I have felt this way the whole time I've known Shannon.... How grateful I am to get to be his wife. Being with him has honestly been the BEST time in my life.
I feel like I don't talk about my life growing up often because I don't want people to think I'm constantly like "wo is me, I've been through so much, blah blah blah" and I'm going off on a huge tangent... But anyway, I feel like my mom made my life growing up the absolute best she could, but looking back, my childhood was far from easy and smooth riding. My whole childhood was my dad in and out of my brother's and my life, doing drugs. He was there when he was clean and sober and we would go stay with him every other weekend when he was clean. But to be honest, those times of clean and sober lasted short times... It sucked, to be quite honest. I was jealous seeing my friends have what seemed to be the "picture perfect" family. Mom and dad in the home, sealed together as a family in the temple, dad being able to give you priesthood blessings, etc. I craved that and prayed for that all the time. My dad kind of just got into drugs and stopped coming around completely I think when I was in 6th grade-ishhh until about my junior year. Having soccer games or choir concerts, asking him to come and him telling you he will be there, and it was that sad thing you see in the movies every time, where the kid looks over into the crowd looking for their dad, and him never showing up. But you know what... My mom was ALWAYS there and always did everything she could to be there. Her energy and excitement for everything I did in my life seriously made up for the lack of a father figure in my life. Also, I'm not saying my dad was this horrible father, he was a great dad when he was in our life... My mom was just my constant and best friend. But of course, life throws you more curve balls and Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer right around when I turned 15. She struggled through chemo and radiation. After those treatments, they did some tests and I remember her saying she was cancer free! I think that lasted only like 6 months at the most?? I don't remember the timeline exactly because I was young and didn't understand a lot of it. But I remember when the cancer came back, I think it was like September-ish time of my junior year.. I remember being super sad and upset by it, but I was a teenager in denial that I would ever lose her. Looking back, I just thought "She got through this one time, she will get through it again." I didn't put all of my energy and time into spending every moment with her, I was young, wanted to hang out with my friends, I was just the typical, bratty teenager that wanted to just live life and maybe even subconsciously wanting to put the fact that my mom was dying of cancer out of my mind because I didn't want to believe it. I remember hearing about people, I'm guessing adults who knew my mom, judging me or getting frustrated with me that I wasn't being there 100% to take care of my mom and being this selfish teenager who wasn't responsible. It was only Parker and I living with her at the time, we were both teenagers still dependent on needing taken care of, but being expected to grow the hell up and be there for mom. Trust me.... Looking back, I would spend every waking moment with her... Rubbing her feet with lotion like she loved us doing, turning my radio down in my room so it wasn't blasting while she had a headache from the chemo, and just spending more time with her. I do remember going into her often and just talking about life in general and boy troubles or friend drama. She knew a lot about my struggles as a teenager, more than I feel most parents know about their kid's life as a teenager. She was so understanding and loving, I just wish I could've understood and known the short time I was going to have with her. It frustrates me to no end the way I felt judged and alone during that time, hearing people say I'm not responsible and I'm just a bratty teenager. To those people who felt that way towards me, you didn't understand what it felt like going through all of that as a child still and being expected to grow up so quickly. It was hell, I felt like I was being torn in so many directions, wanting to be a kid and have a carefree, fun high school life, but then having that kind of responsibility hanging over you to grow up and take care of your dying mom.... It was hard. After she died in April of my junior year, my brother in law and sister, Josh and Dyan, moved in to take care of Parker and I. I have so much love and gratitude for their sacrifice to step in and do that looking back at it now... I am their age now when they had to step in and parent two teenagers, and they had only been married 9 months.
I was in a dark place.... To be honest, I wasn't close with my two oldest siblings growing up, like ever. Parker is only 2 years older than me and he's always been one of the closest people to me because we went through so many things together at such a similar age... But I had so much resentment for Josh and Dyan coming in after mom died and trying to parent me. I was a difficult person that last year of school. We didn't get along.. I wanted to move out so bad. Parker went on his mission only about 6 months after mom died so imagine the two people you are closest to in life both leaving you within a year.. It sucked so bad. I don't think I've ever felt more alone in my life. I'm in tears as I write this because I feel so bad that I lived with a lot of anger and hate towards people around me because I always just felt judged and not loved by my actions and behavior as a teenager, and I think that's why I've pushed so hard after graduating high school to accomplish so much and be the best person I can be to prove all those people wrong who judged me, but also to prove to myself that I can come out of that kind of childhood with accomplishments and a life to be proud of and a person my mom would be proud of.
Back to Shan though.... I feel like he was honestly my saving grace. When I met him, it was only 2 years after mom passed. I barely ever talked to Josh and Dyan or my oldest brother, Justin. I still had a lot of growing up to do, I was 19 at the time. I remember telling Shannon when we first met that I wasn't close with them, I rarely talked to my dad, I just was still bitter inside. But Shannon has helped me grow up so much and I feel like when I started dating him, my relationships with people changed. My relationship with Josh, Dyan, and Justin changed...with my whole family changed. I feel bad how difficult I was to Josh and Dyan because they were in a tough situation and they helped me so much, and I will forever be grateful to them and I'm so sorry I was the way I was when you guys moved in to take care of me. I am so close with them now though, and I honestly feel he has so much to do with that. He encouraged me to call my dad often (and still does), to see how he's doing and make sure he's okay. He honors his priesthood and has always respected me. My mom had a hand in helping me meet him, there is no doubt in my mind she helped. I need him and I will always need him. He really is my better half. He is the best communicator, he is outgoing, he makes me laugh so hard, he is so attractive (which doesn't matter a whole lot, but it's extra brownie points 😁), and he continues to help me grow as a person. He is so supportive in everything I choose to do. He loves his mom and dad and siblings so so much and makes an effort to be so close to them, which I love. I looooove that I'm a part of his family because I have the best in laws. I love that he gets along with my family so well. So many of my family members and extended family have told me how much they love him and how perfect he is for me. He has helped me grow up and teach me what's important in life. He is such a good dad to Kinzie, the best in fact.
I truly feel so happy when I think about him and the amount of love I feel for him is indescribable and it just grows everyday. It's brought me to tears often recently, and maybe because I'm pregnant, just because I didn't know life could be this good. Life right now is hard and overwhelming, don't get me wrong, I have so much on my plate I don't know how to keep up, but he keeps me calm and helps me get through life and I'm just a super grateful wife needing to share my love and gratitude for this guy who I'm so happy to know I am married to for eternity.
I know this was a long post and I hope no one in this post felt like I was talking poorly of them, I just wanted to express how I had felt in the past. I rambled, but I had to express this overwhelming feeling to get it off my chest. I love you Shannon, and I'm so grateful to have you in my life.