I sometimes look around at my life, my husband, my kids and think how in the heck did I get so lucky? I don’t know the answer to this, all I do know is that the Lord works in mysterious ways and he knew what I needed long before I did. I’ve always known that I was blessed and was thankful for the life I have been given, but since I have stopped working due to my MS I am finding time to actually sit back and appreciate my life, my family and what is around me. I’m thankful for my MS because it has opened up possibilities for me that weren’t accessible because I was too busy working and just trying to keep my head above water. It’s been 13 years since my journey with Multiple Sclerosis started and I am excited to see what the next 13 years have in store for me.
I remember once when our girls were going through a particularly challenging time in their early years. They were fighting about every single thing, it was constant and our house was like a war zone. So, we decided that each Sunday, we would sit down and talk about what we liked or appreciated about each other. I’m telling you, it was like pulling teeth – snotty attitudes, full of sass. We got answers such as; “I like that dress” – “I like your hair” – “I like that you weren’t at soccer practice today”, they couldn’t even pull something out of their ass to say nice to each other. You get what I’m saying? And it carried on for years, those girls fought nonstop as teenagers and I got to a point where I wasn’t sure if once they grew up that they would even acknowledge each other let alone be friends, I am happy to say that they are the best of buddies now. Our son was in a whole other category as he was considerably younger than the girls (6 & 8 years difference) and he was the cutest little guy that everyone catered to (he’s gonna kill me for that, but he was). For many years with the girls, I felt like I was in survival mode – I wanted them so badly to be friends but no matter what I did, it wasn’t happening until they were ready to become friends on their own terms. Looking back on it now, I think that maybe I tried to push them too hard and for that I am sorry. If I had just been able to let things unfold as they wanted to, it may have made things a little easier on them, but I was doing the best I knew how to do so there is no point in second guessing myself now.
Now of course, I wish that I handled things differently while they were growing up, much of the time I operated out of guilt or frustration and I wish I had the time or the wisdom to slow down and just admire them for the amazing human beings that they were, but it’s never too late and since I have been off work, I have had a lot of time to reevaluate my priorities and that includes looking at my children from a new and improved set of eyes. I see them from a place of compassion; compassion for the things they go through and knowing that they will come out the other side as stronger more confident adults. Faith – I have faith in them and their decisions even when they don’t have faith in themselves, I will always have faith in them and be their biggest cheerleader. Admiration – admiration for how they parent, how they survive day to day, admiration in how they keep going when odds seem stacked against them. And inspiration – they inspire me every day to listen more, be more present, to be strong and courageous. I love this time in my life where I can see these things instead of missing them because I was just trying to survive while doing the best I could to keep it all together. I realize that I’ve always seen these things, however seeing our children as adults now has amplified all of these amazing qualities. What I want them to know is; Kids, I see you now, more than ever and I am left with a wave of emotion and awe in all 3 of you. And I’m not sure that you know how I’ve always seen you, but my hope is that you can see yourselves through my eyes. You are the moms that I wish I was, you are the adventurous traveler that I wish I was, you are the compassionate level-headed adults that I wish I was at your ages.
My kids mean more to me than they will ever know and more than I will ever be able to explain to them. I value them in more ways than one and every day that passes, I am thankful that I get to live my life surrounded by them, even if they don’t live right next door and I don’t see them or even talk to them every day, I still feel surrounded and comforted by them. So, I want to take this post to tell you all about the qualities that I see in them. My hope is that you can then see them through my eyes too.
J is my first born. She was always very black and white as a child, teen and even as a young adult. There were no gray areas where she was concerned, however the last 10 years have softened her somewhat and taught her that there are indeed gray areas, and sometimes you just need to roll with the punches. Life doesn’t always happen how you plan it. How I see you J is that you are Compassionate, Balanced, Creative, Gracious, Focused, Confident, Optimistic, Energetic (and that should be done in all caps, cuz the Energizer Bunny has nothing on you), Patient, Positive, Decisive, Logical, Meticulous and Organized. You inspire me daily – You are the person who always powers through because you have the courage and tenacity to keep moving forward, even when its hard and the cards are stacked against you. Confidence radiates off you but never in an arrogant way. You carry yourself with your head held high and when someone tries to hurt you with their harsh words or belittles you, you find a way to stick to your guns and find a way to let it roll off your back, even though I know it hurts you deeply. Happiness isn’t negotiable for you, you do your best to find it under any circumstance. Your smile and generosity help to heal others. I ran across this quote (but I couldn’t find who said it) – The compassion of one eases the suffering of many. That is you in a nutshell. But Buddha describes you best when he says If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path. Thank you for lighting my path.
Miss C, my beautiful wild and free daughter. You have always lived your life with your heart on your sleeve, which has meant that you have left yourself open and vulnerable to heartbreak, but it never stopped your spirit to love. You are Courageous, Loving, Intuitive, Forgiving, Tolerant, Patient, Adaptable, Kind, Passionate, Resourceful, Sentimental, Dedicated, Caring and Empathetic, to name a few. You have taught me resilience and remind me that even though I have hard days and difficulties with my disease, I can get up again and get back on the saddle tomorrow. Every day I wish that I could show you and make you feel just how loved you are. You have taught me that despite our circumstances, our upsets and our successes, we can continue. You have taught me that in the face of despair and heartbreak, we can pick up the pieces and keep going – no matter how impossible it seems. You exude strength in any situation that you are faced with. You are one of the strongest women I know. You love people so fiercely. I don’t know how you have unconditional love for everyone you know, but you do. Every relationship that you have you cherish and hold tight to you. You have a heart of gold, it leaves a trail of love behind and leaves marks on the people you’ve met and who are lucky to get to spend time with you. In dark times, you carry a sense of hope that is so beautiful. Hope that the future will be better. Hope for the people you love. Hope for yourself. Thank you for giving me hope. When I think of you, I think of what Atticus says: What good are wings without the courage to fly? You have touched lives, healed hearts, and offered hope to many simply by shining your light on those around you, not just my life, but many lives and people are better off because they have you in their lives. Thank you for giving me courage.
Last but certainly not least; Mister C. When you came into our lives, we knew right away that you were an old soul. Now you are older, and what an amazing person you’ve become! You are Insightful, Determined, Honest, Persistent, Committed, Adventurous, Articulate, Practical, Observant, Charismatic, Perceptive, Persuasive, Authentic, Dependable, Strong and Wise (beyond your years). You work harder than anyone I know. You put your best effort towards everything in life, you make me so proud. You are living life on your own terms, not living someone else’s ideas or thoughts of who you should be or what you should be doing. The way you stand up for yourself and others shows you have courage. You have never been known for backing down from a challenge and I admire you for that, which I’m sure I’ve never told you. You have always been kind and respectful to people and you hate it when you see people being treated poorly or saying hurtful things. I have never met someone that from a very young age related so well to people of all ages. When other people really need your help, you give it … without having to be asked. You are focused, you always know what you want, and will work as hard as you need to, to reach the goals you set for yourself. There are two quotes that remind me of you – A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men -Thomas Carlyle. And Love the life you live, live the life you love by Bob Marley. Thank you for inspiring me.
And to top it off, all of them have a good sense of humor, an amazing work ethic, they are conscientious, considerate, independent, protective and respectful. I need to thank their dad for most of these traits, because I know the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. Thank you for shaping these children of ours into the amazing people they have become.
You are the people who inspire and amaze me. You are the people who keep me grounded
Maybe I would have eventually found the time to put into words what my family means to me while I was still working, but I’m not 100% confident about that, so again I need to humbly acknowledge and show my appreciation of my diagnosis of MS and the silver linings that it continues to give me.
What traits do you admire in the people you love?