What four or five relationships have had the greatest impact on your life?
As soon as I list the four or five, I don't want anyone who's not mentioned to feel slighted. So many people have touched my life in a major way, this question isn't really fair. The five I'm picking for specific reasons. And even these I'm listing aren't in any particular order.
Tim: My husband and I met during a time in my life when I felt like giving up. I didn't want to get up in the morning. I didn't want to go to work every day. I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. Then we met and clicked together like two puzzle pieces. We don't share a lot of the same interests, but we appreciate each other's differences. We're a nice compliment. I'm emotional and loud, he's softer spoken and laid back. He's a math guy, I'm a grammar girl. He does the taxes, I cook dinner most of the time. It's not like sunshine and roses 24/7. Living with me can be tough, to say the least. But I can't imagine where I'd be without him. We were meant to meet.
Henry: Obviously, the kid made me a mom and changed me forever in that way. What did I do with myself before I had him? I must have wasted a lot of free time. I kind of wish I could have a little more of that free time back, to do hobbies or just to keep the house clean. He's made me not swear as much. Or at least made me be more covert about it. Even though I don't feel very organized most of the time, he made me HAVE to be more on top of things in general, because now I'm responsible for a whole other human being. Perhaps most importantly, he kept me here on this Earth. I went through a period where I truly didn't want to live. Reminding myself that he needed me kept me going. Every day, in fact, it continues to keep me going.
Mom and Dad: They love me, always. Even when I'm nuts. They also have given me terrific traits -- I'm conscientious, a hard worker, pretty good in the kitchen, and so on. They've also, through the luck of genetics, given me the predisposition to be anxious, round 'round the middle, incredibly nearsighted (literally and figuratively, most likely), and so on. I'm not complaining. It's all a lovely stew of nature and nurture. Welcome to life.
Cindy: What an amazing, strong, witty, creative, charming, occasionally snarky, always caring friend. I met her through work, but we quickly became friends outside the office. She has kids in high school. I have a kid just starting school. You'd think we wouldn't have anything to talk about. But I think we're kindred spirits. She's another one of those people who I watch and think, "I would be doing a great deed to the world if I can handle this or that or something else like Cindy would." Maybe it's WWCD. She'd cackle at that. One of the many reasons why we click.
Les: You're going to get an extra person, because I'm counting my folks as a "unit" rather than individuals. Les was my college journalism professor. He became my boss when I went to work for the small town paper he owned. He kicked our weenie butts in reporting classes. Insisted we had that AP Style Guide memorized cover to cover. Slapped a sign on his door that said "No Whining Allowed." My college mentor, he convinced me to major in print journalism instead of advertising or PR. Looking back on it, I wonder...Les, didja realize my degree would be virtually obsolete in 15 years?! But I listened to him and had a pretty fine stint as girl reporter. And that degree took me to the newspaper where I met Tim. And as you can see from my first "most influential" pick, that meeting had a rather significant effect on my life.