Looking at my mother, you can’t tell by her smile or laugh that this woman has endure a lot in the years she has graced this earth. Growing up I always thought I had it hard, living in a low to middle class neighborhood, no father and considered a statistic. I always had a hard time accepting myself and suffered horribly from low self-esteem. I thought no one understood me not even my mother but I was wrong. It wasn’t until I was 18 that my mother sat me down and told me her story.
She grew up the eldest girl of 2 boys and 2 girls and although she had both parents it was far from a fairy tale. Having an alcoholic father it was like walking on egg shells everyday which made it hard on her family. My grandmother would have to physically fight every night with my grandfather and often my mother would get caught in the middle. One day my grandfather was about to hit my grandmother and my mother stepped in. She ended up with a black eye that day and was told that she would be nothing but a whore and mother to twenty kids and wouldn’t amount to anything. School for her was no better because she had to continuously fight because kids used to pick on her because of her short stature and a speech impediment. She told me of all the difficult things she had to face like moving out at 17 and being on her own to being diagnosed with lupus. To being widowed at the age of 33 she was left to raise 4 young ladies by herself, the things she went through in her life would be enough to give up but the integrity she had, she never relented. Even though she experienced a lot of horrible things in her life, she was still able to have a family and accomplish her goals. Always instilling me that nothing is impossible for God, she knows from experience that anything is possible.
I believe that by her sitting me down that day I understood how grateful I am. I was able to continue my education and not have to experience the kind of life she had. I understood the choices she made for us and how of a huge inspiration and role model she is to me. Her integrity was passed on to me and my sisters to know that this too shall pass. Everyday when I see her smile and laugh, I know I could have ended up worse but to know I had a mother looking out for me I’m glad we had that talk.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.