*Author’s note* I dedicate the following piece to the person who fought so hard to have and keep me. My mom. I love you, mom.
Family: While that word may seem singular or simple. It really is a portrait that evolves over time. The family no longer means mom, dad, 2.3 kids, a dog, a cat, or a Pickett fence. That picture has grown beyond typical standards in today’s society, Family for some can simply exist in just themselves and their beloved pet.
But, for me, family means having a family means have a constant source of support and love behind you. For me, it is because of my family that I know what the words unconditional love means. Yes, I know that sounds cliche, but is also true. For my family and I, we made perseverance and strength into a way of life for us. I doubt anyone would come out the other side of adversity just as well as my family and I continue to do with each new challenge and obstacle we face as a family.
Obstacles like Cerebral Palsy, Juvenile diabetes, degenerative disk disease, and cancer. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, but instead, to remind you that whatever you are given life you aren’t given it to fight it all on your own. But rather to fight all of life’s challenges together. If you face it together, it may not get better right away but at least it’ll make whatever challenge you’re facing more tolerable. That’s one of the lessons I have learned about my family this past year and a half.
When you and your family are faced with a new challenge that becomes a part of your “new normal”. Like my father’s cancer has for my family and I. This where you learn about how to work with what seems like an intolerable situation and make it manageable. And when you hit a rough patch and nothing seems manageable or tolerable that is when I and my family lean on one another the most.
It is through these trials and tribulations, and many other challenges that make our family far from average. Typically when someone says, “I don’t know how you all do it.” We smile and make a joke by lightening the mood. But in all honesty, the answer to this question is pretty simple. The answer lies in one person, my mom.
She is the glue that holds our family together. The smile and laughter my mom brings to our lives lights our way through every dark moment we face. My mom is the person who taught me that facing adversity in your life does not mean you lay down and let it take over and win. Instead, you face it and fight for your right to stay in the light and continue to burn bright no matter what’s trying to defeat you. Because she knows the tiniest spark is still considered light.
My mom is the spark, the bright light in our family, and because she gave my sister and my life that spark will never go out. Thank you, doesn’t quite cover it, mom. But I want you to know that I am the woman I am, the fighter I am because of the example you’ve set. You are the epitome of “girl power” mom long before it was a hashtag trending on social media. To dad, Steph, and me you are the true meaning of what family truly means. I love you. Thank you, mom.