My graduation shoes were white and pink sauconys, which my college boyfriend ridiculed to no end as being "grandmother shoes." I thought they were pretty cool. And then one day while visiting me at work—I was waitressing at a burger place—he pointed discreetly in the direction of one of my tables. I can still picture her. It's as if the afternoon rush of servers hurrying trays of cokes and french fries froze all around me as I took notice of the adorable, white haired granny at table 91, wearing my pink and white sauconys. 

I've mostly always been a late bloomer, whether it's in regards to fashion or kissing or catching onto the joke. I suppose I just do things in my own time, sometimes to my own detriment. 

Marriage was one thing that I did not fall into later on in life. That college boyfriend turned into my husband. We got married young—he was 24, I was a year younger. Our daughter was 7 months old at our wedding, an at home affair at my parent's house on a brisk but bright November day. She wore a polka dot dress, I think we bought it from Lord and Taylors. It's currently sitting in the storage closet amongst the coming home from the hospital outfits and a few of the newborn sized diapers that fit into my palm. I imagine I'll pull those out on the day of their high school graduations to weep into as they roll their eyes at me. We had more kids, obviously. You could say we got married with the cards already stacked against us: young, in debt, already parents. 

There were days after our second was born that I felt like I was drowning. I was on the phone with a friend saying that I thought I needed to go to my mom's house, just to have some help. I felt alone and fat and tired. 

We were living in Vancouver by the time I was pregnant with our third child. I was just beginning to show when my husband and I became really honest with one another and we realized that we might not make it. We talked about separating. There were several nights where I laid wide awake alone in our bed into the early morning hours, waiting for him to come home. No one knew except for my brother and his wife, who lived 3000 miles away in DC.