From all the stories I’ve told you about my weird childhood self, you’ll remember that I was inclined to obsess. This started awfully early in life: I remember being about three years old and insisting that my new sandbox be painted red.
The color red was just one of many things with which I was obsessed at a very young age. I had a favorite from each of the major childhood learning categories: colors, numbers, shapes, and letters.
I call it my Childhood Quadfecta.
Besides a few ill-fated dalliances into lime green and hot pink, red has been my favorite color for my entire life. I suspect it may have started because my dad drives red tractors, and red (Case IH) versus green (John Deere) is as divisive among farm families as Coke versus Pepsi or red state versus blue state or what have you. I was (and still am) staunchly Team Red when it comes to farm equipment, and therefore everything I owned had to be red. I had a red wagon and a red tricycle and the aforementioned red sandbox. I wanted my first pair of glasses to have red frames, but I settled for a pair with red flecks. I pouted when my parents traded in their bright red car for a minivan. Years later, I still love all things red. One of my wedding colors was red: red inked invitations, red Chinese lanterns, red fingernails, red shoes (for James AND me!), red flowers, red ties, etcetera. James has a red car, and I (with my boring silver car) am envious. We have a red couch, and I desperately want a red front door. Some things never change, and my love for the color red looks to be one of them.
Whereas I can trace my affection for the color red back to my dad’s red tractors, I can’t do the same for the rest of my favorites. Why I loved the number seven, I have no idea. Perhaps it was because I was born in 1987? Who knows. But seven was my favorite. Unlike favorite colors, one tends to grown out of having favorite numbers, shapes, and letters… but I still have an appreciation for the number seven. It’s supposed to be lucky, after all. James and I started dating on July 27, 2007… and we got married on July 27, 2013. July is the seventh month after all, so maybe seven and I have a good thing going here.
Because of my fondness for salamanders and running through the woods and playing in abandoned buildings, I wouldn’t call my childhood self a girly-girl (a term that I kind of hate, but there really is no alternative descriptor). However, I did love some girly things. I loved dresses and Barbies and fancy shoes, and all things heart-shaped. On nearly every drawing I made when I was young, you can find some kind of heart. I had this glitter glue and fabric applique sweatshirt/sweatpants set (oh yeah, you read that right) that Mom made me, and it was bedecked in huge purple, pink, and red hearts. I wore that outfit to death. There was even a time when I carried around a shard of wrapping paper because it had some multi-colored paint splatter hearts on it that I loved. I was a weird kid.
You would think that, understandably, most kids’ favorite letter would be the first letter of their first name. Makes sense, right? Of course, that wasn’t me. My favorite letter – again, for reasons unknown – was the letter S. My middle name was Shelaine, but having never been terribly fond of my middle name, I’m not going to assume that I loved the letter S because of it. It’s just one of those fluky things. My parents love to tell me about this wooden alphabet puzzle that I had as a kid. Each letter was a little wooden cutout, and you had to put the letters back into their respective places. Sure, I did that, but I also carried the wooden S puzzle piece around like a good luck charm. It was light blue and fit in my tiny hand, and miraculously, I never lost it. It was, however, way dirtier than the rest of the puzzle pieces.