Connie Fritz of Sebewaing, MI

Picture of winner's bracelet Connie Fritz October 2008
I heard about this contest and I am really excited to tell you my story. Not because I lead a rich fabulous life but because my life is lead through the heart of my little family. When I was 6, I found out that I was adopted, and for a 6 year old that altered my childhood. I started asking questions about my biological parents, then wondered why I was given away. Maybe to other people it might have affected them differently, but that's the way I took it. I met my real parents before, but didn't know that they were my biological parents. They were drug addicts, my mother would come in half the time high and didn't even acknowledge the fact that I was her little girl. That hurt alot and it took me a long time to get used to the fact that that was the way it is. I chose not to keep them in my life so that I wouldn't have to encounter the pain. When I was growing a little older I set some goals in my life. You see, my family live in the city of Detroit where they grew up with violence and drugs, really none of them had any real goals in their life. Not too many of them even graduated from high school. My goals were very simple. 1. Graduate from high school, no matter how hard it was for me. (Charm #0185 Diploma) 2. Never do drugs, half of my mothers brain is gone from that crap! 3. Have a family of my own and show them all the love that I can possibly give them plus some.A family all my own to love and cherish forever. And I did just that!

June 13th, 1999, I was one of the only three who graduated from high school. I never did any drugs and I stayed out of trouble, I was basically a good girl. I was so proud of myself, but it was really hard to finish. You see, I kept to myself to stay out of trouble leaving me with not a whole lot of friends, I wasn't doing what all the other kids were doing. I didn't date much because I didn't really do anything except work a part-time job after school. Plus I didn't really trust anyone. But eventually, I did finish and I met a guy I could really rely on.

Ok, I'm 16 years old, a senior in high school and I meet a guy named Jon. (Charm #0297 Cupid) He is very attractive and there was just something about him I was comfortable around him and that was important. He was shy but so was I, but eventually feelings came out and we started dating. We went to my prom together and stayed together on and off for 2 years. After January of 2000, we decided we were truely in love and decided to just stay together for good. On June 22nd, 2000 Jon told me he wanted to marry me, that I was the love of his life.We were only 19, but we were certain. On June 23rd, 2000 I found out that I was pregnant. (Charm #6537 Angel with heart) If you are reading correctly, yes it was the day after he told me he wanted to marry me, I know how weird, but that is how it happened. And from that moment on I was facing my last goal in life, A family of my own.

Yes, I was only 19, and I was about to have a baby. Jon was finishing up his senior year in high school. Everyone was against it all saying that we were too young and it would never last. They all thought that we were messing up our lives.I Had nobody on my side and quickly learned that I was on my own. We got a little apartment, and we both worked as much as we could. We were barely making ends meet, if at all, but we were happy together. I wanted to get married before I had my child so right before going into my 7th month of pregnancy, Jon and I applied for a marriage license at the courthouse. January 17th,2001 (Charm #4257 Charming 17) we got married in the courthouse with the magistrate. We didn't have that huge wedding, the great reception or the romantic honeymoon but we were happy just to be married. We went home and continued our lives as normal, he worked after school and I worked up until I was 8 months pregnant. (Charm #4424 Mom & Baby)

March 23d,2001 I delivered a healthy baby boy. I loved him more than anything, he was perfect. I wanted to be the best mom in the whole world. I vowed always to provide him lots of love and to never leave his sight.

July 2001, Jon finishes school and lands a promising job. We moved to a bigger apartment and continued our lives together with our son (Charm #0511 Boy) We went through tough times as everyone does, but we were still growing up ourselves. We made it through and then.....

Aug 2002, guess what Pregnant again! I wasn't sure I was ready for another child. I felt like I was trying to do such a good job with my first born, how was I going to do the same for my second. I started going through a really hard time emotionally but relied on my family and my faith in god to help me through. (Charm #4938 Cross) June 4th,2003 I delivered another healthy baby boy. I fell in love with him the same way I fell in love with my first son. I felt like my family was now truly complete.

March 2004, luck would have it, (Charm #0393 4-leaf Clover) we were ready to buy our first house. Jon was working steadily as a brick mason and I stayed at home to take care of my children. Some women don't like to stay home but I loved every minute of it. My children mean the world to me, I took full advantage of loving every minute of being a mother.Birthdays, holidays, Christmas (Charm #2925 Christmas tree) I tried to make every holiday special. Just to see the look in their eyes was enough for me. Years went on and we went through lots of hard times but there's lots of life left!

So, I'm only 27 now, Jon and I stayed together going on our 8 years of marriage. We take our marriage very seriously, even if we didn't marry in a big fancy church in front of a priest, we cherish our wedding vows. Our sons are now both in school all day, growing up too fast, but I realize this is just the beginning really. We are by far not perfect but we try to learn as we go. My life is not filled with riches or fame, but filled in riches in my heart. I've got plenty of life left and am always waiting to learn more. I didn't have too high of goals in life, but to me it was really all that really mattered. Life gets very hectic but I try to think positively and remember there is always another day. Life gets very disturbing but our love combined together gets us through and we may not always be prepared for the things we encounter in life but we are willing to stand up and fight. I hope that all young couples out there that seem too cornered by life don't let life get the best of them. I hope I put a little smile on your faces. I hope you can see the sunshine in everyones lives and that instead of giving up on marriage so soon, you try to work it out. If the house looks like a tornado went through it, the kids are running and screaming, and the dinner you tried to cook accidentally got burnt to a crisp, try this. Grab your loved ones hand, turn on soft music and dance. (Charm #0447 Dancers)

Thank you for giving me a chance to share my story and express the love I have for my family. I hope everyone finds true happiness and that specialness in their childrens eyes. I hope you find the love in your heart and provide me with the wisdom that you share.

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