“Be soft. You don’t have to make the world hard for yourself. You shouldn’t allow the pain to make you resentful. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.” ~Iain Thomas
Retrospectively, I can trace my most fond childhood memories back to my beautiful mother.
There are intricate forts set up in the backyard, with the Spice Girls performing in the background. Sleepovers using Limited Too’s finest sparkly lotion, eyeshadow, and lip gloss. Rainy afternoons full of Lisa Frank activity sheets and friendship bracelets. Children and teachers showing off their wild side at my mothers’ signature talent shows at the local theatre. Crafts and arts in a room with mauve wallpaper and floral couches. You can find the right charm bracelet by going to a flea market. You can also find lots of yummy birthday cakes with words. You can be with your dreamsAll over it
We were sadly separated in middle school, when my mother abruptly left our sunny lives to move into a nomadic life. After traveling with her to two states, I grew tired of the “new kid” title and moved in with my father.
Each of my subsequent actions turned into an angry cloud that prevented her love from seeingp through. Our tug-of war relationship continued into our early adulthood for six more years.
That day is still fresh in my mind. Everything changed.
When I answered the phone, she called me unexpectedly. I called her inconsolably back, despite being in a jammed hallway.
“What?!” It was a pompous voice.
She whispered: “I’m so sorry to hound you but I need to tell you something. I am a victim of cancer. ”
“What do you mean?” I I had my throat closed.
“I’ve been diagnosed with ovarian cancer—I am so sorry.”
I finally visited her in Key West, Florida a few days later. It is still vividly clear to me that she galloped towards me when I was getting out of the puddle jumper. A mop with loose curls and wide eyes, along with ripped cargo pants that were army green in color, she had an unflattering belly.
Our bond was stronger than ever before.
We were giggly film critics. We walked along the beach in search for magical conch shells. The beach was a frequent stop for us.OurFavorite Cuban Restaurant and enjoyed zesty soup. Future tea parties will be able to benefit from our vintage aqua tea sets. Stories were shared that had been forgotten.
Instead of allowing her to hide in shame, I encouraged her to have a raucous laugh out loud in public. As we sipped Key Lime Pie sticks and basked in the sunshine, I accepted her hippie lifestyle. Her renowned talent show, which featured local YMCA youths, was one I directed. Her trailer turned out to be a treasure trove of wispy white pillows, velvety hazelnut espresso, and fresh beginnings.
Every day I passed the boulder of anger that once weighed me down became raw love.
She didn’t have standard health insurance, but she saved black pilot whales in her free time. She didn’t have a steady job, but she made others smile as she sold handmade bottlecap jewelry at Mallory Square. You see—if you’re fixated on expectations of who someone should be according to You standards, you can’t love them for who they really are.
One time, I was written by my mother:
“Those stressful days are gone, and I don’t think I’ll ever see them again. I don’t have the meetings and high-powered days like I used to. As I wander to work, my eyes are drawn to the bright sun, the turquoise ocean, the hibiscus flowers, and marshmallow clouds. In the cool breezes, I sport an island dress with my hair down and my hair up. To make it easy to get on the beach, I usually hide my bathing suits underneath. I’m dreaming of my toes in the sand, laughing, giggling, and snoozing while listening to music and chirping birds. Life is wonderful. Find your way to happiness. You happy – promise?!
Even though it was the most memorable part of my mother’s day, she still appreciated each moment. She described the hospital’s cuisine as God. She could not walk but she managed to drag her wheelchair along the sand just in order to breathe some ocean air. In awe at her ability to be alive, she looked up at clouds at every chance.
My soft bones became brittle and my mother’s body was a mess, so I came to understand the significance of her motto. You can be with your dreams. I learned from her how to have a happy, peaceful life that is filled with wonderment, nature and happiness. Her open-hearted, raw approach to life proved superior to any mold that I had in mind.
In my mother’s last days, she shared tenderly, “Britt, I think of how I left you behind sometimes. I know I wasn’t a perfect mother, but I’ve always loved you so much, baby girl.”
That moment was the one I had been waiting for for 15 years. It was then that I experienced a profound sense of peace. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.
The only thing that I wanted was time. As tears streamed down my face, I wondered how many more memories we would’ve had, had I learned to appreciate her for who she was years ago.
Most of us wait to resolve our conflicts “later.” The unfortunate part is that minutes and days turn into months and years. There’s a good chance we’re missing out on a relationship Right nowThat could transform our lives. So…
Love is a choice that you make. Do not be afraid to show kindness. Keep your eyes open for the best times. Be open to the possibility of suffering disguised by indifference. You are responsible for your actions. Don’t judge. Take a bigger role. Tolerating the small things is okay.
Please, for goodness’ sakes, speak or do Something!Get on the phone. Send an apology letter. You can drive to their home. Make plans for a vacation. Send a text to reminisce.
Don’t you see… there’s only time for love. And, who knows—if you’re lucky enough, they might just show you how to Enjoy Your Dreams.
Brittany Powell is the founder of Positivity Pledge, an online community where people build meaningful lives and learn how to embrace a positive mindset. Brittany’s work has appeared in various publications, including Tiny Buddha, Life Goals Magazine, Voyage Phoenix, and Shoutout Arizona. To build your own meaningful life, visit Positivity Pledge and follow her own meaningful activities on Insta.
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