My mom has never been good at directions. Seriously, the woman gets lost in the grocery store. And driving places has always been a source of anxiety for her. Many of my earliest childhood memories consist of my shy British mother taking us on trips in the car and that trip quickly turning into an adventure. We would get lost for hours on end, sometimes wondering if we were ever going to make it back home.
I look back on those pre-cell phone, pre-Siri memories with such fondness now. My mother was raising three kids, all a year apart, and I’m sure getting her three babies all out of the house, piling us into her little Ford Tempo, was her only way to keep sane most days.
Shirley may not know how to get from point A to point B very well, but man, she sure knew how to raise three children. She might still get lost in Target, but she always managed to kept me steered on the right path, even when her own life took a complete 180.
Many people see my Mom as a sweet, shy, slightly sarcastic British lady. And she is all of those things. She is kind, always thinking about her special education students and worrying about their needs. And she is funny, in her very dry, Absolutely Fabulous kind of way. But what they don’t see is her fighting spirit. My mom’s desire to never give up, even when we felt like our life had been driven off a cliff, shaped me more than she will ever know.
And then, when we did find our way back home, my mom’s willingness to choose forgiveness and to choose love, was a lesson that will be forever ingrained on my heart. She didn’t have to take that road. She could have never looked back. But she forgave. And for that she will always be my hero. My role model. My example.
It is so hard to see God’s reasons in the hardships we endure. Especially, when we are in the midst of the storm. But the lessons I learned from my mom’s trials, and her responses to them, helped to shape the woman I have become today.
I hope I am a person who navigates this world with arms swinging. Ready for whatever road life takes me down.
But one who ultimately still chooses love.
One who will teach the same fighting spirit and same forgiving heart to my own two sons. One who will teach them that hardships help mold us, help shape us, help grow us.
I know I have a lot to live up to.
Happy Birthday to my absolutely fabulous Mum. Thank you for steering me in the right direction. Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for forgiving.
Thank you for always getting us back home.