I am a mutt. I don’t have a fancy pedigree. I don’t come from a wealthy family. My parents would never win Best in Show.
I grew up poor, on the wrong side of the tracks; or rather the wrong side of the highway. I was raised in New Hampshire, in a house that had nothing but a woodstove for heat. In the winter, I slept with my head under the covers, using the heat from my breath to keep warm. In the morning, I scraped my finger through the ice on the inside of my bedroom windows.
I was the product of divorce; my parents separated when I was just 4 years old. My mother, sister and I moved in with my grandmother until my father found a place to live. I was too young to understand what was happening but I clearly remember how devastated I was to find out that dad would no longer be there at bedtime. Each night he created the tunnel I crawled through up the stairs to get to my room. Life would never be the same.
I was a latchkey kid, coming home to an empty house after school, stoking the fire, staying home alone with my sister at an age that would now be considered far too young. My mother worked full time and had other things that kept her away from home. It was inconvenient for her if we went to my grandmother’s house and so we learned to make ourselves dinner the nights she came home late.
But none of that matters. That’s all history. I am not defined by my lineage. I am not limited by genetics.
I am accountable for my choices; my lot in life is determined by my decisions. My success or failure is solely within my control. I create my own reality.
I could moan and complain; blame my parents, my ex or my boss, but where does that leave me? I can’t change my past. I can’t control how other people behave. I can’t even control my kids. The only person I can absolutely control is me.
And so I choose to take control of my life. I choose to blame no one for where I am, no one except myself.
My pedigree, my genealogy starts from this very moment.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Pedigree