When my daughter was just hours old, I recall the nurses bringing her back into my room, swaddled tightly in a little pink blanket. All family and visitors had left and I had my brand new baby girl all to myself. As I held her in my arms, staring into her tiny face, the one thing I was most in awe of was her alert, all knowing eyes, smiling into mine as if to say, “Well hello, mama (and she calls me this today)! I am so happy to see you again!” I lifted her little body to my face, kissed her tiny rose bud lips and inhaled the freshness of her. The word inspire in Latin means to breathe upon or into. My daughter has inspired me from the moment she was hours old. Just as my body nurtured her into life, she has breathed life back into mine, many, many, times.
All of these thoughts were prompted after she ran her very first 5K yesterday. She completed it running every single, hilly, terrained mile. Her little girls were lined up along the path, pride and awe lighting up their faces as they clapped and cheered her to the finish line. Waiting with them was her incredible husband, who pre-race, shouted his pride from the pages of Facebook for his world of friends, to hear. She is a very lucky young woman to have so much love and support. She knows it, appreciates it, and thrives in the glow of it. She deserves it. She is the epitome of tenacity.
My sweet girl was born with a hand anomaly. Two of her fingers on both hands were webbed. This has never been an impediment for her in doing anything she wanted to do. When she was small, she shrugged it off like it was just an itchy little mosquito bite. The kids in the neighborhood never really questioned her hands. They too were mesmerized by her awesomeness. She was the CEO of our block and pretty bossy from time to time. I have to give her credit, she even got the little boys to dress up in girls clothes and wigs engaging them in some make-believe scheme. She wore the pants in the neighborhood! We joke today, perhaps she was the fire starter in igniting the flame of homosexuality in one of her little male playmates! She underwent 3-4 surgeries before she was even 5 years old and started school. This, didn’t stop her from building one handed sandcastles, making mud pies, or dangling from the trapeze on her swing set, one arm in a cast. When she was 11, she tried out for band at her elementary school. An insensitive music instructor suggested to her, she may want to play the trombone. She didn’t and boldly told him she wanted to play the trumpet. He begrudgingly told her she could, but wouldn't give her a year and she would get frustrated. She played the trumpet, and ultimately played it well enough to be in the marching band in high school AND qualified for a seat in the exclusive Jazz Band, both her junior and senior years.
Sadly she shares the unfortunate experience of many losses; beloved and significant people in her life, at very early age. She lost one grandmother when she was in middle school, yet used that loss to motivate her to perform in a Show Choir and dedicate many of her performances to her grandma. In College she was destroyed by the loss of another young grandmother, one she had spent almost all of her free time with, from babyhood through high school. The grief made her question the meaning of many things and drove her into a sabbatical her Junior year. She came back home to regroup and tried to make some sense of life. Six months at home, the passion to return and get her degree, compelled her to switch Colleges, mid stream. She battled with school officials getting them to accept the credits she had already accumulated, and did not stop until they saw things her way. One day, she barged through the door announcing the Fisher College of Business at OSU had proclaimed she would be graduating with her BA in Business and Marketing at the Spring graduation ceremonies.
The death of a beloved step-dad and mentor, while wrenching in dealing with such a profound loss, made her more determined to take the lessons learned from her time with him and appreciate the many gifts he brought to her life; a new church and religion that fits her like a glove. She inherited his set of values and the integrity he portrayed in his daily dealings with her. Her little ones are blossoming under this nurturing spirituality today. He taught her service to others is the pathway to happiness and humor is the best way through the tough times. Once again, she extracted the good from a very difficult period and went on determined to not waste time on self-pity and find the blessings instead.
Today, her parenting skills leave me humbled and amazed. Her commitment to her little girls, their self-esteem, character, and providing them a well -rounded life, is a beautiful thing to witness. She has this balance in her life I never seemed able to achieve. She is a supportive, committed wife, a loyal friend, a determined professional and leader, and a shining example of womanhood to her daughters. She knows what is important to and for her and will go to the ends of the earth to fight for that.
I spend a lot of time reading the words of so many wise ones and gurus. It occurred to me as I watched this young woman come down the hill and push towards the finish line yesterday, inspiration can also be obtained in mindfully looking around and really seeing those people who are a part of our daily lives. We can be changed and inspired by those we know so very well, if we just step back and observe how they work with the fate they are dealt.... How they take what's been handed, mold it into something magnificent, and walk in this world.
Woo Hoo Miss Christi! You did it! Proud mama here!