From one strong woman to another

Dear J,

I know that life is hurting right now. Every waking breath you take hurts. You hurt for what you have lost, for what you will never have. For the dreams that you held and then watched slip away from you because of someone else’s decision.

You feel out of control, like you can’t put the pieces back together. That maybe you were meant to be stuck where you are right now, because that’s where he put you with his choice.

That you can’t go back and you aren’t strong enough to move forward.

But you are and you will.

He left, true. But he left because of a deficit in him. Whether it was a restless soul, a lack of being able to commit, a want for something that he didn’t think that he had where he was.

But, the bottom line here is that he left because of a fault of his. Because he couldn’t hack it where he was and he decided to leave.

I know that you loved him and that your future seems so dull without him. I know that it hurts you when you wake up in that bed and realize that he is not lying there beside you. I know that it feels weird to do things around your house with no expectations thrust upon you by another person.

All of those things make you feel lost. All of those things, maybe, make you feel weak because you wonder what he would think about the new curtains that you hung, or the dust catcher that you bought.

I understand. I understand all of what you are feeling and what you are going through. I know how hard it is to stand on your own without that idea, that feeling, of someone being there at your back. I get it. It makes you think that you aren’t strong enough to stand on your own.

But you are.

You are strong enough. You can stand on your own.

Look at you! You’re already doing it. You’re doing it and didn’t even realize that you are.

He left and you didn’t fall down in a ball on the ground and die. You lived! You chose to live without him. You chose to have a life that didn’t include him. You are strong.

You are strong enough to get up every day. You are strong enough to do the things that need to be done: go to work, shop for groceries, do the laundry, take a shower, shave your legs (never underestimate the power of a smoothly shaven leg. They do wonders!).

You are strong enough that you make plans with your friends for the future. You are strong enough that you plan a menu for the month, to start shopping for Christmas gifts in June, what you want to do for your summer vacation.

You are strong enough that you are looking to YOUR future. Where you want to go, what road you want to take, things that you want to experience.

And here’s the cool thing about that: THE SKY’S THE LIMIT! You don’t have to wait for anyone or anything to do these things with you. You can do them on your own.

You can take those cooking classes you’ve always wanted to take, the dance classes you thought would be cool, the water aerobics class that you’ve been eyeing for months.

You can do all of these things. Why?

Because you are strong.

Strength is not about being bold and flashy. That kind of strength is fleeting, forgotten as quickly as it came.

Your kind of strength is the strength that moves mountains. It is quiet, fluid. Like water, it may not work quickly, but it is powerful, carving valleys out of solid rock. Your strength is the kind of strength that everyone wishes they had because it will carry you through all of your days. It will flag, sometimes, this is true. But it will come back, stronger than ever.

Nothing can hold you back. You are a force to be reckoned with.

Keep getting up, going to work, doing laundry, shaving your legs. Keep doing these small things. They are the foundation upon which your strength will stand and assert itself. Sometimes when you least expect it to.

That quiet strength will take you through the rest of your life, with no room to look backwards because your future is taking all of your energy and concentration.

You are strong. You inspire me, and everyone around you, with your strength.

Don’t ever doubt it.

Sincerely,

Miss Independent (formerly The Forgotten Wife)

PS: Demi Lovato has a great song called “Skyscraper” that I think pretty much sums it up. And with a much prettier singing voice than I could ever have. I’ve included it here for you. I hope you like it and that it helps strengthen your resolve. Listen to the words. You are a skyscraper. Don’t forget it!

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Belated Mother’s Day

Well, I’m a horrid daughter. My mother’s Mother’s Day gift is still in my house waiting to be mailed.  However, if I ever mailed anything to either of my parents and it got there on time, they’d probably pass out.

See, I’m doing them a public service by not having it there on time.  🙂

Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So, I thought I would offer this as a peace offering to her and a chance to tell you all about my wonderful mother.

