Fluffy life stuff, Growing pains

People pleasers need to stop sacrificing their excellence

I love people. It’s rare I don’t get along with someone. I find people very fascinating. What they do, what they say, what makes them interesting. But mostly I connect to what they don’t say, what their body tells me. I am a people person but it was during a conversation I had with my husband, some years ago (before he even was my husband), that something really sang out. I was upset about something that happened at work. I felt misunderstood. I was crying and felt my job (me) being threatened. My husband said, “We need to be liked by everyone”. That statement rang in my ears for weeks, months and as you can see years. Why had I never noticed it before? I am a people pleaser; yes I am and have been all of my life.

Now I’m seeing the same ‘people pleasing’ behaviors in my sweet daughter. I see it when she feels like she might get into trouble with her dad. I see it when she’s playing with her friends. I even notice her do it to me, of course, because I taught her this, didn’t I?  How do I help myself but more importantly help her? Why do we NEED to be liked by everyone? At what point do these behaviors start to self-harm?

“If your number one goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of you, then you risk sacrificing your uniqueness, and, therefore, your excellence.”


I’ve been sacrificing my excellence


…and I didn’t even know it.

Are you doing the same thing?

I bend over backward to help those around me putting my own needs last. But I can argue that this is part of my uniqueness as well. I’ve unknowingly given up bits of myself trying to gain approval. In the beginning, it’s innocent, you just want to help out and be nice, but what happens when these acts of kindness are not reciprocated and you keep trying to please the same people or type of person? They start to become ‘takers’.

Do people pleasers create takers or is it the other way around? Takers definitely feed on people pleasers that I know for sure. Living this way is proven to be unhealthy because it’s not sustainable, it catches up with you and breaks you down. Did it take seeing the same behaviors in my daughter to finally open my eyes? How do we help and serve those around us without falling into a ‘taker trap’?

As long as I can remember I’ve always tried to be liked by all. People are nice to people they like and I was (let’ be truthful, still am) never good with rejection or dislike directed at me. It started at home. I was one of five children, the middle child. I’m sure being one of five kids needing attention from my parents is where it started. I did my best to be the perfectly behaved one and became an overachiever in life or a perfectionist.

Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

My older brother already had the role of the one who did the wrong thing and got all my mother’s worries.  My little brother was the baby and my little sister played to role of the snoop and victim. My older sister paved the way for all of us, challenged my parents with all the firsts. I idolized my older sister. I loved everything about her and wanted to be just like her. I would follow her around the house annoying her with my obsession. Before she became a teenager, she always had time for her four younger siblings. Just because she didn’t want to spend time with us anymore didn’t mean I didn’t want to spend time with her. She started to resent me and wasn’t very nice. She started to change and the smallest of questions or comments got your head bitten off and soon she wasn’t any fun to be around. I lost my sister to teenage-pregnancy. She became a mother at eighteen and I became an aunt at twelve. It didn’t change how I felt about her. I just now had a sweet little niece to love and play house with. My sister ended up getting married very quickly to her boyfriend and moved to Italy where he was stationed in the Navy. I missed my sister and my little niece very much. I can trace my needing to be liked back to my older sister. I tried everything in my power to get her to like me again, but I didn’t understand all that she was going through at the time and I blamed myself. I wasn’t cool enough, I wasn’t tall enough, old enough. This seems to be my earliest memory of this type of behavior that will follow me throughout my life.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

We all have different talents. That’s what makes us so unique and interesting in our own way. I have always been able to understand people’s feelings. It’s like I can look directly into their heart at times. I seem to be extra sensitive to people’s emotions. When I was young I thought everyone could feel this. Because of what I felt, I took on the responsibility of trying to make everyone around me happy from an early age.

My parents were divorced when I was eight-years-old. It was messy for all seven of us but I remember feeling that their divorce was my fault. Why did I feel this way? How could such a young child feel this? This seems very odd to me now that I am a mother myself. I would never want my children to feel the need to take on such responsibilities, such adult responsibilities that even as adults we don’t understand or choose to take on.

Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

As I hit my 40’s things started to make a little more sense; a missing link was revealed. I was finally ready to learn and let it sink in. I discovered that the ‘wants’ and the ‘needs’ of people are blurred to me. It’s my job to ‘de-code’ the wants from the needs to then be able to understand someone’s true desires. For all of my young life, I have mistaken people’s desires and wants for needs. I feel I have been put on this earth to serve and help others. It brings me happiness. Most people I help just want my love, support & understanding. Everything I give to these people comes at no risk to me. In fact, helping them strengthens me. But when I give to the ‘takers’ I hurt myself in the process. They tear strips off me and over the years I’ve given too much of myself away, especially in those tender teenage years. I felt their desires but misread their wants for needs. I finally understand the difference and I need to help my daughter understand the difference.

Now how do I put this into practice?

I ask myself a simple question. Do they just want something from me or do they enjoying being in my space? I can usually tell by people’s behaviors, words, actions, body language, life morals, the stories they share with me and the most telling signs are the way they treat other people, especially the people they love.

What can be tricky for me is if I’ve just met someone, i’ll need to rely a lot on my gut. I trust my gut, however, this is where the battle within begins. When my gut instinct does not match what my head and heart are telling me. My head always wins over my gut and my heart usually wins over my head. My head is logic, my heart is emotions and my gut picks up on everything else. My gut picks up what my head and heart don’t see or choose not to see. That’s why it’s been so easy to get it wrong a lot.

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

I have felt so low about myself that I needed others to want and need me to feel any self-worth. It makes me sad to think about that heartbroken young Kaylynn with all her muchness draining out of her helpless to stop it and desperate for anything, even a band-aid fix.

I only want to see good in everyone, with me everyone starts out with greatness in their soul, a clean slate. I see my daughter giving everyone a clean slate too…and this is not a bad thing except when her excellence starts being sacrificed.

The world needs more random acts of kindness. Kindness changes hearts from both directions. This week do something for someone else. Something that can change a heart.

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

The world is full of selfish people. We can change hearts by showing gentleness toward each other and ourselves. Let’s lift and care for each other without tearing strips and hurting each other.

Kindness begins with me.



Feature photo by Spencer Pugh on Unsplash


Growing pains

My Tracy (Part 3)

When I think of my little brother, I tear up.

He gets me. He always has. No questions asked. I’ve never had to justify my existence to him. Ever. He loves me unconditionally. Always.

To have someone who’s always on your side like that, well I struggle to find the words.

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Tracy and I dancing at the Red Flame, a restaurant that had dancing. Our mom and step-dad would frequent every Friday night. We went with them on this night.

Tracy and I knew each other before this life. We chose each other as brother and sister–so we could grow up together, protecting each other. We were friends before we were born. We can sit in silence and gain positive energy from each other just by being. We can read each other’s thoughts. I’m terrified of this world without him in it. But it has not always been this way.

He was my baby brother, too cute for words when he was small. We all doted over him. But he grew up to be a cheeky monkey as all little brothers do. We would fight like regular siblings. It was me and my sister ganging up on him or he and I ganging up on her or them ganging up on me. Just regular kid stuff.

He is four years my junior and I don’t remember ever sharing a school with him. We must have overlapped in elementary school but I don’t recall those days or years. I wonder if he does?

FullSizeRender 2Once on a snowy morning, before he was old enough for school, he got dressed in all his snow gear and walked my sister and me to the bus stop a few houses away. He had strict instructions to go straight back home after the bus came. As our bus pulled away, I watched him as he turned around and started walking up the sidewalk. He slipped and fell backwards and then he was out of sight. My heart broke. I remember thinking if I should ask the bus driver to stop so I could run and check on him. I was worried about him all day long wondering if he got up and made it home. I had visions of him lying there crying and calling out my name. After school, the bus dropped me off and I ran home to check on him. He didn’t even remember falling. All that worry for nothing.

When he was about three-years-old he had a favorite outfit he wore all the time. It was an orange t-shirt with a Hawaiian girl in a grass skirt doing the hula and red, white and blue striped pants. He used to say the girl on his shirt was his girlfriend and of course that made us laugh so we asked him all the time who she was.

I remember Tracy going from irresistibly cute, to undeniably annoying, to downright mean[1]. We finally found our common ground after high school but it wasn’t until I returned home from my L.A. adventure that we became inseparable. Tracy and I were the only kids living at home, we went to the same University and worked together too.

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Tracy had a big monster truck that we drove around in. It makes me laugh to think about it. If he saw a cute girl at a red light, he made me duck down, and I did. It was a time when we were learning about ourselves. Trying to figure out our own life’s pathway. Hashing out who were we now and what were we going to be.

