My daddy always wanted me to be a girly-girl. He thought my height would be good for a modeling career. He even told me one day that he would love it if I was a flight attendant so that I could fly him all over the world. I, on the other hand, was interested in sports and singing. Not make-up. Not fashion. Not boys. Okay, yes I was interested in boys, but spent less than five minutes donning my blue eye shadow and blue eye liner to make sure my eyes were definitely blue. Ya think, Cindy? One of the things I did for my dad and my mom was enter a pageant. Stop laughing. I was 17 1/2 years old. The year was 1988. Many of my closest friends were in the pageant as well. We spent months of preparation for this spring event. Learning to walk and turn and walk some more and turn some more and pose and make the triangle with our legs touching at the calf but not at the knees and then again at the top of the leg. Good thing for me, my athletic legs came in handy and I didn’t have to worry about extra cellulite in those days. Choosing my song proved to be a chore. I spent time with a dear friend, who happened to win the pageant a few years prior, who found the song, trained me and continued to work with me. She even gave me one of her evening gowns that my parents paid to have altered. It was a red, sequined dress fitted all the way to my knees, just flaring out to the floor. My 5 foot 10 1/2 inch frame was sporting a size 6 back then so to say I looked pageant-like was an understatement. I was probably the least likely person to win. I wasn’t a complete tomboy but I was close. The transformation people began to see in me was noteworthy. In fact, I heard things I wasn’t supposed to hear that made me think I was a shoe in. Apparently, the judges thought otherwise. Not bitter. When the winner was announced, my heart sank. I didn’t know why at the time because quite frankly, I didn’t care. I did the pageant for my parents. I wanted them to be happy…to have a daughter that accomplished something that a woman would accomplish. The pageant ended and my parents walked me to their car. “You’re a winner to us,” my mom said. It really ticked me off that she said that. Now a mother myself, I understand exactly why she did. Thanks, Mom.