Last night, I dreamed that living my life was like driving a car. I needed to renew my license, but to pass the test I had to answer twelve questions correctly.
A woman, a guide of sorts, ran my test through a scanner and out came eleven coins. She explained that I needed one more coin, and the essential question I missed was a true and false question:
True or false: “You should expect that nothing will disturb you while you drive the car of your life.” The question stated.
I answered “true” thinking good drivers must master their minds to the point where nothing rattles them.
She explained, “No. You need to expect distractions to come and then learn how to overcome them when they do.”
She then took me up into a tree to teach me common sense (I hope this was the Tree of Life :)). From the tree, I saw my two children (at the ages they were when their father and I divorced) walking out of this building. My son glanced over his shoulder at me with the saddest look on his face. He wanted me to come with them, but I knew I needed to learn these lessons.
I gasped, “My children.” My heart ached as I watched them walk away.
I awoke this morning and thought about those difficult years when divorce forced me into a lifestyle full of common sense lessons. The topics included far more than single parenting on a meager income, building a business without previous experience, and returning to college when I hated school.
Josiah’s disappointment in my dream reminded me of the sadness I felt when I couldn’t give my children what they wanted. I remembered the ache when I watched them drive away with my family for vacations while I had to stay home and attend classes. The circumstances that forced me to hold the reins of breadwinner often strained my arms until I could not comfort my children.
Although my church extolled the stay-at-home mother, I had to defy those norms in order to provide for my children. My values clashed with common sense requirements and many nights, tears soaked my pillow.
Single parenting broke my spirit; in fact, my heart is still healing years later. I know this because my children’s present happiness and gratitude touch those tender places with a healing balm.
Last Friday, one of my students motioned for me to come near. He then whispered in my ear, “Can I give you a Mother’s Day gift because I don’t have a mother?”
I choked back emotion and then answered, “I would be honored to receive your gift.” I knew in that moment that those common sense lessons learned during my single parenting days had found their peace in my present life. I also wondered whether his request was that twelve coin.
Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the women who nurture us. Whether of natural birth or of the heart, there are those who form a part of the person we are. Although my list is long, today I pay tribute to two.
My mother’s creative spirit and ceaseless love inspired a little girl named JoDee to become a creative eclectic.
She was, and still is, my quintessential artistic mentor. Her heart and home reflect the beauty and harmony of God. Every time I visit her, I come home with practical tips and creative ideas.
She is my cheerleader, prayer warrior, and constant friend.
She mothered my own children when I couldn’t and never shamed me for my lack.
She taught me to plant roses next to daisies so love and cheer could bloom together, two qualities she emulates.
Thank you Mom for planting seeds of creativity that continue to blossom in me.
I also honor Mary, my former Twelve-step sponsor. This courageous woman modeled independence. She took me into that tree and imparted the spirit to overcome the distractors that hit my life’s windshield. She learned to master her own co-dependency and addiction and then taught a host of other women to ride our own dragons.
Thank you Mom and Mary, my angels of mercy, for imparting God’s grace and for teaching me common sense.