[ASL version coming soon!]
One of the most common questions I am cautiously asked is "um... how old are you?"
Several months ago, one pastor announced, "I've done the math [referring to the years I've spent in college, studying Spanish, a clown, a nurse, etc] and I know her age: Marie is 45!" Of course he was joking, but another man was not joking 2 weeks ago, when he seriously guessed my age as, "oh... around 13 or 14?" He's not the first, either.
Truth is, I'm twenty six, but the fact that I am blessed with the skills and degrees I have is largely due to my hard-working parents.
I was homeschooled all 12 years, and my parents always encouraged us ["required us" would be more accurate...] to be busy with activities that would either prepare us for a vocation as an adult, enable us to serve better at church, or improve our relationships with one another. If something didn't fit into one of those categories, it was usually out. They made sure that skills such as playing an instrument, learning to work with paper, juggling, baking, orienteering, or otherwise, took up the vast majority of our time. One of my mom's favorite quotes was, "a busy teen is a happy teen," and we were very happy. We also learned to be social with people of any age - whether 8 or 88 - and that is something I definitely owe to my up-bringing.
I understand homeschooling isn't for everyone, but I am eternally grateful my parents chose that option. Both my parents worked hard, and were actively involved in our education: secular, physical, social, and spiritual, which was key. They prayed through our growing up years, and God blessed.
Many people also are surprised I have five brothers. "You poor thing!" is the typical response. Though I certainly prayed for a sister (and my parents tried their best...) God's best was to give me 5 younger brothers to challenge me, mold me, and make me the woman I am today; and I am grateful. When I was 13 I got angry at God for daring to give me this lot in life, but
through the Bible He gently gave me the truth: I could resent it, and make them, in turn, resent me; or I could embrace it, and be the example I wanted to see them follow. I am so grateful that I embraced it, and as a result, we grew up very close. My cup overflows when I think that all 5 of them are actively involved in church, and pursuing careers through which they can be a blessing to others and their future families.
I am slightly resentful, however, that they didn't inherit the "young gene"... or whatever it is that makes me look 13. Most people assume that at least 3 or 4 of my brothers are older than I am. Oh well... I guess you can't have it all!