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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Four Legs Are More Sturdy Than Three.

Back in 1987, after being fired from a bookkeeping position that I really wasn't qualified for and wasn't good at, I decided that I needed to get an education. I enrolled at South Dakota State University; my youngest daughter was born during finals my first semester. I started out with the intention of becoming a teacher because they have the best work schedules for mothers, and I love kids. A year or so later I decided that I really should do what I want to do for me, and switched to pre-law. Time passed, I had my son, separated from and divorced my husband. Along the way I decided that I should do what I love, and changed my major to theater. One semester of that was more than enough of the politics involved in the theater department and I was back to being lost.

One evening I heard the campus radio station call for DJs. I couldn't make the meeting, so called the number given. I was given three CDs to proof for profanity. I trained one night on a Blues show and the next week was given the show permanently. I was really good at being a DJ and felt that I'd found my calling. I changed my major to Mass Communications. I held that show for five-and-a-half years and developed a devout following, but never marketed myself and eventually just fell away from the position. I still believe that I will 'make my fortune' doing what I've been told all my life I do too much of: talking.

Some semesters I attended full-time, some I worked part-time and went to school part-time, some I just worked. My study habits never really improved over high school and I was a poor student, never finishing my degree. One of my biggest issues was that I was always torn between being a mother or having a career. I always wanted deeply to focus exclusively on both. Yes, I realize the contradiction of that statement, but it's totally accurate...and that's my problem.

In the end of 1995, my ex-husband sued me for custody of our four children (I had no legal rights to the oldest, who lived mostly with him). I retained custody, but as a result of the battle I realized that I would be in Brookings until my children were grown. I wasn't about to have latch-key kids for barely over minimum wage, which is what I'd have made in commercial radio in Brookings. I had a good friend who was a daycare provider, I'd babysat in my home before, and it was at that point that I decided to start a daycare in my home.

In 2003 I returned to the work-world in preparation for my eventual 'emancipation' once my youngest graduated. Actually, though, I was tired of being a three-year-old all day and needed more intellectual stimulation. Being a single parent, I had kids who needed me at home in the evenings and daycare was pretty isolating for me. OK, in all honesty I had every Wednesday night and every-other weekend to myself while the kids were with their dad. But I spent that time in the bar shooting pool ("She was pretty good, too" - to quote Morphine, my favorite band.

To be completely honest, I could have become involved civicaly while the kids were at home. I just had no interest in Brookings civicaly. Plus, I was one hot chic, even though I was thirty-something. Despite having had four kids, I had a knock-out figure and I enjoyed the reaction that I got from the young men at the bar. I also liked kicking ass at the pool tables.

So, I worked a few different jobs and finally transitioned to Sioux Falls just after my baby boy finished school. After two years, I started a daycare in my home again, which I'm very happy with. I've learned to treat my daycare as a business, which I was not doing before (when I pretty much shot myself in the foot, as I've done many times, in many respects). Although I don't plan to do daycare forever (and have many dreams, as you'll see) it works well for now and the next several years. And I still love kids.

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