BRECKENRIDGE – Megan Custy doesn’t go about things like other people.She ran off to Alaska with a man she’d known for six months – much to her parents’ chagrin.She eloped with the same man, only notifying her parents the day before.And she home-birthed both her daughters, the youngest in a water-birth procedure in a 150-gallon tub.She related those tales and others as she gently rocked her baby Juniper, who was tucked deep in a sling on her lap, and daughter Maislinn playing with the black Labrador, Chloe, at her feet.Custy was born and raised on the Front Range and attended Metro State University with the intention of majoring in environmental studies.”I care about the world,” she said with a smile. “I wanted to save it.”
But she wasn’t as enthusiastic about attending classes.Her fate was sealed when one day, while riding her bike, a man passed her on the trail. A little later, he passed her again. And again. And he was waiting at the entrance to the park when she left.”Waiting for her …” Maislinn said teasingly.The man – James Lee – worked in the environmental cleanup industry in Alaska, removing asbestos from old buildings and making enough money to take the winters off. The two hit it off, and when he asked her to accompany him to Alaska that spring, she jumped at the idea.”My parents were not very thrilled,” she said. “It was too far away. They asked, ‘What will you do when you get there?’ I said, I don’t know, maybe I’ll see it, maybe get a job, maybe come back. I don’t know.'”She fell in love upon her arrival, taking advantage of the 24-hourlong sunlit summer days.She and James decided to wed one day – and gave her parents one day’s notice.
“I was never into dressing up, I never went to prom, didn’t go to homecoming,” she said. “I don’t like having my picture taken.”Their first daughter was born in Alaska, and the three returned to Colorado in 1997 to be closer to her family.”Sometimes I regret it,” Custy said. “It’s a really neat place to live. I’d like to go back some day. I liked the people. It’s a little like here, where a lot of people don’t have family so your friends become your family.”Once in Colorado, their love of snowboarding brought them to Summit County.”We spent a lot of time driving,” she said. “And James started a graphic design business that he could work from home, so we thought, ‘Could we live there? Let’s try it.’ So we did. It’s been working for us.”Juniper’s birth in May is among her favorite stories of life in the High Country. They planned to have a home birth, but the midwife had to drive from the Front Range and wanted to be sure Custy was truly in labor before she hit the road.”About 20 minutes later, I thought, ‘This is it.’ We were getting nervous.” James talked to the midwife as she drove through Georgetown and he boiled water to fill the giant tub. He called her again while she was in Silverthorne; the birth was happening fast.
And then it was over; the midwife arrived 15 minutes later.Although Custy spends her days with her girls, she still enjoys hiking, snowboarding, camping, ultimate Frisbee and rock climbing. And she’d like to start a La Leche group – a support group for nursing mothers – in the future.”Parents need outside support,” she said. “No one has families here.”She likes that isolation, however, and sometimes wonders if even Breckenridge is getting too big.”I didn’t want to leave – it’s just beautiful,” she said of Alaska. “Maybe I can twist James’ arm some day.”Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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