My favorite part of reading blogs is finding out about the author. It seems people of all cultures appreciate stories of all kinds. After all, story telling has been around since before the era of ink and parchment. Prior to ink’s development there was oral story telling, some developed into chants. Stories were etched onto cavern walls or were passed down from generation to generation orally. Then ink and parchment came along, pen and paper, the typewriter and printing press, and now we have the computer (thank the Lord for this invention!)
This post is mainly a tidbit of my story. I won’t bore you with the nitty gritty, but I want to give you enough of my story so you know where I come from, what might influence my decision making, and the lens by which I view the world.
“Your name is what?!?”
My name is Haley Crenwelge. (Pronunciation guide for my last name: Krin-well-gee, like “geese” without the “se”.) I grew up in the age when helmets weren’t needed for riding a bike, dial up was the thing, and there were two spaces after a period. Breaking that habit is difficult.
I am the second oldest of ten kids. No, we weren’t Mormon, Presbyterian, Catholic, or Pentecostal. Technically we were Southern Baptists. Now we’re pretty non-denominational with a conservative bent. We have no qualms against mocking ourselves with our old classic Southern Baptist ways. (Is it kosher to use smileys on blog posts?!?)
My parents chose to homeschool all ten of us, and no, socialization wasn’t an issue. It just depends on the natural bent of each kid – introverted, extroverted, ambivert, etc. I have believed for so long that I am an introvert, but more and more I am beginning to feel like I’m more of an ambivert. I strive for fellowship with like-minded or opposing-view balancing friends but only a handful. I can do parties with a lot of people from time to time, but I definitely need some time to myself. However, long periods of time with no communion with friends has seen some really dark days of depression during the two years I lived in Huntsville, Texas, alone while going to college. (Eat ‘em up, Kats!)
Best coffee out there (sworn by my whole family!)
Today, I long for an outlet in which to help others and this is where this blog comes from. I want to speak to you like we’re one on one on a couch somewhere with your favorite cup of coffee (or tea) like we’ve been old friends. I do not want to judge you for the choices you have made or will make. I have made some errors in judgment myself, but we grow from these experiences. If we can learn to move past the initial crisis and take the next step, we become stronger and better people for it.
My moment of crisis happened my last semester in college. The result of that crisis is a beautiful baby girl who came into this world looking just like her daddy. I have been touched by suicide and this is the reason I am walking this parenting journey alone. But please understand, “alone” simply means without the biological partner of this child. I have been incredibly blessed with an amazing family who held a tightly knit bond from past trials and tribulations that held regardless of my choices. I have never truly been alone. My natural birth at the Wellspring Birthing Center was accompanied by my mom, closest sister, and one of my aunts.
I have also been blessed in that my baby’s father had a close relationship with one of his brothers, who lives in the area, and they have become a part of my family as well. I am thrilled to say his niece and nephews call me “aunt” even though we never married.
As I am a single mother and college graduate, I understand much of the financial hardships that each one of you faces. I have student loans that came due hardly 3 weeks after my baby was born (and while I was taking an unpaid maternity leave, using up all of my sick, vacation, and personal time I had been hoarding the first 5 months of my employment and running out), and I am still required to work full time and cover childcare somehow with no child support.
Many people view children as burdens and not the gifts that they are. Part of that “burden” is the inability to go places or do things. I am determined to break that barrier. My child has been portable from day one. If I wanted to go somewhere, I went there with baby in tow. But I do tend to enjoy sticking around the house in general; however, I have plans to take my daughter camping this year, perhaps more than once. I look forward to paying off my student loans at an accelerated rate and taking her on larger scope vacations such as Disney World, cruises, and even Europe! Sure I can’t go into bars with her, but I wasn’t a big bar hopper before anyway. Once I’m done breastfeeding, it’s pretty easy to enjoy a drink while out at a restaurant without the need to enter a bar (and always in moderation. Truthfully, it has never been a general habit to drink more than one drink in a sitting.)
There is always a way to make it work with children without suffering the lack of pleasures and enjoyments because of them. I just adapt or find someone who is willing to provide a little childcare while I make the grocery run or hang out with friends. Most of my friends prefer to see the baby anyway. 😉