My mother endured a rough childhood. The daughter of an abusive alcoholic father, she had to grow up fast taking on household chores of cooking and cleaning at a young age. Her mother worked long hours as a nurse trying to supplement the income. Grandmothers and Aunts helped raise my mother and her brother, but my mom prepared most of the meals, did the laundry and cleaned house. She told me that Cinderella was her favorite fairy tale and that “your father is prince charming.”
Eventually her father became suicidal, then homicidal forcing my grandmother to flee to Colorado with her two kids. They only brought what they could fit into a suitcase. At the time, my mother was a junior in high school. She said the hardest part was “not being able to graduate with my friend Mary. We were friends since the third grade.”
My mother survived challenges throughout her life. It takes a strong woman to raise six kids, deal with mental illness, physical diseases and multiple surgeries. When talking with her about my own situations, she encouraged me by saying “You are a survivor, let it strengthen you.”
My mother taught me that life is full of challenges; it is how one reacts that counts. Through example, my mother gave the gift of strength.