For the last month or so I have tried to find the adequate words to write about this year. I have thought of how to properly encapsulate the year with the perfect words and the fact is there truly are none. 2022 challenged me in a very emotional way. So much happened beyond the realm of what people see, and truthfully, I am still processing parts of it. However, in reflecting on everything this year brought me, I find that perhaps the best way to express what I learned is by telling you a little about my mother. Yes, my momma.
Now that I am in my early 40s I find myself understanding and often reiterating words my mother once told me. At times I give advice and as I speak I catch myself in utter dismay as I realize those words being uttered are the same ones my mother told me decades ago. I go around saying: “I sound just like my mother,” but in a way I am truly proud of. Because although you may not realize it now, you get to this point in life when your parents become your ultimate heroes. Your stories become intertwined as you face the challenges and heart crushing disappointments in life they have faced and you suddenly come to this realization where you say: “I get it mom (or dad).” And as you try to navigate through these moments, all the puzzle pieces fall into place and you see them in a completely different light. You are in awe of how they did it- and often with such grace.
Growing up I remember several instances when I realized how amazing my mom was as a woman. But it was those life shattering events which could have crushed her where I saw her true strength. I saw her tears. I saw her pain. But more than anything, I saw her resilience. Those were defining moments in life that could have made her bitter but she chose to do better, to BE better. She used the pain others dealt her to find a way to better who she was as a mother, as a wife, as a human being, and dare I say, she masterfully excelled! She relied on her faith most of all, and that tenacious spirit of hers. It was in those moments she felt at her lowest, she was truly at her greatest. The greatest lesson she perhaps taught me came from observing those moments. As I sat on the sidelines looking in, I saw her tenacious spirit and refusal to give up. I saw her resilience. It is those days I now look back on and realize the remarkable woman I was raised by.
As I end this year, one that has challenged me down to the very end, I realize it has shown me more than ever how much of my mother I carry in me. Despite moments I thought would utterly crush me, they haven’t. The hardest moments have taught me the greatest lessons. The worst of times have made me realize how much of my mother I carry in me. Her biggest gift to me was seeing her unwavering faith and her refusal to let life’s challenges change who she inherently was. She didn’t become bitter, she became better. And as I reflect on the challenges and disappointments of this year, I cannot help but smile. I smile because I am my mother’s daughter.