued playing. Well then, another girl came over and asked to sit with me. What was I supposed to say? I was shy and short on friends! I silently nodded. And then Ashley came back. She said “Hey, I was sitting there!” And the other girl whose name I can’t remember simply replied, “No you weren’t.” So Ashley looks at me and says, “Yes huh! Just ask her!” Naturally, I silently shrugged as Ashley went to tell the teacher and the other girl got up and left.
Age 8: I remember performing in The Shakespeare Festival in Downtown Denver (Rosalind from As You Like It) and my second grade teacher dressing up as Barney for Halloween. Very eventful year for me.
Age 9: I remember the morning of September 11, 2001. I got up just like any other day and went into the kitchen and saw my mom, who is a native New Yorker and has close family members living ther, staring at the TV and crying. At one point, I walked over to her and gave her a little hug from behind and she said “This is a day you’ll never forget.” We went to dinner at my grandparents’ house that night and I remember sitting on my dad’s lap and asking him why this happened. He said, “Well it was a terrorist attack. A terrorist is someone who does something that is meant to scare us. We don’t always know why they do it but we’re going to find out.
Age 10: I remember getting a “Super Citizen” award from school. And I believe that was the same year that my grandfather died. He lived in the house next to ours and I remember waking up one morning to my older sister screaming and sobbing. I noticed red and blue lights coming in through my window and I looked outside and saw an ambulance at my grandparents’ house. I went into the living room and asked my mom why Heather was crying and she told me the news. Another day that I will never forget.
Age 11: I was accused of being a bully when I absolutely was not. The girl that accused me of this told her mother that I was bullying her in some way and the mother told the teacher and the teacher called me a terrorist. For real. She said that I had an evil soul and that I was just like the people responsible for 9/11. The girl in question had just hung out with me a few days earlier and everything was fine. And then BOOM! I’m an evil, terrorist bully. Thanks.
Age 12-14: I have tried very hard to forget these years. Middle school was absolute hell. I lost all my friends because I wasn’t cool enough for them. (Was it the glasses? Was it because I didn’t go through puberty early?) I had rumors spread about me left and right, got called a slut almost daily for wearing high heels to school and was told I was disgusting and needed to be on a ProActive commercial. I was cyber bullied and depressed. Sounds like a typical middle school experience to me though.
Age 15: Going into high school seemed like such a big deal. I have a lot of memories of one class in particular, Geography. One day I asked a girl who pretended to be my friend if I should ask the boy I liked out to the turn-around dance and she assured me that it would be such a good plan. I walk into the classroom after preparing myself for this and she asked him out right there in front of everyone. Bitch. And I had my first kiss. Which was awful and slobbery. And then he told me that he couldn’t date me because he was worried of what other people would think. High school boys are delightful.
Age 16: My birthday party for this year was pretty awesome. My family and two best friends got all dressed up and had high tea at The Brown Palace and were able to spend the night there. It was very special and I am lucky to have a dad willing to miss an Air Force Football game to be there!
Age 17: I don’t remember much about being seventeen except one thing. One boy. That I’ve written many a word about. That I thought I would be done with, but I wasn’t quite yet. Live and learn.
Age 18: The first thing I did on my 18th birthday was go with my oldest sister, Theresa, to get my first tattoo. The weather was fine all day until we got to the first stop light on our route. And then, out of nowhere it was blizzard conditions. We just kept saying “The universe knows I’m an adult and is bracing itself.” I went into the tattoo shop with a tutu skirt on which I nicely called my Tatt-tu-tu for that day. I said “It’s my 18th birthday” and without even checking my ID the tattoo artist took me back and said “What are we doing today?”
Age 19: This was the first birthday in college. I was able to go home the weekend before and then my parents came up to Fort Collins to take me out to dinner. After that, my new college friends took me out to the local coffee shops and into Old Town and we had a night on the town.
Age 20: My first birthday with my current boyfriend! He got me beautiful flowers and a balloon and I went home for the weekend.
Age 21: The infamous 21st birthday! I had planned a trip to Vegas with my parents, my good friend, and my sister. My Dad announced the day before that he was going to retire that week. The trip turned into a dual celebration for his retirement and my birthday. I came in fifth place and made it to the final table in a poker tournament before going home to see the wonderful Michael Buble in concert.
Age 22: My first memory of this year was waking up next to my amazing boyfriend. Later my parents came to Fort Collins and took us to a nice steakhouse. This turned into a dual celebration as well since my parents decided to buy their new house that day!
And here I am. Feeling 22. Which is not the best age to be, but I can’t complain so far. I’m 5 months away from being 23 and not loving that idea! But I am loving the idea of making many more memories to come.