Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Hero Mommies

You know those lists OCD moms keep? Whether it’s in their head, on a meticulously scripted notepad or typed in a Blackberry, you’ve seen them: Needs vs. Wants, Good vs. Bad, Romeo vs. Scoundrel. They help us make life’s important decisions: Do I really need new shoes? Will I regret this tattoo in 10 years? Date him, or dump him?

Sometimes I keep a running tally in my head just to be sure I make my way through my OCD day. I started a very unhealthy list in my head several months ago. I call it my “Bad Luck” list. I don’t know why I did it, but I let it rule my inner psyche for way longer than I would like to admit. I think it began with the loss of my beloved and only remaining grandparent. The chain of ridiculous events just seemed to catapult me into my list even more. My husband had a minor car accident. Our household income suffered a shocking cut due to the economy. Repairs on one of our cars cost more than its blue book value. Our dryer just basically stopped working right in the middle of 10 loads of laundry. (Who could blame it?) I tried to shrug some of it off, but then our kitchen sink pretty much blew up underneath, covering everything in the cabinet with mold, water and ground up food. Then my little one came home with some sort of infectious horn growing out from under her ear. I know, I know, these are all just normal events in this thing called life, but I am keeping a list. Remember?

I forgot one very important thing in this ever-lengthening pity party. That thing is the ying to its yang. There is a whole other side to my list. The positive side, or the versus, is so long that my “Bad Luck” list is not worth another mention. Yes, the “Good Luck” list is filled to infinity with strong mommies who prop me up when I fall and make me laugh when I am at my lowest. I envision them as sort of a circle of guidance and protection. They are moms and stepmoms. Each of them adds a special layer of friendship and direction in my life. Some of these women have known me all of my life. Some might as well have known me all of my life. Some, I believe, may have known me in a past life. They are all heroes for very special reasons, and when I sent out a mass text to vent about my recent chain of events, they all called and responded simultaneously to make sure I was okay. No greater confirmation exists that you are well-loved than a chorus of, “Keep your chin up!” There is not enough cyber space on this blog to elaborate on these heroines sufficiently. So I will, with regret, have to narrow it to only a few:

One hero is a mother who commutes 45 minutes to work every day (sometimes longer if traffic is bad). She spent a whole year being Mom and Dad to her sweet little girl because her husband was working out of state. During that time, she nursed her child through allergies and illness and even suffered a frightening home robbery. She managed to hold everything together in an inexplicable way and is such a selfless and devoted friend.

Another hero is a former college roommate who stopped an unhealthy family cycle of drug abuse and prison and put herself through law school.  She did not use her childhood as an excuse. She broke through that wall and never made those destructive decisions for herself. Not only is she a brilliant professional, but she has also become one of the most amazing mothers I know.

I also have a hero who put herself through nursing school as a single mom. All this despite several unexpected hospital stays from complications to Type I Diabetes. She does not let a soul help her. Yet she appears out of nowhere when I need her the most. I swear, she once showed up to our house when we were moving with a bucket of cleaners and a bag of toilet paper. Yes, I said toilet paper. I don’t know how she knew. She just knew.

My final description is saved for the hero that snapped me back into reality last week. Since 1996, this heroic woman has caught every tear I have ever shed over everything from stupid boyfriends to losing loved ones. So when she emailed me to let me know she had just received a heartbreaking diagnosis, I welled up with tears. I contemplated the perfect thing to say to her. I thought about leaving work and rushing to be by her side. What would I want in that situation?  Out of respect for her personal privacy, I will not discuss the details, but I felt devastated for her and, very selfishly, for myself.  The crazy thing is that she continued to email me after that in a very upbeat and matter-of-fact manner. She soon divulged that she may be considering a “Plan B” option…a very thought out and difficult to get to “Plan B,” but a “Plan B” all the same.  Then she started sending me responses with those smiley face thingies. Several of my “coworker heroes” had already stopped my office to make sure I was okay. That’s when I realized that she took the news better than I did. I have never seen anyone full-on take a challenge like this one with a smiley face thingy. So now I am going to stop sulking, get my cheerleading suit and pom poms and get with the program! I am by no means a mommy hero, but I hope I can be a fraction of the support for her that my circle of heros are for me because she deserves a symphony of “Keep your chin up!” right now and a huge “Bravo!”

Dustee Morris is a 35-year-old who manages a full time career, being Mom to five-year-old Rian and wife of almost 12 years to husband Brian.

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