Clearly some of our struggles are the same.....like procrastination. I'm blogging right now instead of studying. But our major struggle is very different and I didn't really realize it until I started studying for the bar exam.
As I entered the phase of full time studying for the bar, I asked all of my friends and family for two things. Leave me the hell alone and send me motivational e-cards, quotes, and pictures. My mom has done more than send me e-cards. Mom has sent me some care packages that have brought me to tears. The first package she sent contained a little desk flip calendar. The title of the calendar is "You're Made For A God-Sized Dream." This package arrived on a day when I was so down in the dumps about studying. I knew the kind of ground I should be covering, and I wasn't anywhere even close. I was feeling like I couldn't do it, and memories of having failed this before where haunting my every thought. I was trying to hold on to WHY I am doing this to myself again, but I was struggling. My dream seemed so far away and I was loosing hope. But my mom, with all of her infinite wisdom and perfect timing, and greatly led by God's hand, knew what to send me and when to send it. And day by day it has been a blessing, a quiet reminder on the corner of my desk about why I am doing this.
Today's post seemed particularly pointed at me.
It reminds me that God chose me for this task for a reason. There is no Plan B. This is just it. And that speaks to me. It calls me to stand back up and keep fighting. And that I have to be the one to get up and do the fighting.
My mom has also been a faithful sender of motivational e-cards as well, but I noticed a consistent message in hers that I completely agree with but I can honestly say they don't really apply to me as much as I want them too. I certainly don't mind; just the fact that she sends them shows me her love and that she's thinking of me and believes in me. But as often happens with love, we give what we actually need ourselves and I noticed this in the message of my mom's e-cards.
My mom's e-cards roughly sum up to "Tell me I can't, and I'll prove you wrong." I can totally get behind that message. Probably for most of my life, I have used that kind of "me-against-them" energy to fuel my fire. I'm a little Scrappy Doo, I've always held onto that underdog mentality. I really loving having someone to fight. I love to have a target. But the other day, when I got one of those cards from her, I realized that that no longer exists in my life. Over the past year I have purged my world of negative energy and negative people. So when I read messages like that, I can't harness that mentality because in reality, I am surrounded by nothing but people who believe I can do anything.
My only enemy is myself.
But I realize that isn't the case for my mom. She probably can still really get behind that message because for most of her life, she didn't receive the support she deserved. I'm not sure where the line is here on what all is ok to say or what isn't, but I'm just gonna say it anyways. I doubt any of our family reads my blog, but on the off chance they do, maybe they need this reality check, and to know what I really think of them.
My mom is the youngest of four siblings. The youngest by a LONG shot and the home she grew up in was very different from that of her brother and sisters. My mom's youth was in a dark place in our family's history. A phase which eventually passed and was followed by a great period of rebuilding and love. But the fact remains that Mom was pretty much on her own, with very little guidance and very little support. And of course she made mistakes, had to learn a lot of things the very hard way, but she never gave up. But I think that some members of our family never let my mom live down the mistakes of her early years.
For example, my mom never graduated from high school....she had me instead. And then she worked hard and she climbed the ladder and eventually found her self in a pretty successful position with out anyone's help. But to some people in our family, that didn't really matter...I mean what could she possibly know? She didn't even graduate from high school.
I have a B.A. in English Literature from a major accredited four year university and my mom is still better-read than I am.
But the sheer magnitude of her accomplishments didn't matter to some people. Never mind that she was a completely self taught and bright woman with a good business head on her shoulders....she still never graduated from high school. So when I was in high school, my mom studied on her own and took and passed the exam to get her GED. In case that is un-impressive to you let me put that in perspective....
After being out of school for almost 20 years, my mom TAUGHT HERSELF ALGEBRA and passed her exams with flying colors.
When was the last time you did any math at all (without a calculator) above multiplication or division and were successful?
But still that wasn't enough for some in our family, I think.
My mom has always known God was there, looking out for her and looking out for her girls. Maybe she didn't always know how to study His word, but she always had faith that He was there and that He had a plan. I remember when I was in high school is when my mom really had the time and the ability to really sit down and get into His word and and to study. And her relationship with Him grew by leaps and bounds.
Some people in our family don't believe. Or maybe they do, I have no idea. It's never my place to speculate on the state of someone else's salvation. But there are some people in my family who are caught up in some vicious cycles of bad decision making leading to bad results, leading to more bad decisions and down and down it goes. And when they would call and talk to my mom about it, my mom would try to offer them truth as it has been revealed to her in her own walk with God. She would try to offer the answers that God had given to her own questions on the same subjects. And they threw it back in her face. After all, what could she possibly know, I mean look at all the mistakes she had made. They completely missed the point. Out of pride, out of a hardened heart, I don't know.
And sprinkle that same theme through out her entire life. Events just like that. Even now, she faces nay-sayers. Some of them are important to her, some less so. But she still has to deal with someone telling her in one way or another she can't do this or that. Maybe she doesn't really know what she's doing... This is never going to work...
I personally would just like to punch all of those people in the face and offer them a giant #^@% %@^....but that's not my point here.
I can look at what I know of my mom's history (or at least my limited perspective on it) and see the difference. Most of her life she has been told she can't do that. She shouldn't be able to do that. Who does she think she is, daring to rise above difficult circumstances? But that's what makes my mom GREAT. She never gave up even when she felt like the whole world was stacked against her.
And because she fought against the odds like that, she ensured that my struggle would not be the same. I almost wish I had the world stacked against me because that would give me a target, someone to fight against. And I know how to fight against other people (why do you think I went to law school?). But I don't. I have all the world telling me that I can and the only person I have to fight against to achieve great things....is myself.
And in this struggle my mom supports me too. The next care package she sent me was equally amazing. She sent me a pocket knife. That might seem strange, but being horse people, and Texans, we know the value of a good pocket knife. She got my sister one too and had our nick names inscribed on it. Also, since we share the same need to make lists, she sent me a little note pad. On the first page she wrote me a note saying "You got this!"
My mom and I are both going through some major changes in our lives. We are both on the cusp of achieving great things on the next level. I am so glad we are doing this together though. Even though our struggles are not the same, I can't imagine having to do this without her.
Words of advice from a 27 year old who clearly has it all figured out....if you don't have a good relationship with your mom - repair it...Immediately. If you do, reach out to her as often as you can. And if your mom is already gone, honor her by passing on the lessons and wisdom she gave you to your daughters.