Today is February 26th. I’ve been waiting for this day for months. Today Fuller House will officially be on Netflix! Haha! But for years I always anticipated February 26th as John McDaniel’s birthday. Anyone who knew me in high school knew I loved The Rosie O’Donnell Show! And anyone who knew me in college knew I loved John McDaniel! John was the piano player on The Rosie O’Donnell Show. My father passed away when I was just 7. I looked up to John as a father figure. And even after the show ended he kept in contact with his biggest fans through his website. We could post on it and connect with other fans. I can still remember the excitement of when you saw purple under your post. Purple meant John had commented! During the earlier times of The John years I was newly married. I was so young. I was learning how to be a wife while feeling the pressure of what the little bubble of a world called Utah State University expected of me. It was confusing time for me. But through the website I saw the world differently. I learned a lot from the other members. I remember one time me complaining that a movie made a Mormon joke and another member told me very bluntly “Don’t be weak”. I don’t know who said that too me, but its something I still tell myself today. After the show ended John toured the country doing concerts and conducting symphonies, among other things. One time he was going to be doing a concert in south Florida. Another member had an extra ticket and offered it to me. I’ll never be able to thank her enough! I swallowed all my fear and attended that concert! I was terrified but it was a life changing trip. Over the next several years I would go on a “John trip” once or twice a year. I went to New York, LA, St. Louis, etc. I saw broadway shows and walked on the beach during winter. And I tried beer for the first time…..and last! So gross! FYI:My husband was so patient. He knew I needed to find myself and supported me through it. I met so many incredible people. I made amazing friends. We’ve been through births and deaths and everything in between. They’ve been so supportive and I consider some of them my best friends. In fact, I’m preparing to take a trip to see one of them preform in a play.
Then, in 2008, my world changed when I found out after years of fertility problems I was expecting Ben. Obviously all my traveling stopped but I loved being able to share all my progress through it with my “John friends”! I was so involved in this little soon to arrive Miracle that I didn’t notice anything going around me. So when Prop 8 happened I was blind sighted. I didn’t even know what it was, let alone that the Mormon church had anything to do with it. Prop 8 hurt so many people. My heart broke for them. Of course they were angry and John was one of them. Words were exchanged out of frustration and anger and I was sick over it. It destroyed me to think he would think I could ever do anything to hurt him like that. And as much as I tried to stop it from happening, the damage was done and I knew he didn’t want to know me anymore. I was heartbroken and ashamed. I felt terrible and cried for a week! Keep in mind I was pregnant! When all this happened it was the first time I ever really questioned religion or beliefs. I was perfectly happy following what other people told me and not worrying about it. This was the first time I had to decide what I personally believed. And that was when I decided I believed in equal rights for ALL. It was a painful road. I lost friends, went back and forth being active at all in the church, did a lot of tough soul searching.
The “John years” taught me so much. Not every moment was pleasant, but I’m grateful for all of them. I wouldn’t change a thing! So today on the February 26th I say Thank You John and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!