I, Tashua Nicole Lewis, was born on Monday July 22, 1991 in Mount Holly, Burlington, New Jersey to Kelly Kay Kleinbeck and Gerald “Gene” Eugene Lewis. My father was in Navy and many of my early years were spent traveling. This was long before I can remember, but I know from family videos and stories that my mother and I lived with my grandparents for some time while my dad was away. After my dad got out of the Navy, my family moved to Haskell, Arkansas where his parent’s lived. We lived there only until halfway through my Kindergarten year, but there are few memories I have.
On my first day of Kindergarten, we were assigned to cut a design out of paper. I remember that the girl next to me was cutting her paper the wrong way and I was very mad that she wasn't following directions. I decided to put my hand on her paper so she could not cut anymore. Instead, she just cut through my finger. I was so upset that the school nurse had to call my mother to take me home.
Although this is a simple story, I think it shows a great deal about my personality. I do not like when rules are broken. I have always understood that rules were there for a reason and that they should be followed. My sister, Jessica Lynn Lewis, was born on April 5, 1992. As we were growing up, Jessica and I loved to color. We were quite different though, I always had to color in the lines and to use the exact colors that things were in real life. My sister preferred to color things as she liked. Grass could be colored purple and people faces green. This always bothered me and I frequently argued with my sister about how coloring should be done.
We moved from Arkansas to Richmond, Missouri where I finished out my Kindergarten year. When we first moved to Missouri, we lived with my mother’s parents while my parents renovated an old house they bought. It is here that I have one of my most dear memories of my parents. One evening as we were preparing for bed, my little sister and I crawled into bed with my parents. We cuddled and laughed and my parents seemed very happy. Although this is a simple memory, it is one of the few where I can remember seeing my mom and dad happy together.
It wasn't long after we moved into our new house that I realized my parents were not as happy as I had thought. In general, my mom and dad were good about keeping their fights away from my sister and me, but you can only hide so much unhappiness before it spills out into other aspects of life. I was old enough to understand what divorce was, but too young to remember many of the grueling details, thankfully. I do remember how heartbroken my mom was and how strange it was to see my dad with another woman, even if she was really nice.
After my parents got divorced, my new step mom started taking my sister and me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We only went when we were at my dad’s house which was every other week. Soon I asked my mom to take us as well. Since she was actually a baptized, in-active member of this church she agreed and we started going to church. My dad and step mother did not continue going to church. On July 31st, 2000 I was baptized. I was nine years old.
Shortly after this, my dad and step mom moved to Arkansas and my mom got remarried. My sister and I lived with my mom, but we would spend six weeks of the summer with my dad. It was fun to spend the summers with my dad because my cousins lived close and I liked to play with them. I didn’t really like that we were away from my mom and it was hard to not see her for so long. One summer my dad had moved to Wisconsin and we visited him there. This is the summer that I have many memories from because my cousins also got to come and visit for the summer. On the way to Wisconsin, my dad made a sudden stop on the side of the rode. He had accidently hit a raccoon. As he pulled off, he noticed he had killed the raccoon, but that it had a baby that was left motherless. He picked it up and we took it home with the intention to take it to the wildlife facility the next day. When we got there my step mom got out a bottle and some milk to feed the baby raccoon. The next day everyone had fallen in love with it and Minnie, as we came to call her, became part of the family. During this summer we spent a lot of time at the beach, which was walking distance from my dad’s house.
When I was twelve I made the decision that I did not want to spend all of the summer with my dad. It was hard because I know it hurt his feeling, but there were two reasons that I decided this. One which was deeply rooted from what happened the summer we lived in Wisconsin. It was a very rainy day and we were playing in the detached garage on the Sega gaming system. We decided to go inside to do something else, but my sister left her doll in the garage. She went back to get it and I went with her since she was little. As she was trying to get it, she slipped and sliced her leg open on a metal chair in the garage. She was in a lot of pain and the cut was very deep. My step mom looked at it, cleaned it, and gave her a Band-Aid. She should have been taken to get stitches and even though it was not a big deal, my young mind remembered this and believed it meant that my sister wouldn't be taken care of there. I have always been so protective of my sister and this led to be very influential. The second thing that led me to choose not to spend the summer with him was that I wanted to spend it where all of my friends lived.
My mom did not stay married to her second husband for long because he had a liking for bars and prostitutes. When I was twelve my mom remarried and we moved to Olathe, Kansas. It was really hard for me to accept that I was not going to see my old friends again and knowing that I would have a hard time meeting new friends. We moved halfway through my seventh grade year and it was hard for me to transition to a city school. The curriculum was much more advanced than the tiny district I was in prior. I had to work very hard to keep up with what the other students were already used to.
It was during my seventh grade homeroom class that I was first bullied. A tall, strong girl called me “Scraggley” every day because she didn't think I brush my hair. It was really hard for me to not get mad and to just laugh it off. Some people truly don’t understand the pain words can have on other people. Though it was hard to adjust, I found that I really enjoyed my new school. I made only one friend that year and she was a pathological liar. After leaving a shirt at her house, I saw her wearing the same one. I asked her if it were mine and she refused to give me the shirt back because she believed that she really had one like it.
That summer I had the blessing to go to Girl’s Camp for church. It was here that I met and got to spend lots of time with a girl in my ward and it is here that our friendship started. I truly cherish the blessing it is to be her friend and I will forever be grateful for the chance we had to get to know each other at camp. Before Girl’s Camp we were natural enemies. We both had the same friend as our “best friend.” It just so happened that both of us had the same girl that we considered our best friend. The second day of Girl’s Camp she hurt herself and had to be sent home. Before going home she asked me to decorate the other girl’s bunk bed for her birthday which would be during Girl’s Camp. Doing this was the stepping stone towards a great friendship. I decided I would do what was asked and helped decorate the main room and I got to know her pretty well throughout the rest of camp.
Eventually... I got married and had a son! :D
Eventually... I got married and had a son! :D