This time together was a blessing. We had always been close but this just brought us closer. Marriages, kids and schooling sent us in different directions but we’ve always remained close. We live exactly 8,454 miles apart, but when we get together we pick up right where we left off. These days I only get to see him and his family every few years when I fly home.

My brother has a busy life. A big job at the hospital in charge of many. He has five kids. The oldest just got married last week and the youngest only starting school and his second son is currently serving a mission in South America. My brother magnifies his church callings and is a health freak running marathons, relays and triathlons. He hikes up snowy mountains and skis down them and he’s backpacked into the Grand Canyon more than once. When he comes home from work he falls asleep in his recliner while his sweet wife makes dinner…just like our dad used to do when we were little but I think my brother was too small to remember that. (Secretly I’m very pleased my husband has not adopted this behavior.)

I can not be prouder of my little brother and his life achievements. He’s the guy that’s loved by all. His sweet wife, his kids, extended family, in-laws, his employees, as well as his church family. Like I said, I tear up when I think about him and I am so proud to be his big sister.

I love you, Tracy, thank you for always been there for me. I can’t count how many times you’ve literally dropped whatever you are doing to help me out. You make this world a better place just by being you. Thanks for adding so much to my life♥♥♥

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[1] He was mean to me when I made the decision to go to Skyline High School.  Following my older brother’s lead, Tracy spent many days calling me a traitor as I yelled back “Shut Up!” and then he went to Skyline, giving me the last laugh.

Growing pains

Family (Part 2)-The Three Little Kids

Growing up, my siblings were my only real friends, especially my two youngest.

There is a four-year gap between my older brother and I. The biggest gap between all us kids. This gap gave a natural break between the big kids and little kids and that’s how “The three little kids” saying was born. When I was little it didn’t matter because I didn’t realize what those words meant but the older I got the more I desperately tried to make the switch.

One day I made a pronouncement at Family Home Evening,

            “Ok everyone, you know how it’s the three little kids, well now that I’m older I think it should be the three big kids and the two little kids.”

I was laughed at…they said it was cute but I didn’t want to be cute. I was serious. And as much as I tried to swing that shift, I was the only one voting and “the three little kids” stuck…forever. It didn’t matter how old we got, we were still known as the three little kids. Today it’s a title I wear proudly.


My Little Sister

I was cut off from my mother’s breasts when my sister was born. I was too little to remember but I’m sure it had some impact on our relationship. We are only sixteen months apart. I have no recollection of my time without her, she’s always been there.

It’s the summer of 1977 and we just got our new bunk beds. My dad bought two sets of old metal army bunks; spray-painted one blue and the other pink. We couldn’t wait for the paint to dry.

My mom and us three little kids, were across the street at the neighbor’s house, playing with their kids while the moms sat and chatted in the driveway. My mother was not comfortable with the social aspect of chatting. She was an introvert and still is. My father was an introvert too. The sun was shining down and there was laughter in the air when my mother announced, Well it’s time for bed. I’m not sure if this was her way of politely excusing herself from the social chat but we started to chime together our protest about bedtime but we remembered this was the night we got to finally sleep in our new beds. So our protest came out in cheers of excitement and happiness. Jeanie, our neighbor, pulled the funniest face while she asked my mom how she got us to be excited about going to bed.

I had the top as I was the oldest. We were so excited that it took us ages to fall asleep. My sister and I made up a game. I would slide my arm down between the wall and the top bed and sweep it along the wall like a pendulum and my sister’s job was to try to catch my hand. We laughed and played this game for years. We even had a song we made up to go with the game.

When we were young, our mother made incredible cakes–edible art. Our favorite was a carousel cake. It was beautiful with different colored frosting horses iced to bright colored straws with a big top tent on top she made from a paper plate. My sister had a frosting collection under her bed that she would share with me sometimes. Once she let me eat a carousel horse, which was very special.

My early days before school were bliss and my sister, brother and I would spend hours together making up games, spending whole days in our pajamas listening to the Mary Poppins album over and over until it wouldn’t play anymore. We had each other and that was enough.

