What My Mom Has Taught Me In Life

What My Mom Has Taught Me In Life

She went through the worst so that I could have the best.

As a child, I had both of my parents in my life. One night, however, stands out from the rest of my childhood, though. That night, my mother had my brother and I pack just a few things for a stay at our Nana’s house. Early the next morning I was woken up to my dad yelling. I was so confused and my dad kept telling me to go with him, but I was scared and decided to stay with my mother. As the years progressed I learned of what had happened—my father's abuse—but after that, everything was okay for a while.

During the recession, my mom had to relocate out-of-state for a job. It was when this happened that my home life took a drastic turn. My younger brother and I were living with our dad when the abuse started again—more toward me than my brother. He would even take jabs at our mother saying that she abandoned us when in reality she was just trying to help get back on her feet and provide as much as she could for us.

After she moved back to Florida, my dad was even more controlling. He would even use not being able to see her as punishment for my brother and I. It wasn’t until I was seventeen that child services intervened and I officially lived with my mother. Even when I wasn’t living with her full-time, we were close (with the occasional teenage anger slipping out). We share a closer bond due to what we endured and without even telling me things, she has taught me a lot about life.

When I look at my mother, I see a strong-willed woman who has the ability to overcome any obstacles she faces. The power that my mother has is something that I hope she passes on to me. She has faced many challenges, but she doesn’t let them define or deter her. My mother is independent—she does not need to rely on a man to give her solace. My brother and I are her trophies, she does everything she can just to be able to put smiles on our faces, and she supports me while I embark on my journey through college.

She is the strongest woman I know, and that is also due to the family she has. The women in her family, her mother and sisters, are her support system. They are all women I look up to, and with them alone I find it apparent that there is no bond tighter than that of your family. Due to what my mother has gone through, the most impressive thing she has taught me is that I don’t need anyone to hold me back from what I want to accomplish. Even with trials and tribulations, you can still come out victorious no matter what the situation is. My mother is my motivation and I plan to make her proud by doing everything that my father said I could never do.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Why Having A Sister Is The Best Thing In The World

She's my built-in best friend.

I have considered myself one of the luckiest girls in the world to have been given the world’s best older sister to ever exist. We are a little over two years apart, yet, I feel as if the years between us don’t even amount to how close we are and how special and important she is to me. I know I don’t only speak for myself when I say that having a sister is the most amazing thing in the world. You are automatically given a life-long, built in best friend without even having to try. I, for one, know my sister is the only person who will always be there for me. She is my favorite person in the entire universe, she is my role model, she is the one person I will constantly look up to. All in all, she is my ultimate best friend.

Growing up, my sister and I dealt with the same minor arguments that all sisters face as they get older. Whenever my sister had her friends over, all I wanted was to hang out with them. Whenever my sister started a new sport, I immediately decided to try that sport as well. Half the time, the things I have tried in life are all due to the fact that my sister decided to try them first. All I ever wanted to do was be like her. And that’s exactly what I did. While it may seem like I didn’t really have a brain of my own or any real separation from my interests and my sister’s interests, as we both got older, we forged our own paths in very different ways.

As we both got a little bit older and a lot more mature, the pointless bickering came to an end and we actually got incredibly close. While I had always looked up to my sister from the start, this was different. We weren’t just sisters anymore, we were becoming best friends.

The day my sister left for college was one of the most emotional and heart wrenching days of my entire life. My best friend, my go-to, and my person was taken away from me and starting a new life in a completely new state. She would make new friends, and we would only have some small window of time to talk, over Facetime, of course, about our new lives away from each other. Honestly, I do not enjoy expressing my emotions and showing my weak spots to other people. When my sister left for college I don’t think I fully expressed to her the extent to how much I missed her. It took me a long time to be okay with the fact that she wasn’t right across the hall from me, that we didn’t share a bathroom anymore, that I could walk into her room and talk to her, and that we couldn’t steal each other’s clothes anymore. I thought that distance would strain our relationship in a really bad way. But, as it turned out, we got so much closer than we were before.

My sister is a brilliant, smart and intelligent person. She has the brightest future ahead of her. Whenever someone asks me about my sister, I am always so proud to speak about her and all of her accomplishments. When I visit her in college, we have the most amazing time together. I love getting to see a piece of her life that is outside of the one we share at home. And, as she is now getting ready to graduate from college, I only know the future she has ahead of her is going to be nothing short of successful.

Honestly, I guess not everyone is as lucky as I am to have the most amazing sister. She truly is my best friend in the entire world. She is the only person who knows how to make me feel better in my dark moments, and she is the one person who knows me better than I know myself. She is my rock, she is my person, she is my ultimate best friend, and I could not be luckier to have been given the greatest sister of all time. I am forever grateful.

Cover Image Credit: Franki Rosenthal

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The Thank You I Never Got To Give My Aunt

And she is someone who deserved it a million times over.

I have had the pleasure of being raised in a family that provided a bountiful amount of female role models for me to admire. Like with everyone else, I sometimes did not realize everything those role models had done to help me until it was too late.

My parents are both the youngest amongst their siblings, which means their parents were sickly and elderly by the time I was really old enough to remember anything about them. My father lost his mother just after I was born, so I only ever knew one of my grandmother's.

What I didn't realize at the time was that my fathers' sister. Maryanne, affectionately referred to as Aunt Mairz, stepped up and held the family together. She was my aunt, but she was so much more than that. She pretty much became the "Nan In Training" for the family. She was the grandmother I never got to have.

She passed away the August before my senior year of high school from cancer.

If there is such thing as an angel on Earth, it would be this woman. She always put others before herself. As much as my parents demonstrated the same, something she did for my mom has always stuck with me. When my Aunt Mairz was extremely sick, my mom lost her father. I had lost another grandparent. Family and friends came to the viewing, as expected. What we did not expect was for Aunt Mairz to come, considering how sick she was at the time. But she did. I cannot imagine how exhausting that time was for her, but she did it anyway.

Because that's who she was.

When my family moved to the house we are in now, she (and many other family members) were here helping unpack boxes. She placed almost all of our dishes in the cabinets for the first time. Again, she didn't have to. But she did it anyway.

She taught me that even when you are in the worst situation you could ever have imagined yourself in, there is someone in the world going through more pain than you.

When she passed away, I was devastated. For me, it felt personal. The reason it felt personal is that a few months prior I held a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. It wasn't super successful, but it accomplished what I thought I wanted. I thought I wanted to just raise money and awareness. But in my young mind there was a direct correlation between my fundraiser and my aunt getting better. I was wrong.

I guess part of the reason I am writing this is for her grandchildren that will never have the chance to know her. They know what their parents and Grandfather say. I thought they would like to know from another source how amazing of a Nan they had. They're all too young to read this and fully understand how much she did for me. She helped me let go of a lot of anger and resentment that was blocking my faith. Words can never express how grateful I am for that.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Beatty

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