In my family, we call my mom “Pollyanna” because no matter what happens, she has a positive look on life. I’ve never seen my mom be negative, nor have I seen her get upset about her situation. She has faced two different diagnoses in her life – one for multiple sclerosis, and one for Celiac Disease – and she faced them both head on, with a strong attitude. She learned all she could about her conditions and then chose to look at them as opportunities to grow stronger, instead of as weaknesses to bring her down. My mom has never let her diseases stop her from living her life, no matter what.
I know that sometimes she can feel beat down. Whenever she starts to feel better from one disease, the other one might kick in. And this can be frustrating, especially with an unpredictable disease like MS or a sometimes unavoidable one like Celiac. For someone else, these two diseases might cripple them. They might allow these diseases to run their lives, and dictate everything they do.
But not my mom.
Instead, she navigates her life with strength and happiness as her co-pilot, and her diseases are barely in the same lane as her. If you met my mom, you wouldn’t know that she has MS or Celiac Disease unless she told you. To her, they don’t define her life.
I have written about my mother before – her multiple sclerosis, how her Celiac Disease turned into mine as well, how she’s forever supportive of me.
What I’ve never written about is how much she inspires me.
My mom has taught me to face each day with a smile, fearlessly. She has inspired me to look differently at life because she so positively lives her own. Because my mom has lived her life this way, I know that I can face anything with a smile.
This past summer, when I was learning to cope with my depression, my mom stood by me. She supported me through it all – dried my tears, hugged me when I needed it, and sat by me in silence when I just needed to collect myself. I never realized how much she did for me in those quiet moments until I went back to college.
My dad, my mom, my sister, and I have always been exceptionally close. My little family of four have been to every dance competition, bike ride, volleyball tournament, and school play that we could fit into our schedules because we love being there for each other. I’ve never been going through something monumental in my life without my family there. But when I got back to college, all I wanted to do was talk to my mom.
Maybe it’s because I identified with her more – what with our shared Celiac Disease. Or maybe it’s because I thought she could understand what I was going through. Whatever the reason, when I picked up the phone to talk, she was always there to say hi or pass on words of encouragement.
All this is to say: my mom is my hero. It’s not because she’s perfect (but is pretty damn close). It’s not because she always has the totally right thing to say. It’s not because she goes out every day and saves the world.
It’s because she goes out every day and saves my world.
If I ever need inspiration, or kind words, or a card that thanks me for being me, my mom is there. If I ever need an extra boost or “good luck” text before a hard final, my mom is there. And I know that, even at 20 years old, if I ever need comfort after a scary nightmare, my mom is there.
So, thank you, Mom: for being you, for always having a smile on your face, and for never letting me forget how awesome I truly am. I hope you know that you’re even more awesome than I.
Featured Image via Author.