My sister was my best friend, the one who always went along with my hare-brained ideas and would take my side when it came to fighting with my other siblings. We had each other’s back always until one day the light behind her eyes just vanished. Something was different. We were different. She was different. After that, we argued all the time, fought over toys and hated sharing a room. Once we divided the room in half but that didn’t work as the door was on her side of the room and I couldn’t jump far enough to get to my side of the room without touching her floor and mom put a stop to the dividing the room idea when the fights turned into slaps. We only saw the idea on Brady Bunch.


Brady Bunch Photos by 3219a2.medialib.glogster.com and www.sitcomsonline.com

She moved into her own room when I was ten. It wasn’t until her early teens when things really stood out of how different she was and it wasn’t until her twenties when she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the same thing dad had.

We went to different Jr high schools but in high school, we shared a year. She was a sophomore and I was a senior, a crossover year for us. I tried to rekindle what we once had but each time I got close she would bite. I always thought it was me, something I was not doing right, so I tried harder to get close to her again. I never gave up on her. It was hard because I always needed time to nurse the bruises she gave me and her nursing the ones I gave her. We did more damage than good.

The truth is none of us knew what she needed especially her. The adults had no clue. She was told to “make friends, join school clubs, don’t be so shy” but when she did try to assert herself she was shut down for that too. Nobody knew what to do. She was smart, really smart but she was flunking out of school. Her battle within just couldn’t cope.

None of us had it easy but out of all of us, her mental illness is most pronounced. Like my dad, she is not always easy to love but I know she doesn’t mean to be that person. All of us at different times have been her targets. Her daggers hurt. She knows how to cut deep. Forgiveness and love are the only way to survive having her as a sister.

Since moving to Australia, I watch her struggle from afar and I’m less of a target. She’s hurt me to my bare emotional core yet I still love her and will never forget that little girl who I laughed with and shared her frosting collection with me.


I don’t have memories of my little brother coming home from the hospital and getting to hold him, but I do remember having to stay with my Aunt and Uncle when my mother was in the hospital. Since there were so many of us kids, we all got farmed out to different places. Dumping us on one house “would have been too much”, mom said “and you need to wear a diaper at night. I know you’re a big girl and you don’t have any accidents, it’s just so your Aunt won’t have to worry.” I remember waking up and telling them every morning (for the 3 or 4 nights I was there) that my diaper was dry as I was a big girl. It was important to show I was right about something. I was three.

My Aunt taught me how to write my name and for every letter I wrote a page of, she gave me a chocolate chip. I loved it.

Stayed tuned next week for part 3…My Tracy.


Growing pains

Why do Mormons have lots and lots of babies? Easy, one word…FAMILY. (Part 1)

Family is the reason.

I did not grow up in the Brady Bunch household. We saw things kids shouldn’t see and experienced things kids shouldn’t experience. But if I reflect on my childhood, big giant gaping holes would be lost if any of us were missing.

Everyone in my family has driven me crazy, took me to boiling point and brought me to tears, lots of times. I’m sure I uttered  (or yelled most likely) “I WISH I WERE IN A DIFFERENT FAMILY! As I was 100% sure that I had been adopted. But the truth, is they all mean a great deal to me including their human flaws.

I found this cute video about family…Ok, it’s a little cheesy because its made for teenagers but its playful, beautiful and the words hit home. A family is all about the little things.

My older brother

I remember when I was about six, I found a spider in the bedroom I shared with my little sister. Terrified I ran out of there right quick crying bloody murder (I had a set of lungs on me).  By the time I got out of my room, I wasn’t crying about the spider anymore. My Tall Grandma (I had a Short Grandma too) had been on a visit to Holland weeks before and she bought me a sweet little doll with wooden shoes. I was crying frightened that the spider would eat her and I couldn’t save her because I couldn’t touch the floor. Nothing would calm me down. That was until my big brother, asked if I wanted him to crab walk me into the room to save her. I stopped crying.

“What’s a crab walk?” I asked.

He showed me and before I knew it, I was being very brave while my brother ‘crab walked’ me on his stomach into my room to save my new dolly and her wooden shoes. I was very happy to sit there as he struggled to crab walk me. As long as I didn’t have to touch the same floor as the spider, all was well. I can still hear his grunts and heavy breathing as he struggled under my weight but I was safe in my older brother’s care. If I was six, he must have been eleven.

