Two years ago when my daughters were home for Christmas Break, I looked at them and thought about the dreams I held in my heart for their futures. Like any other parent, I wanted them to be strong, independent women. I wanted them to be appreciated, loved, honored, respected, treasured, and successful.
I wanted them to be everything that I wasn’t. Everything my mother probably hoped for me, but things that I had yet to find. That threw me for a loop.
I thought for a long time about what I had achieved in the fifty years I had been on this earth.
I treasured the wonderful childhood I had with two incredible parents and two equally great siblings. Oh sure, we fought like cats and dogs,and threw things through the house as we flexed our childhood muscles and our lungs. We were the busy family on the corner of Small Town Avenue and Navy Brat Street.
I thought about the ups and downs I had weathered over the years: the loss of my parents at an all too young age, the mistaken marriage to a person who was less than truthful about what our life could be.
I remembered the years in law school and the following decision to become a teacher, and that made me smile. Who needs a billion dollars and a life without worrying about bills when you can live month to month, drive a used Honda Accord and avoid the phone calls from creditors. Money? I laugh at the thought. I mold the minds of our future leaders. I can’t be bothered with a tiny thing like the phone bill.
I knew I was incredibly thankful for my three amazing children and the career I had fallen into. I couldn’t have asked for a more noble profession, to be sure. I was sorry, however, that I couldn’t provide the many perks that the friends of my children all enjoyed, and that made my heart a bit heavy.
I still remember taking my son to play at a fellow teacher’s house, and he said to her son, “Wow. Are you rich?” That was the first seed that was planted in my heart that slowly grew into my realization.
While I was proud of the fact that I have a great job and have supported our family for most of my marriage, I was heartbroken about the kind of life my children had witnessed. And I vowed to change it. I vowed to take responsibility for my life. I knew that I was responsible for my own happiness and my own life. I had to take the reins and change my course to ensure my very survival. I knew that this, and this alone, would ensure the survival and the success of my own children.
I chose to show them through my own actions that we are in control of our own destiny. So now here I am, thankful for the woman I am and the woman I am yet to be.
I am the woman who has gone back to the gym, joined Yoga classes, started hiking in the woods, and still can’t lose those last 15 pounds. See that white flag? I’m flying it, people.
I am the woman who wakes up each morning and knows that each day is a new day. I greet the day with a smile and the hope that I don’t step into it at any time during the day. Sure, I usually do, but these days I have to laugh about it.
I am the woman who is not worried about who might have pissed me off or done me wrong because odds are great that I’ll forget all about it tomorrow and greet that person like a long lost friend. Time is short, people. Too short to be pissed.
I am the woman who doesn’t care if her mail is alphabetized or chronolologicalized. I pay the bills when they come, place them in a folder and sleep very well at night. (Just don’t look in my desk drawers if you’re OCD.)
I am the woman who will meet you for coffee, buy you a drink, pay for your coffee at starbucks if you are the car behind me, make you dinner, or share a funny story with you if you are in need. It lifts me more than it does you, and I am selfish that way.
I am thankful for my naturally brown hair (one of many gifts from my mother that kicks ass), my sense of humor, and my horrible long-term memory. My children are thankful for that, as well.
But today I am thankful for Francis. She’s the little girl in my class who handed me a magic eraser today. “Here, Mrs. Smythe, use THIS eraser! It erases lines!! I used it on my forehead and look! No more lines!! You should use it-cause if you got rid of those lines, you would look JUST like a little kid!”
And that, my friends, is one of the best parts of this journey. The little friends who lift me up push me forward and give me hope everyday that there is good in the world. And I am determined to be part of it.
Do you have a story about returning to a better version of yourself? Leave me a comment and tell me about it; I'd love to share your success with you!Also, check out the Pfizer page on BlogHer.com to read more blogger stories and prepare to be inspired!