Living at risk – building your wings on the way down after jumping off a cliff (or something like that)

When we were first married I had just graduated from BYU with a degree in English and Shane was still pretty new into the Elementary Education program at BYU. We lived in an old ugly but adequately warm puce stucco house. We both worked. And then it was time to start our family.

I had a decent full time job as an associate editor at the local free newspaper and Shane worked full time as a shipping clerk at Best – a local retailer that has since gone out of business.

My entire life I had looked forward to being a mom. So it was without question that I gave notice just before giving birth to our firstborn, Luke so I could be home with him. Even though rent was cheap back then, things didn’t really look so great on paper. But we weren’t so concerned about the balance sheet on paper.

And so we jumped. At the time, I compared it to jumping off the high dive with a blindfold – not knowing for sure if there was water in the pool. The metaphor of jumping first and building wings as you go is pretty much the same thing, but it sounds a little gentler. Maybe just a little.

Looking back, those were some of the best times. We lived simply, but we did not want. We were even able to buy a home. Which helped us eventually get into this home.

A couple of years later we were expecting our second child as Shane was finishing up school and looking for work. He got a job, but pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition and the delivery wouldn’t be covered until a couple of days past my due date. We worried. But what could we do?

My due date arrived and we waited some more. The day our insurance kicked in arrived. And my water broke at 1am. Zack was 10 lb. 5 oz. and healthy and happy. And our bills were covered.

At the time new school teachers earned a salary below poverty level. We used to joke that we lived on the way to D.I. Because so many people gave us first shot at their unwanted furniture and clothes and literally dropped it off at our house on the way to D.I. But I never felt poor. I read books. I had a pretty good idea of what it meant for people who truly were poor.

And so we flew.

Two more kids in the nest–both in school before I went rejoined the paid work force.

Those were powerful wings. Wings built on faith.

No regrets.

[Day 100 of Ann Dee Ellis’ 8-Minute Memoir.]