In some ways my life has always been a little unconventional.
-My dad is eccentric and opinionated. That alone made for a less conventional childhood. (He was also a really, really good dad. Many of my best childhood memories are of him.)
-My parents and I lived in a tiny mountain cabin with no heat when I was an infant.
-Growing up, I spent every summer I can remember road-tripping the lower 48 with my parents and siblings- first in a VW bus with no A/C then a mini-van and eventually a conversion van.
-My mom is 1 of 8 and my dad 1 of 6.
-Which made me 1 of 30+ cousins.
-I had lived in 6 houses by the time I was 6.
-We were excommunicated from a cult when I was 8.
-My mom began homeschooling us back when we only knew of 1 other family who homeschooled.
-Because of that I was able to graduate high school when I was 16.
-I lived as an exchange student in Germany for 5 months when I was 14.
-My family lived in a rustic cabin in the woods the year I returned to the States.
-I stopped wearing makeup for about 2 years after graduating high school in protest of a culture that told me I needed it.
-I never did do the dating thing.
-My husband is the only boy I’ve ever kissed.
-We were best friends, just friends, for 3 years before we decided to get married.
-We were 19 and 20 on our wedding day.
-The ceremony was on a bluff in Jamestown with 25 guests, a handmade wedding dress, and a small budget, most of which we covered ourselves.
-We bought a condo together when we were 18 and 19. It became our home the week after our wedding.
-I experienced 4 miscarriages in the first 4 years of our marriage and went on to have 4 healthy babies after that.
-Today I homeschool those 4 healthy babes.
-I walked 300 miles through each of my last 2 pregnancies.
-I labored for 54 hours with my oldest, for 3 hours with my second born and gave birth to my youngest at home.
-I’ve spent 2 10 day stints in a NICU with my newborns. Twice I’ve lived through moments when I did not know if my baby would survive.
-I ran a full marathon in 2010, about 1 year after declaring I would never be crazy enough to do that.
-My husband became self-employed the year he turned 26.
-We downsized 4 years after that, moved ourselves and our 3 kids in with my parents for 4 months then found a foreclosure to move into that cost a 3rd of what we paid for Garrett.
-I hiked 32 miles for my 32nd birthday last year. 14 hours in the woods with some of my favorite people. Best birthday to date.
-My parents named me Echo. Vechauntise. For Pete’s sake.
Somewhere along the way I learned that unconventional is not inherently bad.
Now I know it is not inherently good either.
But it does make for some good stories.
As well as leaving you feeling like you don’t really belong anywhere. A feeling I have felt most of my life…
Maybe the next part of the story was inevitable. Maybe I was destined for weirdness.
With a name like Echo Vechauntise, how could I not be?