My Mother was in very similar situations during my childhood as my Father was frequently away on business. I think I learned from her to steele myself. My Mother is tiny in height and frame. I have never heard her speak ill of another human nor have I ever heard her utter profanities...even when the dining room window slammed down on her finger and trapped it while I stood by like a chicken with my head cut off freaking the F out. She is beautiful, both inside and out and has weathered storms far beyond what I have had to endure and has come out on the other side, stronger, the victor.
I don't know if that strength, that resolve, is inherent or learned; forged, if you will over the course of time and circumstance. If I had to say, I would pick the latter. Because after years of watching this tiny woman with character of gargantuan proportions, I did what I had observed her do so many times. I steeled my will and resolved to BE OK. I can make no bones about it though, my Faith, her faith, were the compass that guided us through the storms, the anchor that kept us from getting lost.
So there I was, fifty pounds overweight, Husbandless, and with a baby for the first time in my life. I sucked it up and said, can I do this? YES I CAN! And I did so many things I may have never attempted if my Husband were there: Put together an exersaucer, work out for two hours a day, take out the trash. And in the end, when the sky parted and the sun shone again, and that storm was over, I was stronger, more independent. And while I love having my Husband here to take out the trash- one of his MANY skills- I don't NEED him to. If he had never gone, I don't think I would have learned that.
When we first moved here, it had been several years since I had lived in a large, urban area and never with children. I was admittedly overwhelmed and scared at times. The metro, the bus? By myself? Could I do it? YES I COULD! And so I swallowed my fear, dove in, asked people along the way for help. Because in one of life's great metaphors, if you get lost, despite what most men think, it IS OK to stop and ask for directions.
I have two daughters. I spend a lot of time thinking about what that means for me as a Mother. Raising two Daughters in our world. In a society that places unparalleled pressure on women to look and be a certain way. For now, I am the model for behavior that they will emulate and that is no light thing. I take my job very seriously. Just as I watched and now only hope to be a smidgen like my own Mother, they will (fingers crossed) do the same. The rest is up to Providence.
So when I recently booked a bus ticket for myself to visit my friend in New York, it could have been a daunting thing. But I knew that I could do it. And, more importantly, it was an opportunity to show Elsbeth that there is NOTHING we can't do. I had a plan, it was well thought out, everything else, our safety, all the details, I thankfully gave to my friend in Heaven.
And early on a Friday morning I drove to the metro, put Ari in the Baby Hawk, Ellie in the stroller, with one hand pushed the stroller and with the other hand pulled a suitcase and got on the train. People helped me every step of the way. The kindness of strangers is a beautiful thing. We made it to our stop and managed to meander through the crowd on their way to work, find two elevators, and then walk two blocks to the parking lot where the bus was waiting.
Because of some train issues, I had been delayed about 15 minutes and when I walked up to the bus stop, they were making their last call for our bus. We had JUST made it. And so, once again with the help of kind strangers, we managed to get our things loaded and got a seat on the top deck of the double decker bus.
This post was initially just going be about my trip to New York, but when I sat down to type it, as often happens lately, the bigger picture began to emerge. Yes, I took a trip. Which I WILL talk about at length soon. But more than that, I hope that in my resolve to accomplish whatever I set my mind to, I taught my Daughters that while the World may at times be a big, scary place; while circumstances may appear as though they are going to swallow us up whole and spit out our bones, there is never anything to fear. I hope that they learn not to be paralyzed by fear, not to NOT act because of fear. Go forth boldly, and succeed, or fail trying.
That being said, will you ever see me jumping out of an airplane? NO, because well, that's just plain dumb.