Life isn’t always easy. You find challenges around every corner. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that family helps to make it all possible—and makes every hardship worth it in the end.
Though I used to put gray hairs on my mom’s head when I was growing up in Castro Valley, she was still always there for me. Luckily, she also had help from my grandmother, Esther. Grandma was an amazing woman: always happy, helpful, and the picture of grace and dignity. She had married my grandfather at age eighteen, and though he passed away before I was even born, Grandma never remarried.
“Your grandpa was the only man for me,” she would say to me. And I would always tell her that I was going to have a love like that one day.
I found that love at age twenty-four, when I was working at a trucking company in Hayward. Randy was a dock supervisor, and I worked as a freight billing clerk. He had a way with people: he just knew how to read them and their personalities, and he treated them as equals, even though he was the boss.
We had both been in bad relationships before meeting, and that brought us even closer together. Randy and I started dating, and got married three years later, in 1993.
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to have children. But my body didn’t cooperate very well, and the added stress only made it more difficult.
Randy and I were preparing to take out a second mortgage on our home to be able to afford in vitro fertilization, which was not covered by insurance. We had loan papers sitting on the kitchen table three days before the doctor’s appointment, and it was on that day that I discovered I was already pregnant.
But it wasn’t going to be that simple. Colton was born at twenty-four weeks, and weighed just over a pound. I remember asking the doctor, “Has there ever been a baby born this early that has survived with no birth defects?” He told me it was possible, but incredibly unlikely.
“I’m getting my miracle,” I replied.
Colton spent four months in the NICU, and fought every day to live. I watched my son stop breathing more times than I can count. When we finally took him home, I would lie there with my hand on him just to make sure he was still breathing.
Without a properly developed immune system, Colton couldn’t be around other kids at first, so I wound up having to quit my job to stay at home with him. (That’s what prompted me to get my real estate license in the first place: so I could continue to work without being separated from my son!)
Despite his premature birth, Colton started walking at thirteen months. And by age two, we were having conversations so clear, you would think you were talking to a little adult. And though he was very shy and withdrawn, his kindergarten teachers helped that little adult to become a true child. Colton is a teenager now, and growing up too fast! He’s smart, sweet, funny, and still perfectly healthy. My baby boy really was a miracle.
Though I stopped going to school when Colton was born, I returned in 2010 to finish earning my degree in paralegal studies. I always wanted to go back, and I was even more motivated because I felt I should set an example for my son, so he knows to finish what he starts.
Randy has proven to be an amazing father, and works as a home inspector while I’m out and about with clients. We’ve built a life for our family at our home in Tracy, and I know firsthand just how important it is to find the perfect house or make the right move for your family.
I would love nothing more than to lend my knowledge and experience toward helping you with your real estate endeavors, but I don’t expect your business simply because of our relationship—I only ask that you take the time to interview me and see if I might be the best agent for you.
Buying or selling real estate is often an enormously important transaction, and the representation you receive from your agent can have significant impact on your results. I want you to pick the agent that’s the right fit for your particular needs. If that person ends up being me, I promise to work diligently to exceed your expectations.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about me. When you or someone you know is in need of a real estate agent, I hope you give me the opportunity to demonstrate my services and interview for the job.
Annie Dingman, REALTOR® & Broker Associate
Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist