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My Mom taught me to be a survivor. Years ago I married a man I believed to be “the one”. After two years of being brutally beaten he finally went the extra mile and almost killed me in front of my child. For months I cried and fell deeper and deeper into depression. I drank to kill the pain every day. I was not able to be there for my child or myself.

I will never forget my mother grabbing me by my shoulders and practically shaking me out of my skin. There I was 22 years old and crying to my Mommy. I told her I wanted to die and that my child didn’t deserve me as a mother.

She wrapped her arms around me and I will never forget her words. She told me to stop crying and stand up. Confused I did as I was told. She grabbed my hand and told me about the moment she stopped crying over the past. She told me it is my choice to remain a victim. I was so hurt by that statement that I yelled at her. “How can you say that?” I screamed, “It isn’t my fault what he did to me!”

Her next statement changed my life. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “You did not choose to be beaten, stabbed, or choked by that man, but right now you are choosing to remain his victim. Stand up and be a survivor. Don’t let him own you this way. Take his power away.”

Never have words struck me so hard. I have lived my life by those words every day since then.

I no longer allow anyone to walk over me. I have been hurt plenty since my ex, but no one has had enough power to break me as I was back then. I am there for my children always. Thanks to my Mom I am not a victim anymore, I’m a survivor.

(Top Photo: Siam Camo – Thai Stylee Skirt with Thai at Waist $125)

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A significant life lesson my mom has taught me is to always stick up for myself, keep a good head on my shoulders, and love unconditionally. My mom never personally told me any of these things, but yet, she showed them to me by doing these three things on her own. She is one of the strongest people I know.

Growing up I had witnessed my fair share of abuse. Whether it be physical or mental, I’ve seen it all. Every time another problem or argument came around with my dad, my mom was always sticking up for herself. I never really saw my mom cry but only a few times on which I could count on one hand. She had to keep her head up and stay sane for us kids.

Throughout the years growing up we stayed with our grandparents quite a bit. My mom and dad finally divorced when I was in sixth grade. It was a relief to all of us, we knew that we would finally be at peace. By the time I was in eighth grade, we finally moved into our own apartment. It was a good feeling knowing that my mom could do things on her own again. In my middle years of high school my mom had met a new boyfriend. Things got rough again and my siblings and I moved back to my grandparents until things settled. Meanwhile, my mom moved thousands of miles away and we lost touch.

I really resented my parents for a lot of the things that had happened while I was growing up. I didn’t talk to my mom for a few years after she moved. I was so angry at the way things had ended up, I didn’t think I would ever forgive her for leaving us. I started going to church regularly and it really opened my eyes to forgiveness. My best friend Amanda, who had lost her mom when we were freshman, told me that I shouldn’t live my life without my mom. She told me that as long as I have a mom, I shouldn’t take that special relationship for granted, that mother daughter relationship that she wished she could still have.

My senior year graduation was about to come up and I had decided to talk to my mom. I thought this could close old wounds if she would come to my graduation. Unfortunately, she couldn’t afford the trip from Florida to Ohio. So, as a graduation gift from Amanda, she took me down to Florida to visit my mom that summer after graduation.

Ever since then my mom and I have had a really strong relationship. We talk and email often. She came to be in my wedding last September even though the family wouldn’t even talk to her. I remember telling my husband to be that all I really wanted for my wedding was for my mom to be there, and she was.

Throughout all the hardships I have been through, I really am glad I went through it all. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be where I am at in my life had I not moved back in with my grandparents. I met my husband through a great group of Christian friends, and have been with him since the month we met. Everything that has happened to me has been a blessing because I have grown so much from it all.

I don’t know what I would have done without my mom. She has taught me so much, and she doesn’t even know it. Forgiveness is all it takes, and unconditional love. Without that unconditional love there is emptiness. I think that everyone should love their mothers unconditionally no matter the circumstances. We only have one mom, and she gave us life, so love it and love her!

(Top Photo: The Window, 12×12 $50)

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