Monday, November 26, 2012


Way back in 2004 we were given the opportunity to make a better life for our children. We grasped that opportunity and ran as fast as we could.

I had been struggling with the heat of Southern Nevada for years with constant headaches, being physically sick an average of 151 days per year and having to keep my little ones corralled inside because I couldn’t  go outside to keep an eye on them. (Downtown condo means no fenced yard.) It was an awful existence for all of us. The kids couldn’t burn off energy and they had to watch me be sick all the time and wonder if there was something seriously wrong with their mommy.

We did a lot of online research and even visited places we thought we may have wanted to live. We had 3 criteria for our move
1. No state income tax just like the place we were leaving.
2. Mild summers - the fewer 95+ degree days the better.
3. Low cost of living.
Our research led us straight to Wyoming and our visits led us to Evanston. So in early April 2004 we wrapped things up in Nevada and moved our then 5 year old (The Freshman) and 8 year old (The senior) to a new dark pink/salmon colored home in a quiet neighborhood.

The change was pretty much instantaneous. The kids could safely play in the back yard by themselves or out front with every other kid in the neighborhood.  The kids were finally happy! And as for me, it was wonderful to be able to drive them places without getting sick because it was too hot and it was nice to be able to sit outside on the front steps and watch them actually acting like kids! And you know, the friends and family that had bashed us and doubted us were starting to think that maybe we had made the right decision after all. Mom was healthy (minus yearly back trouble) and best of all, the kids were finally living a normal, happy life.

I’m not sure when things began to change. It may have been when we took in 3 dogs (plus the 2 cats we already had). It might have been when we had two more kids in quick succession and then one last fabulous oops a few years later.  It might have been when we moved to Casper which made it hard to get back to visit friends and family on a regular basis or it might have been when our oldest two reached the teen years and made decisions that were fine with us but no one else understood because they weren’t present to see what had really gone on. Whatever the reason was, somewhere along the way, we became dumb Wyoming hicks.

It wasn’t so much the title of hick that hurt us, but the fact that people who knew and loved us could think that just because we had a lot of kids, lived in a rural state, and lived in a mobile home, we were no longer capable of raising our kids properly past the age of 12 or of making proper decisions for our family because of a stereotype that they knew we didn’t fit.

It is bad when perfect strangers have these stereotypes of us, but when intelligent, educated friends and family have these prejudices, it is absolutely 100% heartbreaking. Especially when your 4 year old son comes up to you and asks what a hick is because he heard someone he loves call you that and you have to explain as best as you can what is going on.

If these people knew the truth about our lives (which I hope someday they will open up and be willing to learn about even if we aren't speaking anymore) they would know that:

1. We moved to a rural state not to become and turn our children into dumb  hicks, but to give them a chance at a HAPPY life. WE SUCCEEDED!

2. We moved into a mobile home not because we had become the hicks we are now accused of being but because it was the best way for us to give the kids outdoor space to play in while saving money on living expenses (lot rent and home mortgage) so we could afford all of the extra little expenses that come along with having an autistic child with many appointments every week [Gasoline, lunches on the run, behavior incentives etc.] And as a side note, Mobile home parks are NOT filled with hicks. It is just a less expensive way to live and be part of a tight knit community!  WE SUCCEEDED!

3. We had a lot of kids not because we were dumb hicks who didn’t know what birth control was (another stereotype), but because despite failed birth control and hard times, we were trusted with these children because we had so much love to give.  WE SUCCEEDED

4. We don’t allow our teens to make the mistakes they have made because we don’t care or are too stupid to know better, but because we know it will make them independent and strong. It is working - no one is pregnant, drinking, smoking or doing drugs.  WE SUCCEEDED!

All I ask of family, friends, and all people actually, is to please not buy into stereotypes. Especially when you know the person and what they are like, what they are capable of…Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. What is inside might surprise you. And if you’ve already read the book it most likely won’t change drastically by the time you open it again.

Until next time…Thanks for all of the support <3


Mommeeof4 said...

You picked up and moved to change a situation that wasn't working rather than continuing to fail at cramming the square peg in the circular hole. Good for you! Now that is courage. I certainly hope your family can see that for what it is worth.

JJ Ellis said...

Thank you! Some friends and family members and friends have been very understanding, but there are always those few...I have my suspicions that some of them didn't believe our reasons for moving and for why we chose our lifestyle. But that's okay, we know the truth! :)