I am extremely lucky to have my Mom.  I was adopted by my parents and I couldn’t have been placed with a better couple to guide me in my formative years and give me support when I’m fully grown.

My Mom would tell you that she is timid.  She tells me that she is awe of some of the things that I’ve done, that she would never do those things.  But, I have to tell you, I don’t know anyone braver and stronger than my Mother.

She met my dad at a drive-up restaurant in a little town in West Texas while he was in pilot training.  They fell in love and she graduated high school a semester early to marry my dad while he was recovering from a broken wrist (can’t fly with a broken wrist!).  When she was just 18, she left her family in the States and moved with my father to overseas. 

It’s one thing to marry your husband and move to a different state, but she moved to a whole other country!

She dealt with having her wisdom teeth pulled over there (which was an ordeal), large insects and geckos in her house,  and a culture that she wasn’t familiar with.  She also dealt with kissing my father before sending him off on missions in Vietnam, knowing that she might be the wife that got the knock on the door telling her that he would not be coming home.  She took herself in a car (driving in a foreign country is no joke) to the commissary to grocery shop, though it was guaranteed that there would be locals there protesting the Americans being in their country.  Mom supported Dad just by being there.  That is one of the bravest things any wife can do.

She is one is one of the smartest people I know.  In fact, I was very resentful of that fact when I was in high school. I was a less than stellar student and my mother got her lowest grade (an A-) in Advanced Latin in high school.  Yeah, big shoes to fill!  She went back to college when I was in high school and graduated with her Associate Degree all while being there for everything – every track meet, soccer game, after school activity, etc.

Mom wasn’t a “helicopter mother,” but she insisted on being involved in our lives.  If I ever had any questions, I could ask her.  She would guide without giving outright answers, a very fine line to walk.  Her guidance has served me well as I have grown older.

She has always given her unconditional support.  Now, that’s not to say that she won’t tell me that I did something wrong.  She doesn’t have any perfect children (there are 3 of us).  She will call us out if we have made a mistake or will offer a cautious word of advice.  Mom was not that woman that thought her children could do no wrong and she made sure that we understood the definition of “logical consequences,” usually through an appropriate punishment.

Mom supported my decision to become a cheerleader my senior year, supported my decision to not go to college right away, my decision to join the military, my decision to get married the first time (though she didn’t agree with it).  She has been my bedrock through all of the issues that I have had related to this divorce and has supported me through all of the crap that I have been through since last July.  She has been amazing.

Empathy is a word that I came to understand through my mother’s words and actions.  She also taught me how to be sympathetic to a person’s issue or problems.  She taught me that honey catches more flies than vinegar (a fact that I sometimes forget).  She also taught me that when I have a fight that I need to fight to go for it, but to remember to be tactful and hold onto my temper (advice that I haven’t always followed).

It was Mom that gave me my love of reading.  She opened up doors to so many things through her love of books.  She also gave me my love of movies and, through a class she took in college, an appreciation of the artistry that goes into a movie.  Again, she gave me the ability to not only lose myself in a movie, but an appreciation for what I was looking at.  It was Mom that introduced me to “Citizen Kane,” and “Singing in the Rain,” and I can’t thank her enough for that.

As the years have passed, my mother has become my best friend.  We talk about all kinds of things and I love that I can use her as a sounding board when I need to.  She always has time for me, even when she doesn’t have the time.  I haven’t been talking to her as much as I should these past few months, mostly because I like to give her my complete attention and time is a precious commodity in my life lately.  I don’t want her to feel shorted because I have to be running before we even get a chance to talk.  I love to talk to her and I love to hear what she says about anything and everything.

I always said that when I grew up I wanted to be an astronaut or a teacher or a lawyer.  I wanted to change the world.

But as I got older, and actually became a grown up, I realized that the astronaut/teacher/lawyer dreams were what I wanted to do for a job.

What I really wanted to be was just like my Mother.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you.