The Trip of a Lifetime
The life of Christie Pond
By Taylor Oddino
SPOKANE, Wash. — Christie Pond, now 36 years old, remembers traveling a lot as a child with her family. From Disneyland, to Yellowstone, to Canada, Pond traveled all over the place. But if you ask her about the greatest trip of her life, she’ll most likely say motherhood, and her greatest achievement in life?
“Besides my children, probably my education. Definitely. I mean I have my Master’s [degree]. That took a lot,” Pond said.
Pond is the mother of two teenagers, Joshua and Adriana, which anyone can tell within seconds of talking to her that these two are what she cherishes most in life. But her education history is impressive — she has two associate degrees — one in accounting and one in paralegal studies, a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in accounting.
Pond operates her own accounting business, Affordable QB Book Keeping, and works at her daughter’s dance studio, Dance Emporium.
So what’s with all the degrees? Pond says she gets bored easily. After high school she didn’t know what she wanted to do. She spent time working in broadcast radio, which she loved. From there she spent time as a paralegal. As time passed, she found herself in special education and accounting.
But as hard as Pond has worked for her education and in her various careers, there are some things that no amount of schooling can prepare you for.
Things like kidney cancer, losing your sister to cervical cancer, divorce and being a single mother.
Pond wed a man, whom she doesn’t mention by name, after meeting him online via an AOL chat room. She found herself living with him in San Diego. Months later, with her youngest Adriana just eighteen months old, Pond moved back home to Spokane because her marriage was over.
Adriana, now 14 years old, is years ahead in school and completing high school online. Adriana comments on what her mother has taught her.
“She lets me choose what I want to do. Like I want to go to an Ivy League school, and I want to go to an Ivy League school because it’s what I decided, not what my mom decided I wanted in my life,” Adriana said.
Joshua, Pond’s eldest, has benefitted from the Open Doors Program — a program that helps young adults earn their high school diplomas. Pond continues to push her kids and offers them advice.
“Always try your hardest, and not to sell yourself short because you’re capable of doing anything you want to do,” Pond said.
Knowing you can do anything has come into play several times in Pond’s life. Especially when she had to battle kidney cancer. Christie and her sister Sherry were diagnosed with cancer at the same time. At the age of 38, Sherry passed away from cervical cancer.
“Here’s my mom. Her only two kids — she’s running to one side because I’m having kidney surgery and she’s running to the other side because my sister’s getting fluid removed. She was so sick,” Pond said.
Sherry was the mother of two as well, Taylor and Logan.
“You have these two kids who just lost their mom. I promised I would get Taylor graduated — which I did,” Pond said.
“When you have cancer, it’s scary. But yet I always felt like I couldn’t talk about that or communicate that because my sister was so worse off than I was. So it’s almost like you keep it to yourself because you felt guilty that you’d even say such a thing when your sister’s dying of the same thing,” Pond said.
Pond talks about going through survivor’s guilt after her sister passed. She mentions another kind of guilt that she feels in her life. Both Joshua’s father and Adriana’s father signed their rights away as parental figures.
“You have what’s called single mom guilt. You try to compensate for what you think they don’t have with stuff. My kids are spoiled,” Pond said.
But Pond has never let the fact that she’s a single mom prevent her from giving her children all that she can. She says that her children have many nice things, and that you would never know they don’t come from a conventional family.
However, Adriana notes that her mother’s giving spirit can sometimes be a fault.
“I always make it a priority to get her all the new clothes she needs during Christmas, because unless somebody tells her, she won’t go out and do it because she’s a mom and likes to spend her money on her kids,” Adriana said.
A Sense of Humor
While Adriana uses words like “strong” and “independent” to describe her mother, Pond describes herself a little differently. When asked to describe herself in just a few words, Pond responded with “good sense of humor,” “no filter” and “inappropriate.” She has given up on filtering herself.
“Hey, when you get as old as I do, and you’ve been through the things I’ve been through, there’s just comes a point when it’s like, ‘Okay,’” Pond said.
It’s true — Pond knows how to make a good joke. At first glance, one might notice her perfectly slicked back hair and constant need to check the computer that she sits at in the lobby of Dance Emporium. As she answers interview questions she manages to sneak in a few clicks and keystrokes. Yes, her OCD is visible, but her “inappropriate” side is in there.
Her coworker, Dance Emporium clogging instructor Makynlee Miller, enjoys Christie’s sense of humor.
“She always is making me laugh and happy to come to work. She has a great work ethic and you can tell she cares about what she does and the other employees as well,” Miller said.
Miller is new to the studio this year and is appreciative of Pond’s welcoming personality.
“The best part about working with Christie is her personality. When I first started there she made me feel comfortable and right at home,” Miller said.
While Pond is the first to make others smile, she doesn’t do it for their benefit. She revels in the joy of being her genuine self and living by no one else’s standards.
“When I was younger, I used to be careful about what I’d say because I didn’t want to offend people. But I’ve kind of gotten to that point in life where I’m like, ‘What the hell let’s see what happens,’” Pond said.
One part of her insists on having a “dry side” of the sink that cannot get wet, while another part of her tells her to say whatever is on her mind. Pond is a manifestation of the tension between OCD tendencies and freedom.
Adriana appreciates how her mom is up front and honest with her about life.
“She doesn’t sugarcoat anything with us kids. She’s okay with discussing anything with us, and I like that because I don’t like being told that I’m ‘not old enough to know this yet,’” Adriana said.
Pond continues to teach her daughter about life, and is even passing along the tradition of travel. Pond has taken many trips with Joshua and Adriana, and this summer Pond plans to take her daughter to New York for a dance convention.
The trip of her lifetime is far from over.