Hey there! Rae Dawn here.
You read that right – two words for one name. I am fairly sure my parents just could not decide. I answer to several other words as well. Most commonly used is Dawnie, then Dawn, Donna, and, most importantly, Mom.
I guess that I could technically fall under the military brat category. My parents were stationed in Hawaii when I was born. Fast forward a few years and I went from a small tyke walking barefoot anywhere I went to a shoe-wearing kiddo living on a picturesque street in Idaho Falls called Bremer Drive with my grandparents. (Side note – I still hate shoes!) I lived with my grandparents for most of my childhood. I have such fond memories of being with those amazing people. Sitting at my grandpa’s feet while he polished his shoes for Sunday. Listening with my head on his chest while he read Rumpelstiltskin for the 100th time. Standing on a chair next to the counter watching my grandma whip up something from memory in her sunny yellow KitchenAid. Decorating mud pies with dandelions underneath their giant willow tree. It is not lost on me how lucky I was to have had them.
Jump ahead about 10 years from the time spent under the willow tree and that is when I met the man who is now the Mister. We were just kids. Thirteen and fourteen years old. By that time, I had traded in my mud pie tins for cassette tapes and Aqua Net. The Mister and I are pretty close to the textbook definition of opposites but it works. Together we have built a military reserve life full of kids and adventures.
I have always been entertained by kids so it is fitting that I would end up with a whole crew of my own. It is not always easy. Let’s face it, the mom gig is a hard one! But it is never dull! I cannot imagine a life where I did not have nerf darts and barbie dolls scattered around the house. My crew consists of 7 fantastically different little souls! And for each one of my own kiddos, our family always seems to collect one or two extras. But I am 100% ok with all the extra kids around. I am always the person that ends up where the kids are whether that is sitting at the kids’ table at Thanksgiving, starting a water fight at a BBQ while the adults sit around visiting, or, most recently, sitting on the “kids row” at a graduation. Anytime we are at a big event, the Mister says that if he ever needs to find me, he just looks for where all the kids are!
As much as I would like it to always be fun and games, that is not realistic. Just like anyone else, the challenges find us. Flooded houses. Health scares. Deployments. And one of the most difficult challenges for me was when my grandma passed away in 2015. I feel like I have been wandering ever since. She must have been my true north.
Shortly after her passing, our family packed up and moved to a suburb of Pittsburgh. We quickly learned that the ‘burgh was way too much city for us. We moved the crew to a smaller city about 40 minutes from Pittsburgh near the West Virginia border. That was a little more like it. Everything we needed was a short 20-minute drive from the house yet we could drive a little further to find a plethora of things to do. It is next to impossible to be bored in the Pittsburgh area!
Just as we were starting to settle in, another one of those life curveballs came for us and we learned that we would be relocating back to Idaho. More specifically, Soda Springs. It is a small town nestled in the mountains sitting at almost 6,000 feet elevation. We went from Pittsburgh Steeler stadiums, Chuck E Cheese, and backyard swimming pools to huckleberry picking, shed hunting, and swimming pools more than just a few steps away! There was definitely a learning curve going from city to small town; one that we are still learning. But it truly is beautiful country here. We have found playful people and we are closer to family. What more is there? We are at peace, for now! I am sure the urge to relocate and find our way through another new place will come soon enough! Until then we are determined to enjoy where we are!