He didn’t have to do that. He could have just went about his day paying no attention to his blubbering little sister crying about a spider and a dolly. He could have offered to get the doll for me but instead, he gave me so much more. He was a loving brother who crab walked his petrified sister into confidence and valor, he showed me that love prevails. He showed me the love he had for his crying little sister and forty plus years on, I’ve not forgotten.

I always thought heaven dealt my older brother an ordinary hand but when I truly saw my brother for his heavenly gifts, he was anything but ordinary.

My big brother was not perfect, he was a right pain in my butt for most of my childhood. He teased me to tears almost daily, stole my babysitting money and ate Easter & Christmas chocolates but he showed me what unconditional love was.

He was different than the other kids. He struggled to learn the basics in school and never really learned how to read. I watched him get bullied his whole life. From school kids to church kids and even watched our own father give him a hard time, but he endured. He always offered forgiveness to his perpetrators in heartbeat. He never held any animosity and loved others unconditionally even when they hurt him. He was a guy that needed to be loved no matter what the cost. He never held a grudge and he’s the same way today.

He has the biggest but the most wounded heart. He’s been on heart medication for years, he got a pacemaker put in when he was in his early forties. He’s woken up many a night to his defibrillator shocking his heart back to life while he sleeps. He is the glue of his sweet family. Without him, his daughters and son would be lost. His grandkids would be lost. I never thought I would see him as a loving father let alone grandfather. Each day he is with us it’s a blessing. I’ve always felt he’s on borrowed time.

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A family snapshot that was taken by my Grandpa Wolthius on Easter morning before church in front of our Tudor style home on 8th South in Salt Lake City, Utah.

My older sister

My sister is the oldest of us all and I idolized her. No, I really did. She was pretty, popular, funny and cool. She was everything I wanted to be. Out of all of us kids, my mom said we look the most alike. My mom labeled our baby photos to tell them apart. This secretly made me smile. I would follow my sister around the house doing everything that she did. She hated it. I would of too if I was the older sister. But I couldn’t help it. I learned so much from her just by her everyday example.

(Photo of us to be inserted here when I locate it…TBA)

She let me hang out with her friends when they came over until I got kicked out of the room but what they said was so funny. I loved being a fly on the wall. Once she even took me to see “The Empire Strikes Back” when I was nine, I felt so cool.

Vent brushes, big perms, girls camp, short shorts, tube tops, croutons made out of toast, backyard picnics, bike riding on a horse named Flicka, Star Wars, Valley Jr High, Tight jeans (how many stories?), kittens buried in our backyard, The Butternut Tree, The red purse, showing us the glow-in-the-dark ghost from the top of your lip balm, teaching me  “Shoe fly, don’t bother me”, giving me the keys to your car after I came home with my license, sneaking into your attic room to play with your barbies, wearing your paten leather red boots and sipping up my skin in them, watching dad slap you across the face when you were defiending your little brothers and sisters. 

There are several everlasting memories I have of my sister. I want to thank her for being my older sister, my second mom. I remember once when I was a teenager, my mom and stepdad went away for the weekend. I snuck out my bedroom window while my sister was looking after us. She was in the kitchen when I snuck back in at 3am. Ashamed and shocked I stood there looking at her in her pajamas. I thought she was going to yell, get mad and tell mom. She did none of those things. She was cool, calm and ask where I had been. I made a choice not to lie.

“I snuck out my window and met up with some friends.”

“I saw that, are they good friends?”


“Friends that won’t lead you astray?”

“Yea, I think so.”

“Well good. You better get some sleep or you’ll miss church in the morning.”

I went to bed thinking about what she had said. Where they good friends not leading me astray? I was not sure about the answer that night but it made me question my friendships in the future.

I observed my sister take what she wanted out of life with both hands. She was a great dancer and enjoyed drama class always trying out for the school plays and mostly getting the lead roles. I would watch her from the audience sitting on my knees, chin stretched out so I could see her way up on the stage. No one was more proud of her than I, see I really did idolize her.

Suddenly, in her last year of high school, she fell pregnant with my niece. I became an aunt at twelve. She was the best mother I had ever seen and still is (and even a better grandmother). She had two more babies over the years, my nephews (the youngest is still on his mission) and I loved playing with them all. I learned how to be a mother by watching her.

