Olivia (Liv) DOB 4-11-1996 15 1/2 years old

Olivia

“When I run, I always start with my hair up in a ponytail. As I run, the pony starts to feel like a weight in the back of my head and where it rests it starts to pulse. So, I take my hair out and realize how much I love the sound my hair makes when the wind blows through it and how free I feel when I run with my hair billowing out behind me. I shared that with my mom for the first time today (10-28-11). She laughed and said that the hair gets stuck to your neck and gets itchy, but for me, it’s freedom. I love my mom. I honestly do. She might disagree sometimes, or a lot of times, but sometimes a girl just needs her mom. My mom runs a lot and tries to get me to go with her but almost every time I say that I have other stuff to do (homework, cleaning my room…) but after she leaves, I wish I had just for that mom/daughter time that’s oh so rare in our house.

I love having a big family. When I was younger (which was yesterday haha) I wanted to be the only child or born first, because ‘I’m the better boss’. Now I’m the oldest at home and still wish that there wasn’t as many kids. But the funny thing is, I can’t imagine my life without any of the others. All of us run because of mom and almost all of us enjoy it. Mom’s pretty good about pushing us to do our best when we run and do other things. She’s really big about us getting along, eating healthy, pushing ourselves, and doing what we like to do.

Now, to the important stuff. I am going to say that I didn’t have am Oreo cookie until I was like 14. We always eat veggietables (that’s how I say vegetables) and fruits, which can get annoying but has never really bothered me. I just take it all in stride. My mom always bakes and cooks stuff that tastes yummy and is healthy. When I was younger, she would always be in the kitchen it seemed. She would be making homemade cinnamon rolls and bread and wheat bread. Mom’s really big on eating healthy. Really big. Sometimes it is annoying, but it’s always nice. When we lived in Alaska, there was a store that had these tubes that had almonds, cashews, and peanuts in them. When you pressed a button next to a tube the nuts would go through a blender like thing and turn into almond butter, cashew butter, or peanut butter. I don’t know how I remember that, but it’s a nice memory to have because even at 6 years old, I still have memories of eating healthy foods.

My mom being a runner is totally awesome and I love it. It almost makes me want to be like her. But there’s other things that I like to do. Running is fun, don’t get me wrong, it’s breathing that really gets me down. But as always, mom comes through with some killer advice that I can understand because she compares it to something that I would definitely understand. Breathing for instance she compared to the way you breath when you sing. Listening to a song to take your mind off breathing. Playing mind games like I do when I take a test. Pacing myself like with a school assignment that sucks. She’s pretty cool for someone that’s kinda old. But don’t tell her I said that.

Mom asked me to add songs onto her running Ipod shuffle. I added all sorts of songs that are fun, upbeat songs that she would want to run to. Some of the songs that I added are stupid like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and of course, Veggitales. When Veggitales comes on when she’s running she laughs and thinks about me programing her playlist and giggling about what I was doing. When she comes home from a run she tells me that Veggitales came on and that made her run that much better. I thought it would be a funny joke because Veggitales isn’t exactly running material, but it makes a run that much better.

I wrestled in 7th and 8th grade and went to do it when I was a freshman but sprained my MCL and had to stop. This year I want to join the dance team and maybe track in the summer. That’s what I do to stay in shape and keep myself in line. In my free time I love to read. I read, sing, play guitar and piano and write. Reading and singing are parts of me that I don’t think are ever gonna leave. The rest, is just there and man, am I glad it is. In school I made it into Cadenza or Advanced Choir. My mom helps me with my voice, and my fitness. She loves that I love to run and eat healthy but isn’t a big fan of my sweet tooth…
No matter what, my mom is pretty cool and honestly isn’t that bad. But don’t tell her I said that either. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone that understands what I like to do and how I like it done.”

Olivia was such a surprise.  After deciding not to partake in further infertility and having signed up for foster care and adoption, I really didn’t expect any more babies.  But then there I was, propped on the floor beside the toilet puking my guts out, thankful for this “blessing”….  One time in the bath, exhausted with my extremely difficult first 20 weeks of pregnancy, I stood up and nailed my butt on the soap dish.  “My butt is killing me.”  I said.  Her dad looked at me laughing and said, “Your butt’s killing me too!”   At which time I burst into tears….  Olivia was my first home birth with midwives and the only one born on a birthing chair.  Her dad had food poisoning throughout my labor and delivery but did his best to be supportive between falling asleep and throwing up.  The day after Olivia was born the midwives came for a standard check and let us know that she had 2 of 3 signs of Down Syndrome.  Tongue thrust and bilateral simian creases in both hands.  They had scheduled a blood test for her that day and we drove to it solemnly.  I believe God never gives you  more than you can handle and I couldn’t possibly have loved her less no matter what, but when she ended up being in the very low percentage of babies with those benchmarks that are not Down’s I was relieved.

By the time Olivia was 2 years old there was no question that she was a strong, independent personality.  She was tough.  I had just given birth (again) and I went from feeling like the ultimate awesome, together mom to wondering what I was doing.  Olivia once asked why she was hard.  I told her she has one of the best personalities as an adult – she’ll never do anything she doesn’t want to do.  Stubborn.  Independent.  But she’s a hard personality to parent.  As she’s gotten older we’ve both realized that she’s also difficult because she and I are so much alike.  Hmmm….  That’s a love/hate thing!!  As time has gone on I think I’m closer to her than some of my other adult children and I think she’s getting okay with everyone telling her she’s a mini-me.

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