Your Smile On Fire

...from the song Xavia

her early years

This idea is taken right from Nothing But Bonfires’ timelines series. Today, years zero through six.


Year Zero.


I am born. A month later I’m flown down to the valley in an emergency because apparently I’m turning blue or something. Oops, there’s something wrong with my heart and lots of flurrying to save me; surgery and pediatric cardiologist and probably lots of frantic phone calls flying around my family. I imagine them the way all phone calls of this type go; “So wait - what’s going on?” “Huh?” “Is she okay?”


That type of thing. I’m sure it took years off of everyone’s lives, especially my parents, and it is only the beginning.


But let me save you the drama: I DON’T DIE.


Year One.


Relatively uneventful. I am a baby and I am still bald and tiny and chubby. (Yes, I used to be chubby back when I was a wee little tyke.) I’m pretty much the first kid in the family and thinking back on it, the fact that I was THE ONLY ONE is a little scary. Aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents… and Jordyn. How strange.


Year Two.


Also uneventful. I don’t remember anything from these uber-early years, but there was no Taylor the Lovely; me and my parents lived in a trailer next to my grandparents house, and when Grandma would babysit me Clint was always around. I seem to recall him, Lu, and Janet having lots of fun teasing me mercilessly. Especially him. HE WAS RUTHLESS. (Of course, I was two so I was probably something of a baby.) I remember not liking his friends and I remember Janet and Lu saying, “Jordyn, your hair’s brown.” Even though I kept trying to tell them it was black.


Guess what? It’s brown. Of course by the time I finally figured it out I had a first grade teacher who thought it was black and looked at me like I was stupid when I told her it was brown. I felt so mad too, I was like, they’ve been telling me it’s brown since I was a baby and now you’re telling me it’s black and I don’t know who to believe!!


Year Three.


Taylor is born and I still don’t like the name “Taylor” more than the lovely names I had chosen (Purple Curtain Rod or Orange Curtain Rod). I stay with Lu that night and Richard is working (okay now I’m eighteen and just SUDDENLY that doesn’t make sense to me; it was midnight… okay whatever, moving on) and this was before Bradles and Madles so I was sleeping in the bed with Lu and then in the middle of the night she woke me up and asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital to see my mom and the baby sister, so we went in the middle of the night.


And my first memory of my sister is this, which my mom says is sad, but it’s really not:


I’m standing outside the hospital room and the lights are off, it is dark. In the darkness I can’t see anything, but I can hear a baby SCREAMING AS LOUD AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE. And in that moment, the first thought I have of my just-born baby sister, is, I hope she isn’t going to be this loud forever.


She is though.


Year Four.


Bradley is born and I want his parents to name him Benjamin. As you can see, my name choices have become much more, uh, conventional in the last year. Lu is on bedrest with him and when she goes to the hospital Grandma goes to and Clint is left babysitting me, which at the time seemed really strange. I don’t remember what we did, but I remember thinking it was cool that he was babysitting me. Mostly what I remember though, is that even before Brad was born I was really excited for him. It was almost like I knew how awesome he was going to be before he was even here.


So he was born. And he was a baby, and at first Taylor looked at him funny (we have proof of this in a picture), like what is this alien baby doing on my turf? But then they became friends.


And there were three.


Year Five.


I go to school! I have a red plastic backpack with characters from some tv show I’ve never seen, but everyone in my class seems to love it and in fact me and my best friend Emily trade backpacks (hers is Minnie Mouse) for a day. Various things happen in kindergarten: I make friends (Emily, Jaymeson, Lacy, Kelsey), Jaymeson steals my name card every day, letter people come, I lose my beloved teddy bear, and I go to the hospital (yes, again) when I have a bout of tachycardia during circle time. (And yes, I just said a “bout of tachycardia,” as if I had a headache or some other common ailment. Not that headaches are even that common in kindergarten.)


It was Emily’s “special day” too, and I had to miss it. Just because my heart was suddenly beating so wildly that I couldn’t see and briefly considered that maybe I was spontaneously going blind. Within seconds, it seems, of telling the teacher what is going on, I am laying down in the nurses office and kind of out of it (did I pass out? I don’t know) and there are firefighters fussing over me. Aaand of course now I realize they probably weren’t firefighters, they were probably EMTs, and they probably weren’t fussing over me like old grandmas, they were probably trying to save my life.


I’ll spare you the drama, and there was plenty of it: I LIVE AGAIN. (But boy, these brushes with death really take it out of a kid. No wonder I’m always worn out.)


Year Six.


Yep, that’s right: MADISONA IS BORN!!! And I wanted to name her Lacey, after my friend and also because I thought it was the most beautiful name ever.


Like Taylor, Madi is also crying the first time I see her in the hospital room with her mom. However, she STOPS CRYING when she sees me, not even kidding you, and it marks the beginning of many (many, many) years of trying to get the girl to calm down.


And now there are four of us and I am no longer the only one in the family.


**Yes, it did occur to me while I was writing this that my early years seem to be split between someone being born and me having some sort of medical emergency. I don’t know why that is, but it does make things exciting.



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Oct. 15 [going to work soon] [two school essays due; majorly nervous about both] [remember when i wrote that short story where the girl said "majorly" every other WORD practically? ha]