A Simple Thank You To The Woman Who Never Quits

A Simple Thank You To The Woman Who Never Quits

No words will ever be enough to give to the person who has given me everything.

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You love flowers. You love the color purple because it reminds you of your mom. You love purple flowers because it feels like Naana planted them just for us. You love the Spring because the lilacs begin to bloom. I love April 14, because it's your day.

As I grow up, I am beginning to notice the sacrifices parents make for their kids, just as you and Dad have done for me and Cole. I am beginning to understand that I don't understand. I can't possibly understand the months you carried us in your core, the career you gave up, the very breath you shared to give us life. I see now that I don't thank you enough. April 14 is only one of 365 days I should be celebrating you, Momma.

You've never had it easy.

The world you grew up in spun too fast, forcing you to take the reins of adulthood years before you could even drive. But you didn't complain. You never complain. You fight, you conquer, you learn, and you persist. You never let anything slow you down, no matter how big the obstacle.

You taught me that quitting is not an option.

I know that year was the worst of your life. Some terrible twist of fate left you with a mom and dad-sized hole punched into your life. No one can be expected to hoist themselves up, look to the sky, and move forward as if every step feels just as light as the first. But you had to hide the pain, disguise the weight of your grief, wear a mask and put on a show of strength - all for me. You had to push me in that horrible wheelchair, the one we weren't sure I would escape. You had to steady me as I hobbled on crutches through the rain. You had to feel me break when I came home from school after the boys took my cane in the cafeteria. You had to stand on the opposite side of the lobby when they told me I couldn't leave unless I walked to the car. You had to hold my hand as I took off on the path I never chose to take.

You were there when all I had was pain, doubt, and fear. You helped me learn to walk twice in one lifetime.

When things got better, things fell apart. It's no secret I don't do well with change. But Momma, when our house split into two and everything was so different, you took every punch I threw with my words. I never hated you. I was uprooted. I was lonely, frustrated, and without an anchor, in the storm my life had become.

Once again, you refused to quit.

You refused to quit on your dream house, on your career, on your daughter. You have never once quit on me. I always wondered why, how, you never quit. It's because you're a mom. My mom. A magician, warrior, and superhero all wrapped up in the perfect, huggable package.

I sit writing this in the home you built, looking out at the sunset over the water, as the ferryboats set out on their journeys. In an hour or two, you'll walk through the door wearing the boots I always steal from your closet. You'll tell me about your work, your meetings, and the wonders you're working with connecting broken families on the side.

You'll be smiling the whole time. Like always.

Thank you for your infectious joy. For singing me to sleep. For warm hugs. For pizza at 8 pm when we're both too lazy to go to the store. For holding me when the world seems to fall in pieces around us. For always believing in the good when hate threatens to cloud the blue sky. For growing lilacs when life throws you dirt. For teaching me that this, too, shall pass.

I love you, Momma. With all my heart.

-Your Baby Girl

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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I'm Spring Cleaning My Life, And I'm Sorry To Say, That Starts With My Toxic Parents

She won't change, and I know she never will, so I have to.

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On top of spring cleaning our wardrobes of crop tops we regret buying and wearing in bulk, I also spring clean my life of people who have proven themselves time and time again to be hindrances to my self-development and progress. And as I sort through this pile of people, I always encounter, without fail, my parents. And I sigh and put them back in my metaphorical closet knowing all too well that I can't send to the goodwill of toxic people.

Even though my mother has repeatedly proven herself to be the number one biggest trigger for my eating disorder. Or that my father's condescending behavior triggers anxiety. It doesn't matter, they are my parents and I am never getting rid of them. That isn't a statement of love, but rather of surrender and defeat. They pay for college, the roof above my head, and anything I want. They have basically bought property in my conscious which is why I can't throw them away that easily. I am financially and emotionally attached to them, depending on how life and career pans out, potentially forever.

So every time my mom tells me I look fat or tells me I can't have dinner, I know that instead of just counting out my mother, I have to stop the emotional explosion within myself that leads to me bingeing in the middle of the night. That is obviously easier said than done. But often I have negotiated, explained, and even yelled for my mother to understand that calling me names or restricting my meals does nothing but make me more susceptible to the voice in my head that tells me to binge. But she won't change, and I know she never will, so I have to.

Some days, I do wish I wasn't in need of their financial support so I could have the power and independence to walk away and not look back. It would be the most healthy outcome and I could probably live a much more stable and mentally healthy life. But I guess I don't have the confidence to succeed alone, which is why I have decided to stay put and just adjust.

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