By ANN ROMNEY
1. I was a tomboy.
As a young girl, I was a tomboy through and through. I loved to explore the woods, rough house with my brothers and never minded getting dirty. When my brothers found a frog or a snake, they called me to catch it. One day while exploring, we spotted a bird’s nest high in a pine tree. Jim and Rod wanted to see what was in it, but they were afraid to make the climb. It must have been 40 feet straight up! I needed no convincing: I climbed up from branch to branch, discovered a full nest of baby green herons and climbed down to tell them what I had seen. And yes, I was careful not to touch the babies or their nest so their mother would not be afraid to return.
2. Motherhood had a very steep learning curve for me.
Every mother knows that no experience can fully prepare a new parent for the emotions and challenges of bringing a child into this world. But in my case, before Tagg was born, I had never fed, bathed, changed or even held a baby! Mitt was the one with all the experience, as he had been babysitter for his sisters’ children. He taught me Baby Care 101, and in just a few days, I put Mitt’s caretaking skills well behind me.
3. I don’t hesitate when faced with big decisions.
After being apart for two and a half years while Mitt served a mission for our church, I met him at the airport. On the car ride home, he turned and asked me if I would marry him. I said yes without a second thought. That night we told our parents that we wanted to get married right away. They pleaded with us to wait three months so that all the formal wedding preparations could be made. We allowed that concession to our parents’ sense of propriety, but I knew that Mitt and I were meant to be together and that’s all that mattered.
4. Mitt and I started out beneath the ground floor.
Mitt and I are very fortunate in our lives and we are grateful for all our blessings, but we started our lives together, like so many couples, in a small basement apartment in Provo, Utah that we rented for $62.50 a month. We used our fold-down ironing board as the dining room table. It was in that basement that we made our home with our first child Tagg. Some 23 years later, Tagg married Jen, and they moved to Provo. Their first apartment happened to be the very same one we lived in so many years before.
5. My life has always been boys, boys, boys and two more boys
I had two brothers and no sisters, five sons and no daughters, and of my 22 grandchildren, 16 are boys! There is no accounting for the female deficit. Family gatherings have always been rambunctious affairs and being a Romney girl means you are always outnumbered. But what we lack in quantity, we make up for in quality. My six granddaughters and my five daughters-in-law are very precious to me, but truth be told, all my children and grandchildren have been a source of more joy and happiness than I ever could have imagined.