(Left to right: my brother, my beautiful mother, me looking demonic, my handsome father, Christa looking deliriously happy, my oldest sister)
Normally our posts are centered on domestic abuse and what signs to look out for. But today, we are going to take a brief break in honor of Mother’s Day.
I have always grown up with a deep respect for the strength of the female spirit. I guess that came with the territory of being in a household made up of predominantly women. Yet, I never truly realized how strong my mother was until I grew up to understand all the tribulations of adulthood. I am not yet a mother, myself, but I am surrounded by them. I witness all the little and big sacrifices that they make. And I have come to understand all the hardships my mother faced taking care of four kids on a low income. My father had his own business and at times it was extremely stressful. Through it all, my mother worked practically full time and at the end of a hard day would come home to continue her other job . . . cleaning and cooking and making sure we brushed our teeth and bathed. Even our parakeet would mimic her commands, “Go brush your teeth!” In the midst of all that stress, of being the only one to earn a consistent income (don’t get me wrong, my dad’s business still made money but it was feast or famine), the only one to cook and clean and take care of the kids, she never once raised her voice to us in anger. Even when we raided her sewing kit after she specifically told us not to. Even when we played dress-up in her clothes in the attic. Even when we chased each other through the house with water guns. Or that time we turned her dining room into a safari, with tents made out of our sheets.
The most important thing, though, is that she taught her daughters to respect themselves. She always harped on us to go to college and get a degree before we married. Of course, sometimes life happens and our plans change, but she was there to support us. Despite a low income, she still managed to save for piano lessons for me and my sisters. Despite her day job, she still managed to sew clothes for us. Despite all of this time spent taking care of everyone else, she managed to find time to write books and paint. She is the reason I got into writing and editing. She is the reason I got out of my abusive relationship. She was there to help me rebuild myself after he had completely torn down my self-esteem. I sometimes wonder, if my mother had not been there to help me through that time, would I have left? If I had not had her support and care and a place to fall back on, would I have stayed because I had nowhere else to go? Hopefully, I would have eventually reached out to organizations like ALIVE or Safe Connections. I don’t think I really knew about such organizations until I started writing this blog with my sister. But then again, I didn’t have a reason to try and find out about such organizations because my mother was there to help me through it.
So today, I would like to thank my mother for her indomitable strength and influence. For always being there to support my dreams and guide my future. For believing in me when my own faith in my abilities was shaken. And for loving me despite my many flaws. Thank you for passing on that strength and wisdom to me. For reading my crappy starter novels and saying they were great anyway. For loving my sloppy scribbles and encouraging me to continue drawing. For listening to me practice hours and hours of mundane beginner piano and making me feel like Mozart. For always lifting me up and helping me realize what real love is. Thank you.