I have sat on this post for weeks, asking myself if there would ever be a right time to write it. Today I received a text that made it clear it was time. The women in my family are fighters. We sometimes forget our strength, and the fight that is buried deep inside of us, but it is who we are.
A few weeks ago I was bombarded with teary text messages, snapchats that revealed a splotchy neck, eyes about to flood over with tears, and a million “why’s”. I struggled because I didn’t know what to say. I’m not very good at saying the right thing at the right time. I want to jump straight into problem solving mode. How do we fix this? Where do we go from here? That wasn’t what this loved one needed, so all I was left with was a feeble, “I just don’t know what to say.” Well that and…”I’ll buy the pigs and alligators.” No, I don’t expect you to know what that means. But she did, and that’s what mattered.
Around this same time another member of my family hit a major road bump. She called me sobbing, and became frustrated when I once again went into fix it mode. “Can’t you stop? Please? For one minute just sit in sadness with me. Let me have this day. We can fight for the next step tomorrow. Just let me have today.” I struggled. “I can’t do that. I don’t know HOW to do that. I know that is what you need, but I’m not sure how to give that to you. Don’t you know who you are? You are a fighter. The women in our family don’t take time to be sad. But I will try to do better. I’m sorry. I love you.”
The women in my life needed me to be something I don’t know how to be. But they had forgotten something. THEY are part of the reason that I am the way I am. I remember being tired and not wanting to fight through the haze after my husband died. Both the little one and the big one grabbed my shoulders and told me to put one foot in front of the other. “There will be days after today. It’s time to march toward them.” They wanted me to step into life with defiance, telling the world that I didn’t stay down and out. I may have lost the battle, but with them by my side….I would NEVER lose the war. And every scar I gathered along the way would tell the story of my strength, my will, and my desire to fight for a better tomorrow. I needed them to be fighters for me when I was too tired to put the armor on for myself. But somehow they had forgotten the fighter that lay dormant inside their souls, and they were kneeling behind the battle lines hoping the war would just go on by and forget that they were lurking in the dark shadows.
I did something unusual. I hugged the little and let her cry. I encouraged the big to keep sending me snotty splotchy pictures until she was all cried out. I would let them rest today, and we would talk battle strategy once their hearts were rested. It took one a little longer to bounce back than the other, and the bouncer keeps fighting her own inner doubts. But here is what began to happen.
I saw joy come to the splotchy face. She even put on makeup and looked human again! I saw fear give way to faith in the other little lady. I think they began to remember who they were, and where they came from. Today I got a text. I will sum it up. “I couldn’t stand waiting. There had to be some way to make this work. I got out of my bed, dragged myself to the office and began to ask questions. Turns out there were answers, and now it is sorted. I just couldn’t take no for an answer.” She had found her fight. I knew it was in there, tucked away, a little dusty, and certainly tired, but it was in there.
Girls, this is written for you, about you, and to you….We are fighters. We each get tired, and when we do we must carry each other for a while. I’m still working on the carrying part. I would much rather grab my sword and run straight into the battle, but I will learn to carry. You will ALWAYS look toward the sun. I will not allow you to wallow in the darkness and self doubt. The fights we have had, and the fights we have ahead of us are HARD. At times they will be painful, and not even make sense. Would it really be much of a battle if we could stand at the top of the mountaintop and see our enemy long before his approach? Each day wake up, swing your feet out of bed, and find your battle gear. If you want it, slay every obstacle that comes in your way. Strategize, plan, clean your wounds and keep pressing on. We are not weak. We did not come to this world to look like delicate flowers. We came into this world determined to turn it on its head, and make everyone know we are here. Every thing worth having takes everything you are willing to give. Suit up girls. It’s time to go into battle and fight for what you want. I love you both….let’s do this!