Home moved again
Wow, Jacksonville came back quick. Just in time really, since it was a long summer and school would be getting started soon. This would be my first semester at UNF (University of North Florida) and I was starting my upper-level classes since I had earned my AA in the spring. Four literature classes sounded like Heaven and being an English major was the coolest idea ever. Sure, I get asked if I’m going to be a teacher every time someone asks my major, and yeah I know that I need to pay the bills. But this was home. My English major and my lack of plan was exactly where I needed to be, and nothing is going to dampen how cool it is that I read novels for homework and write analysis for exams. I think everyone else is really just jealous they can’t be English majors too. I was home, and life was great.
I learned some lessons
I bought a car. “Buying” things implies you have the money to do so. I didn’t. I’m paying tuition out of pocket (literally, no loans yet), but I needed a car if I wanted to get to the classes I was paying a pretty stack of pennies for. But working has always been a necessity in my family, and a sense of independence and responsibility were some of the best things my parents ever gave me. So I just needed more hours at work.
I work at a local state college. Last spring, I started as a note taker for handicap and disabled students, because all I had to do was sit in classes and take notes and hand them off. Half of the time, there weren’t any notes to take, and I got paid to write down a few sentences and then do my homework. But this semester I wasn’t getting enough hours, so I gave in to my boss’s pleas and became a tutor. I was nervous for a few reasons: I couldn’t possibly know enough to do this well, and my students would have problems I was untrained to handle. But I needed the money. So I started.
My students are incredible. They remind me that life is hard. Way harder than I may ever know. And they remind me that dreams and plans and hopes don’t die when life is hard. You just get stronger. Algebra and writing skills might be important for them to get their degrees, but they have already taught themselves more than I ever could. Because again, people are people, and people are survivors and fighters and winners. At least they certainly are.
I have two sisters. Whitney is 22 and Kaci is 17 and I am smack in the middle. In September, Whitney married a goofy looking Publix employee named Scott. The Sunday before the wedding we were in Sunday school when we all laid hands on the two of them and prayed that their marriage honor God and be awesome and all that. Suddenly it dawned on me that Whitney would no longer be defined by her relationship to me. She wouldn’t be Morgan’s sister or even Steve’s daughter. She would be Scott’s wife. DeLisle wouldn’t be her label. She would be a Smith. I started to tear up (I know this article makes it sound like I cry a lot, but it actually isn’t my typical response). Family is family no matter what, but ours was changing. And that was crazy. We had been through hell and back as a tribe, and when no one else was there we always had each other.
It came down to realizing that we were losing Whitney. Just a little. Because it was time she start her own tribe and fight her own battles. And we would still always have each other. Only now the tribe had spread a little bit farther, and there were a few more people to stand by us when the world caved in.
I wrote an article
Sum up the year he said. Give me ten occurrences that mattered to you. I guess I could rewind farther and say he started a blog. My best friend that is. He told me I would get to write fun stuff, which is basically heroine for nerdy book worms like me. Then he told me to research politics, and I did because family is family but I sure hate politics. I don’t really love celebrity news either. So this is my review. What I lived, and what I learned in 2016. And through all of it – the good, the bad, and the lessons I didn’t want – I wouldn’t give up a single second of it. Life is there for the living, so get out there and live it. Who knows, maybe someone will be begging you to sum up your year or your life, and you can tell them you read a blog….