It is Sunday evening. The whole day seemed to be about rest and reflection for me. I decided that today I would let my poor body rest. We went to church, took the kids to Viddler's just so they could browse (we are always in a rush and they never get to just look around whenever we are out) & ate an early dinner. It was a nice family day. We bathed the kids early and all settled in to watch a movie together. I guess rest was something 3 out of 5 of us needed more than we knew. I, along with 2 of the children fell asleep during the movie! Usually, I can't sit still for a movie! When the movie was over it was time tuck the kids into bed (at least the older 2) and Jim and I were going to watch The Blind Side together.
Let me just say what a fantastic movie that was. I love movies that move, inspire and teach. They restore my faith in humanity. I cried from the start. And in the end, I learned something about myself.
Life was a bit challenging for me growing up. I am not sure that, to this day, anyone really knows to what extent. It doesn't matter today. As I grew older and more aware of the situation I was in, I wanted to escape it even more. By the time I reached high school, like any teen, I sought independence. I was seeking it for different reasons than most of my friends. I left home one night. I was supposed to be performing for an after school activity and I couldn't get a ride. So I walked. I knew that by the time I got there, it would be too late because it was a long way from my house, but I wanted to be there. School was my safe place; even when I would run away from home, I would still attend school. When I got there I walked up to tell the teacher that I was sorry. He did just what any adult would have done. He grabbed me by the jacket and reprimanded me for doing such stupid thing (walking all that way, in the cold, damp,dark wearing nothing more than a thin jean jacket and not calling someone). He cared. So much so, that when things got so bad and returning home was no longer a healthy option for me, he, his wife and family took me in. I never asked for such a thing. In fact I never had offered much about what was really going on at home and they never pushed to find out. They just cared. As long as I live, I will never know how to properly thank them for what they did.
They weren't the only ones who were there for me in those difficult days. There are a handful of people who are directly responsible for my existence today. I am forever grateful to them all and will never forget the life lessons they taught me. I was a mess and they showed me unconditional love and understanding. It took some time for me to get my bearings and find my way, but I eventually did.
I didn't go on to become a star athlete, I never even went to college (yet!). In time, I learned to trust. I can honestly say , the biggest lesson, that took me forever to believe, was that I deserve to be loved. It may sound so simple, but there are words spoken that cut into your head and heart so deeply, the pain almost never fades and you can't forget. The beautiful part is that one day, I started to listen and believe in the kinder words that were being spoken to me. Suddenly, the grooves from those words past, weren't as deep. - (Tracie, if you are reading this, I want you to know that it is often your voice I hear.) I started to heal. I became a better friend, sister, wife. I became a better mother. If you were to ask me a year or two ago what my biggest fear was. I would have answered, "not being a good mother". Somehow, whether I passed some unknown marker, I don't feel that pressure as greatly as I once did. I still worry about it, but not nearly as bad. I have been taking that as a sign of comfort in who I am. Who I have become.
Granted, it is impossible to say what would have become of me if those wonderful adults; friends hadn't stepped in. But they did. And I am here in a life I love that is full of love and laughter. Maybe this is where my desire to help those in need comes from. Having experienced it first hand. I know what hope is and want others to experience it as well. Small to great acts of kindness that I get to pay forward.
So, in the movie, when Michael was walking, in the rain, about to be picked up by a kind stranger, I was taken back to a time in my life I had been trying so hard to forget. Only to remember how wonderful it all turned out.
When asked by my husband what was so moving, I started to cry. Before I knew it, this little boy, in his footie pajamas, leaped onto my lap and wrapped his arms around me saying, "I love you so much mommy!" Have you ever heard someone sob uncontrollable tears of pure joy? In a flash I remembered those awful times in my life, followed by the kindness I was shown that made such a difference in who I became. I was the mother I hoped I would be. There was pure, unconditional love wrapped around my neck in fuzzy p.j.'s. It was a full circle moment. I couldn't have asked for a better ending.