Today's post comes from my sister. When I began mom's week a few days ago, Terri had put in the comments, "can I piggyback that??" and we emailed back and forth and came up with the idea of her being a guest on my blog today.
And so the week went, I was my witty self, remembering silly stories here and there...and last evening my sister's entry came to me in the form of a word doc. As I sat down and read it I had a few thoughts. 1) wow....you can write too! 2) I wholeheartedly agree 3) Get your own blog, I want to read more and 4) how am I going to follow that????
So here it is, from my sister
My mom is strong.
No, she doesn’t lift weights. Not that I know of anyway… Do you lift weights, mom? Haha, didn’t think so. That’s okay, I still love you -- jiggly arms and all.
Strong-willed is what I mean. Strength of spirit.
You see, growing up we had what, in my mind, was the perfect family. Dad, mom, kids, dog, big house with a great yard. Sandbox, wonderful neighborhood, interesting neighbors. Good friends, close relatives, family dinners, regular bedtimes. The works. We had it.
And then somewhere, over the course of many years I’d imagine, something happened in my parents’ marriage. I suppose it unraveled as many unfortunately do nowadays. And our family and lives as we knew them were sent into a tailspin. I always say that nobody gets married expecting things not to work out. But I also believe that some are certainly aware of the possibility, given statistics nowadays. We’re always reminded of the divorce rate. I’m constantly encountering moms and dads exchanging kids and suitcases in the corner McDonalds on a Friday night. It’s kind of sad, really. But it happens. And couples do their best, hopefully, to make an amicable arrangement for the kids’ sake.
Well, I’d place a wager that my mom never even thought that there was a possibility of our family breaking apart. Not a chance. Not a concern. Would never happen to us.
And yet it did. And out of nowhere, suddenly, amidst raising five children who spanned 16 years in age, she had to immediately become a single working mom. No planning, no preparation, no college degree to fall back on. Just dive in and make it happen, and you’d better do it right because there’s no turning back. No pressure, right?
Now I’m wise enough to understand that decisions and events like this involve both people equally. But I know and fully believe that my mom did what she felt in her heart was best at the time. I cannot imagine how grueling it was, to come to that decision given all of the factors involved. But she did. Because she felt it was right. And that takes strength. Because the journey that now lay ahead of her was not going to be an easy one.
And so from that point forward in her life, my mom reinvented herself. She had to make so many difficult decisions along the way, balancing what was right for her, her family, her children. And she forged ahead through incredible adversity, with her strength of spirit intact.
There was a time in my teenage years when I used to believe that all of my independent characteristics came from my father. My mom and I didn’t always get along during those years. We argued and fought a lot, as teenage girls and their mothers often do. And so in my anger, there was resentment.
But now that I’ve grown, and relaxed, and matured, and become wiser… I know that so much of my strength comes from her. Because she did it. She survived the storm. And through it all, she has become an incredible role model for me. Someone who is strong spirited, creative, thoughtful, sensitive, and optimistic. She finished the job of raising us all, and looking at my siblings I can say that she did a fine job. And that’s so much more than could have ever been expected.
Now make no mistake. I would imagine that she’s reading this thinking to herself that she wasn’t very strong at all. That she spent so many nights through so many years crying into her pillow. But there’s something beautiful in that for me. Even though there were times that it felt like things couldn’t get worse, tears were enough to fend off the fear for her and get up to make things happen again. Which she did, repeatedly, without fail. And we could depend on her. Because she never stopped being our mom.
So even though to this day we have our differences in opinion, our own independent spirits, I do believe that my mom did an amazing job in raising me. In raising us. And I thank you for that, mom. You are one strong woman.