My life is defined by music. There is a soundtrack to my life and it is eclectic. The overriding theme is punk rock, but there is an abundance of pop and hip-hop and a prideful undertone of symphonic classics and opera and jazz classics. I spent a good part of my twenties and thirties in mosh pits and dark dive bars, listening to live bands –not all of them good, and not all of them bad. My earliest memory is a portable record player and a record collection that traveled with my mother and my brother and me after The Divorce from Missouri to Colorado. On Saturday mornings, my mother would bring out her guitar and a Pete Seeger songbook and teach us folk songs. There was always music playing in our house.
I did not know we were poor growing up. I knew hungry. I knew one outfit from Sears per school year. I knew handmade. I did not know that summer vacations meant anything other than going to the local swimming pool. I knew the public library. I did not know that anyone besides my mother could cut my hair. I knew that my rented cello was part of my ticket to a scholarship to college because no one was going to pay for me to go. And that was okay because I loved to play music.
In college, in the 80’s, I found my lifelong best friend R and a lifelong love for punk rock and any music that hit me somewhere between my heart and my sacrum. I also swore in the 80’s, after watching my mother go through two divorces, that I would never get married and that I would never have children. I worked since I was 12 years old, so I kept working, I found my way into law firms. I found I liked it there, so I went to law school. Along the way, something changed. I don’t know what it was. But I turned 35 and I got married. And I had my first baby, Shane, when I was 36 years old and my second, Max, when I was 39 years old. And my life has never been the same. Those boys have turned my life upside down in the most beautiful, crazy, unbelievable, amazing way. It is the best job in the entire world, being Shane and Max’s mom. I got divorced from their dad after we’d been together for 20 years. It was one of the hardest things I ever went through and it was one of the most important changes I underwent. Sometimes the best gifts we are handed come wrapped in the ugliest wrapping paper. I am grateful for all the gifts.