As you all witnessed last episode, I've been pondering what it means to be a Republican. I mean, when you really think about it, it all boils down to elephants and donkeys. Do you want to be referred to as an animal with great memory capacity or an ass? JUST JOKING!
Seriously though, my parents are Republicans raising me in a mainly Republican Idaho. I related the Republican party to strong family values and work ethics that I witnessed in my patriotic farming community. We believed in "The American Way" — work hard and you will reap the rewards of your efforts. I could bore you with some facts such as Republicans tend to be more conservative fiscally, are more willing to go to war to keep the strength of our country, and that over the last 200 years have taken on many different images.
I've noticed recently how the two major parties-Republicans and Democrats seem not to be so opposite anymore and each having great ideas. Take for example, the great politically mis-matched couples like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, or James Carvel and Mary Maitlin. I, on the other hand, think that relationships are hard enough without having an oppositional partner — thus, the fact that George is an elephant was truly embraced and just one more reason he is a great match!
Attending these various political events has really given me great appreciation for the people that run our country and those interested in trying. I, not even for one second, would want the stress and pressure of that job. I've seen up close to what this type of tension can do to a person. Thank God there are people willing to sacrifice their lives to lend us their leadership to guide our county and protect our freedom.
On a much lighter note, Bravo really focuses on how life has changed for me this year and not so much on my children. Therefore, I want to tell you more about my kids and what you won't see on the show.
Starting with Sophia — although she looks nothing like me, she has inherited my personality. She really is my mini-me. Initially shy, once Sophie has established trust, she gives you her heart. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't receive a love note from her. She has a sweetness and innocence about her that I just can't get enough of. She is eager to please. I've always said she is my angel. She is a total tomboy, jock, cowgirl, and an animal lover with a passion for horses — which pleases me to no end! She prefers worn jeans to dresses. Taking the time to brush her hair is a complete waste of energy! She is a natural athlete and one heck of a softball player! I so enjoy her weekend softball games — it allows me the opportunity to go back in time and reminisce about all those summers I spent on the softball field. I get the biggest kick out of watching her hit the snot out of the softball! I swear, when watching her play, I feel my heart is going to leap out of my chest with pride and joy. There is nothing greater in life than seeing your child gain confidence in themselves and having a sense of accomplishment.
I think sports provide such a great platform for learning life lessons. Speaking of lessons, Sophie is now studying the violin. She has taken to it very quickly, like a duck to water! Apparently the piano wasn't challenging enough to her. I wish I could only peak her interest in math and school in general. I have no doubt that she will grow up to be a happy, strong, successful and independent woman.
Moving on to Josh ...by the time he was eight months old, I knew I had my work cut out for me when he started walking. Josh was unusually active and very intelligent— always quite the prankster. When he was young, he loved sports. Josh was a dynamite soccer player, but a demon at roller hockey, which he continued to play for many years. He dabbled a bit in basketball as well and he loved to paintball. He also learned to snow ski at the age of three, but now is too cool for skis and is a fantastic snowboarder instead. Josh loved nature and hiking. On a camping trip to Yosemite three years ago, he rafted down the Merced River with me and he climbed up and back down the trail to Bridal Veil Falls in 11/2 hours.
Over time, Josh lost interest in sports and turned to music. He learned to play the sax and then I did the whole electric guitar thing for him complete with amps and foot pedals! He discovered he could sing and possessed an amazing knack for writing lyrics. He formed a band, but I guess somewhere about that time (like the all-too-common Rock 'n' Roll story) started losing himself and experimenting with "substances" that would quickly turn him down a very destructive path.
During a short period of time, Josh grew in height by about ten inches. I was now looking up to him and felt my control over him slipping away at lightning speed. There are many things that I have learned about this experience. Here are a few: One is that love isn't a cure. Two: You will never have a rational conversation with someone "using." Three: That no matter what kind of help you provide or the extent to which it is given, efforts are dust in the wind unless the person wants and commits to change.
Lastly, sometimes practicing Dr. James Dobson's tough love theory is your last and only hope — an enabler is just as guilty as the user. Josh is currently testing society and my boundaries and has crossed that of which is unacceptable to me. He has chosen a path that I would never in a million years have chosen for him. However, Josh is 18 years old now and will be responsible for any mistakes that he makes. I will not be an enabler to defiant behavior. Due to circumstances beyond my control, Josh has turned away for the time being. Life offers us choices — choose wisely! Josh's gift is intelligence. I pray he learns to use it again one day and that I will forgive him when he does.
Last, but not least, my first baby Ashley just celebrated her 22nd birthday. (Give me water pleeeezzz — I just about choked during that admission!) Sometimes when I see her walking toward me I feel I am looking in a mirror. Of course, my vision is going, or perhaps it is just wishful thinking on my part. Ashley is from my first marriage my college sweetheart who was a great athlete and could have gone on to play pro football had it not been for a bad bone break at the end of his senior year in college.
Ashley and her father have remained close and he has always been there for her. They share a wonderful bond. (Sophie and Josh are from husband #2.) Ashley at age one was an old soul. She understood everything and always obeyed. She was a social butterfly and had tons of friends. She, like Soph and Josh, loved sports.
While she was exceptionally good at softball (even losing a few teeth in the process), as a Frosh in HS, Ashley switched to Volleyball — yes, a much softer and forgiving ball! Since I played four years of college VB, I was very excited to see her take up this new sport. It is such a fast-paced and exciting game. She played three years of HS and one year at Saddleback College.
Ashley started modeling at 15, but didn't take it too seriously. Her problem was although only 15, she looked and had the body of a 21-year-old. Once she turned 16 ,she realized she could earn her own money and started working. She always had a job, sometimes two! After graduating from HS, she tried college in San Diego, but after a semester and 1/2 decided San Diego was not for her and LA was! I think LA lasted less than four months. Back to Mom's with a dog she did go! The rest you probably followed in Season 1. Last week, Ashley won Miss Supercross of Anaheim. She is now competing for the national title. She has started a new job and is a spokesmodel for a water company and is looking forward to an upcoming three-week trip to China. Keep watching this season for more details. Ashley has the gift of beauty. She is just as beautiful inside as out. Now, if only I could get her interested in cleaning!!!
As far as George and I, we are taking the beginning steps to planning the day we become one. We are so looking forward to that day and we are going to great lengths to make sure to create the greatest memory of our lifetime! We are having the time of our lives.
Thanks for watching!