Once upon a time, there was a little girl born. Her mom named her Shaina; a name made up by combining two other names, Shane and Shanna. Little Shaina grew up in a house full of siblings. Her best friend was her older sister, whom she always shared a room with. Her playmates were her cousins who shared land on the large family ranch they all lived on. Her family nicknamed her "Na".
She rode a bus to school, driven by her uncle. The bus was permanently parked at the ranch, hence the school route began and ended right across the dirt path between two houses. She often played bucking bronco on an old rusted barrel that was fashioned like a swing between two frail trees; A treehouse 20 feet above her height was frequented not only by her and her siblings, but by all the cousins, had slabs of wood nailed to the trunk which served as a ladder, sheets of plywood nailed atop the sturdiest of branches served as seating areas, carpet squares stolen from her Aunt's backyard pathways defined a bit of luxury amongst the treetops, and a long metal pole provided a quick escape from the top.
Campouts were routinely held; dutch oven cooking was a required skill; cloth diapers were used exclusively; crashing bikes on the slippery dirt roads were common; saddles were optional while horseback riding; 4-wheelers were the vehicle of choice; milking cows was a daily chore; wood stoves provided the household heat; the bushes were natural choices to relieve bladders while playing.
Just before she became a teenager, her family moved four states away from the ranch. New friends were made. The country kid became the city kid. Although it was a small town they moved to, it was a new experience to have paved streets and neighbors. Excursions were made to the local store to buy treats, via bicycles and scooters. Church friends had swimming pools that were used all summer long. Other friends had trampolines and slip-n-slides. Sleepovers were common and phones were often snuck into bedrooms to call boys.
Her first official job was at the town's local theater, although she worked as a babysitter, having many families who routinely employed her, for many years. Her senior year she had her first boyfriend, first kiss, and her first breakup came shortly after HS graduation. During the next few summers, she worked at a paper mill, laboring 10 hours a day, then after showering and changing, worked her nightly shifts at the theater. Between summer and winter breaks, she went to college with the money she earned.
A two year degree came, then a four year degree was earned, but the jobs never ended. Custodial work, dishwasher, cashier, deaf interpreter, and waitressing were all jobs that she held through college. The dating scene was sparse and uneventful for her. In time, she reconnected with a high school friend, and after some long-distance dating via emails, they were engaged, and six weeks later, were married.
The Husband, as he became known, and Shaina quickly conceived. Within four years, they had three children. Odd jobs here and there led them to realize that more stability and experience was needed, and so The Husband joined the military, and for four years they were stationed in another state. One more child entered their family, and they found themselves with a few more moves and a few more jobs. Once settled, child number five made his debut, bringing with him a whole new lifestyle, as they all transitioned into a new life with more specialized needs.
During this time, some hobbies were developed. Cooking became creative and interesting. Photography, journaling, and blogging were almost daily activities. Developing new skills, like sewing and crocheting, took up free time. Lifelong friendships were created and tenderly flourished. Reading, hiking, and socializing are frequent visitors to Shaina and her family.
Shaina is still close to her childhood friends, her many cousins that she shared her life with, and her siblings. She has a new goal this year to learn to love to run. She has a second cookbook in the works, and friends all over the world. She would love to publish a children's book someday, and she loves being a wife and mother.
That, so far, is the life of Shaina.