Leadership starts from the roots-
in our homes, schools and communities.
When we moved far away from my grandparents, I was so angry as my grandparents were my world!
We moved next door to a man who had two daughters my age.
As I slowly began to build what is now a 30+ year friendship with them, I will always be grateful for that first dinner invitation. Albeit, I wasn’t thrilled when Dad said we were having pea soup on toast.
I thought he serious!
He welcomed me into their home- invited me to every very large family gathering- they became family. I babysat the younger cousins. He took me on vacation with the girls and grounded me too when we did wrong(which rarely happened of course- 😉
He hugged me and didn’t hurt me.
He came to my high school and college graduation. He let me move in with them for a time when I needed a place to stay- he teased me and gleamed with pride when I got married.
He laughed with me and the girls and was at the hospital when I gave birth to my children.
He gleefully packed Christmas presents in cardboard tube containers with TONS of tape!!!
All the things a Father, a Dad, a Man does for his children…
Although I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like, every year on this day he is especially on my mind, in my heart daily and always in my prayers.
His presence in my life has meant more than he will ever know.
Happy Father’s Day to all who wear the Dad shoes.
“This too shall pass…”
I hear my Momma say. Throughout my lifetime, I have heard the sweet, gentle voice of my Mother imparting her wise words to so many in the darkest of times and in moments where life couldn’t get any better. And while these words are not of her own creation, they are to me and to all who’ve been blessed with her sage advice over the years. It is a reminder that the hard times will pass(sometimes painfully like a kidney stone as she often jokes) and that we must carry on. It is a reminder that pure happiness is often discovered in the briefest of moments and that we should embrace this bliss while we can.
As a teen, I would simply dismiss these words of truth- “She doesn’t understand.” Oh but she does. She was a single Mother of three and worked two jobs to make ends meet. She lost a daughter to cancer a few years back and carried on- as a registered nurse, she helped to deliver one of her grandchildren and held hands with patients as they took their last breath embracing the beauty and sadness of it all. She whispered, “this too shall pass” on my wedding day and again during my divorce. With a teenage daughter of my own now, helping to guide and let her create her own path, I speak my Mother’s words…
My selfless and loving Momma is 85 years old today. She still works as a part-time RN nurse and only recently retired from full-time shifts. She sits along the river bank fishing with my children – knowing- “this too shall pass.”
The difficult times and the good times will always pass; embrace them both and know that each will teach you.
What words of wisdom do you hear from a loved one?
With recent MRI results coming back on my son, we were disappointed to say the least. It takes a few days to process the possibility of him having brain surgery for the second time. What he and I won’t do however, is sit around and feel sorry for ourselves and do nothing. We have come to understand that there are certain characteristics that most or all mentally strong people utilize when hard times fall their way.
It is often in the worst of times that we discover the scars we have endured are our strengths| the miles we’ve run are our determination to never quit| the difficult situations we face are opportunities to find the positives| and walking through our fears is how we develop the courage to carry on~
In Steven Pressfield’s book the Gates of Fire, he tells the story of how the Spartan King Leonidas selected the 300 hundred Spartan men who were chosen to fight the enemy at the Battle of Thermopylae.
“The King didn’t pick his 300 champions for their warrior prowess… he picked them instead for the courage of their women…for the strength of their wives and mothers to bear up under their loss”
Leonidas knew that death at Thermopylae was inevitable. So why then, would he send his men into die knowing their fate? He understood that Sparta would face other battles and if it were to remain standing, it would be because the wives and mothers would hold Sparta up on their shoulders and not give way to despair as this would mean death to all of Greece.
“The Spartan women did not break nor give way.”
A year later, the Greek fleet was able to hold back the Persians at Salamis and Plataea hence ensuring the survival of the West because of their women.
And it remains true today, that the survival of our families, communities and culture in large part is due to ‘tough mothers’ and wives and daughters. I give my love and all my thanks to the selfless woman who adopted me and raised three children on her own a Tough Mother award.
May we be one or may we know one. Happy Mothers Day!
“Mom, how big is your brave?”
These were the only words my ten year old son muttered to me on the long drive home from his neurology appointment on April 20th in 2015. As my heart sank into the pit of my stomach, and with a crackling voice, I responded, “As big as you need it to be, Honey.” He turned his head back towards the passenger window and closed his eyes.
After almost a year of numbness, tingling in arms and hands, multiple syncope episodes and other symptoms, ER visits, a wrong diagnosis, countless medical tests, and appointments, he was finally diagnosed with a rare brain disorder called Chiari Malformation(and Syringomyelia); a condition that causes part of the brain to protrude into the spinal canal causing csf blockage, nerve damage and paralysis if left untreated.
How could this be? My son! The sweet, kind-hearted, fun-loving gentle soul. After talking with the neurologist about what was going on and options for treating it, my son finally forced the bottom line… “So what you are saying is that I need to have brain surgery, right?” “Yes, that’s right” replied the doctor.
How does a parent prepare their child for this? How do they steel themselves to such a medical condition?
The first week after we discovered what was the root of his medical issues, I was an emotional wreck. 6-the number of hours of sleep I got that week while my happy-go-lucky boy carried on with his days and normal curious nature; his nights filled with baseball practice, homework, and games. At the end of that week of extensive internet research, reading, multiple phone calls and medical opinions; I finally decided to check my emotions at the door and put on my Super Mommy cape and BE what my son needed me to be; strong, positive, and supportive.
Two nights before his surgery as I tucked him into bed and with tears in his eyes, he quietly asked me, “Mom, am I going to die?” The only thing I could manage to get out of my mouth was, “No, and no matter what, I will be right there every step of the way.”
A month and a half after his initial diagnosis, my courageous son was wheeled into brain surgery. On his second day post-op, the physical therapists were astounded at how motivated he was to get up and moving about the halls. They obviously didn’t know my son as he rarely stops moving!With months of physical therapy, side effects of necessary medication, heavy restrictions on physical activities and getting back to “normal” life, I was reminded of just how resilient kids are. While he continues to recover and understands that life has to be lived a bit different than before, my hope is that he will embrace his scars as evidence of his strength, courage and inspiration for so many.
When starting back to school now as a middle schooler, he was a bit apprehensive as to how he would be received by the other kids when they saw his scar. Upon entering his first period class, the teacher prompted the students with the question, “So what did you do this summer?” As any courageous lion would, he quickly stormed in and replied “I had brain surgery!” I’m pretty confident that topped all.
“Life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us”
Though the ride on this journey has been a bumpy one for sure, we are beyond grateful for the gifted hands of his amazing neurosurgeon and so many extraordinary strangers who also live our story and to whom we now call friends.
When life taps you on the shoulder in those crucial moments – be sure to pay attention and ask yourself, “Did I allow this experience to make me bitter or use it to make me better?”
A Blessed Mom