Every seven years, “we become essentially new people, because in that time, every cell in your body has been replaced by a new cell.”
That spacing makes perfect sense to me when I think about my own life; every seven years (almost exactly), I feel like a completely different person. So much so that when I tell a story from a particular time frame…each Emily feels uniquely separate from the other Emilys. And except for the Emily I am today, they all feel like…not really ME. And each story from my past becomes a story about someone who is no longer any part of me.
Does that make any sense to anyone else out there?
0-7 years–I don’t have many memories from this age range. I lived in Wisconsin til I was almost 5, and for some reason, most of my vivid memories from those years are MTV music videos that I watched with my dad’s three youngest siblings. “You Might Think” by The Cars was my favorite song and video. “Jump” by Def Leppard, “How Will I Know?” by Whitney Houston…
7-14 years–Aw, my coming of age tween years. Bad haircuts and being a tomboy. Skipping baths as often as I could get away with it. I had one older brother–Josh, one older sister–Heather, and I was the baby for 9 years and 17 days…until my younger sister–Candace was born. I was an animal on home videos…nothing embarrassed me–not what I wore, how my hair looked, how I behaved…NADA. Then a switch flips at 11.5 years when I started my period, the change in me is almost overnight if you watch the home videos. I am quieter on videos, all showered and brushed, painfully self-conscious of the camera…nowhere nearly as funny or entertaining.
14-21 years–Geez, I don’t even want to say these words; I don’t want them to be true…I lost my virginity on my 14th birthday. Can that be right? The date is correct, but no…it’s not right. Wait, teens. Please wait. That event threw me into my next segment for sure. I was desperately in love (obsessed) with Name from age 12-16 years old…until I met Norman. Norman and I dated 2.5 years, and got married when I was 18 (almost 19). Yes, we were young. I wouldn’t change that if I could. Lots of good years and memories, lots of growing up together and figuring out life…figuring out who we wanted to be, in so many good ways. And years later, figuring out who I never want to be again.
21-28 years–My first round of mothering years…I was pregnant with my first daughter, Margaret, on my 21st birthday. I had Hazel (2nd daughter) when I was 23; Audrey (3rd daughter) when I was 24. I took everything about being a young mother very seriously. That was my identity. I started driving a minivan at age 23 (still drive one). I had the girls’ photos taken and printed regularly. I sent over 100 Christmas cards with family newsletters every year. I wanted to do everything right. I shelved any hopes or dreams I might’ve once held for my own existence. Well…I did get my bachelor’s degree at 22, and between ages 23-26, I did write and produce 3 plays at the little theatre downtown. Those were a few satisfying self-goals, but they were definitely in the background to dance recitals and diapering days.
28-35 years–The years of my hardest life lessons…Norman and I were actually separated for 7 months when I was 27 (so I guess this life segment wasn’t EXACTLY at the seven year mark like some of the other segments). After the 7-month separation, Norman and I reconciled for 4 more years…then I cheated with Demetrius and left when I was 31…after 15 years together. I married Demetrius, had Clara (my 4th daughter) with him when I was 33, and tried to force us both onto a path of righteousness again. I was the fool; I thought things were good…thought we were mostly happy. Guess it was just me. We were together only 2.5 years. When I was 34, Demetrius cheated on me with Kareequa (someone I would have said was a pretty good friend) and left us.
35-42 years–I was single for 5 months after Demetrius left, for the first time in my life really. I met (well…started texting with) Keith on February 16, 2015. Things between us progressed beautifully and quickly. We were married on my 35th birthday last year, July 27, 2015. And we had Rebekah (my 5th daughter) on February 15, 2016 (one day shy of a year since our first conversation). Not everyone’s fairy tale goes like this…but ours does.
God, help me stay humble. Help me keep getting it right. Who will I be next? Who knows…