I watched her study hard and become an LPN then further her degree to become a Registered Nurse. She taught me all about feminism. Bringing home what she learned in her women’s studies class. She could do anything and she was good at everything. I was proud of my sister and all the hard work she was putting into her life. Being a great mother was most important to her. Like I said I learned so much from her just by her everyday example.

This is part one of my family post…Stay tuned for part 2 next week.

Feature photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Being Mormon, Growing pains

My parents were divorced when I was eight.

My parents were divorced when I was eight. That was in 1979 when bell bottoms were big but your perm was bigger.

My mom was now ‘trying on’ her life as a single mother of five, now that she was finally free of the marriage she tried to run from for so many years…or was she? My dad still came around on the weekends when he felt ‘up-to-it’. My dad suffered from bi-polar—Something an eight-year-old could never understand. I just thought he was angry a lot and sometimes fun when he got enough sleep—once he came home with a brand new car!

Before the divorce, once time I woke up and thought I had dreamt about an ambulance coming to our house…

Photo Credit: pexels.com

I walked slowly out of my room rubbing the sleep out of my eyes in my stripy nightgown I had outgrown, but still insisted on wearing. I noticed something weird on the living room floor (I always noticed something new or out of place—my son does this too). I picked up the white large bullet looking plastic things (two of them) discarded on the living room floor, along with some waxy circles, looked like the discarded parts of a band-aid.“What is this mom?”, in my rough morning voice.

     “What is this mom?”, in my rough morning voice.

     “Oh, nothing,” grabbing them from my hands.

     “I had a dream about an ambulance last night.” I said while having my morning stretch “wait was that a dream mom?”

     “No, your dad needed some help last night.”

     Very concerned now, “what happened?”

A long pause…

     “Your dad had a stroke.”

At five years old, I had no idea what a stroke was but I felt or knew that he was in safe hands.

This exact scene happened a few more times. After the first time, I just asked, “Did dad have another stroke?” “Yes.” She always answered yes, knowing the truth was too hard to explain.

For years, I always ticked strokes ran in my family on the medical papers…FOR YEARS! Until one day, years later — I’m a mother now myself — we talked about it, in the living room. I found out the so-called strokes were really mental breakdowns. Similar breakdowns some of my siblings now struggle with.

Since the divorce, my dad’s anger was not hanging around the house anymore except on the weekends. He often came over trying to ‘win’ back the woman of his dreams. He loved her. He always loved her even when he was yelling at her and controlling her. He couldn’t seem to help it. We always got excited when dad came over because it was always just us boring kids and tired mom. He brought this sense of excitement until we saw him settle in on the couch next to her.


He wasn’t there to see us, so we went back downstairs and continued to watch TV. We found happiness in re-runs. I think we watched every episode of The Brady Bunch, Happy days and Lavern & Shirley. Then those shows turned into Growing Pains, Who’s the Boss and Family Ties.  We even watched Three’s company, WKRP in Cincinnati and The Jefferson’s when we were desperate and now as an adult catching a re-run, they were not kid appropriate at all. But we watched them. We watched everything.

Photo Credit: unsplash.com Sven Scheuermeier

My mom was a working mom now, going out and supporting all five of us on her own. The older kids looking after the younger kids. I ate a lot of bread. Bread was easy. It didn’t need to be cooked (as I was too little to cook anything). I used to roll bread up into a ball and pretend it was an apple, I would roll bread out flat with my little cookie cutting set and cut cookies out of it. I would spread peanut butter on it or just eat it plain, just a piece of bread. One time I even pretended it was the sacrament, but I got into big trouble for that when I passed it around to my family.

We caught the bus to and from school. The fumes gave me a headache while listening to the driver shift into the different gears. On the way to school, the driver had the radio up so loud there was no room for kid conversations. We just sat there and listened to ROCK 103, but on the way home if the radio was on you couldn’t hear it. It was just loud kids shouting, laughing and screaming at each other. Come to think of it I’m not sure if it was just the fumes giving me the headaches.

Photo Credit: unsplash.com Gabriel Jimenez

My little brother went to daycare. It was hard for my mom. She dropped him off crying, telling us that he would be ok once he got in, then dropping us off at the bus stop. I worried about him all day at school because I knew that he cried all day, hiding himself in a corner of the playground so the other kids didn’t see him. That’s what my little four-year-old brother told me. My heart broke for him. But soon he was on the bus with us smelling the fumes.