I was at Walmart a few days ago and this song came on the Muzak station. “I am brave. I am strong. I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.” Yes I probably butchered that and I’m not so bothered by it.
My name is Rhonda Hart. I grew up in a little town called Wasilla in the great state of Alaska. I graduated high school in 2000. Two weeks after graduation I was off to Army basic training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. It was so hot, and a four hour time difference from Alaska. I had to get special permission to call my family after lunch on Sundays. Otherwise it would be 4 am AK time when I called. From South Carolina I went to AIT at Ft. Eustis, Virginia. I left the Army in 2003 after suffering injuries to my back.
August 2003, my daughter was born. She was 17-18 hours of HARD labor. She was a whopping 9lbs 4 oz when she finally came out. She was such a good baby, except when she was teething and when that happened she would produce four new teeth in as many weeks. As a toddler I noticed she was behind in her speech and we started screening for that. She would later receive speech therapy, small motor skills, large motor skills, and social/emotional support. We did two years of special needs preschool. As she got older, I knew she would be an awesome kid. I remember one time I told her to “Hurry up, Princess!” and she replied to me “I”m not a princess mommy, I’m a race car!” Little did I know then how true that was.
February 2007, Kimberly became a big sister. The kids are 3 1/2 years apart. They were sweet together in the beginning then grew into having little squabbles as siblings do. Sometimes they would play Pokemon cards together. One year when we went to Comic Palooza they dressed up as Ash Ketchum and Pikachu respectfully. They made all their own costumes that year. We were a great little family unit. I love my kids just about as much as it’s possible.
May 18th, I dropped my students off at Santa Fe High school. I waved hello to Kimberly not knowing I would also be waving good bye. I last saw her at 6:45AM. An hour later, a shooter would come into the class and open fire. He killed 8 children, two teachers, and injured 13 more.