Monday, April 20, 2015

The Goddess Within

In 2012, my parents' marriage ended after almost 39 years. It was heartbreaking to watch, not just as their daughter, but as an adult, understanding all the ramifications of a split of such magnitude and depth. As a woman, my search for the right man was largely based on the example my parents had set for my brother and I growing up. Their divorce blew everything I once believed in out of the water.  As time has gone on, I see both of them happier and healthier apart than together, and ultimately that is what I want for them.
I had been living with my parents for some time before their split due to my own health issues. I was too ill to live alone. My grandma had also been living with us, and I was able to provide any help she needed during the day while my parents were at work. It allowed us some quality time together. When they split, my grandma went to live with my aunt, and my mom and I stayed in the house. She and I have always been best friends, so being roommates was natural. For some, living with their mothers may sound like a nightmare. For me, it's a blast and a blessing!
Over the past three years, my mom and I have been there for each other during some tough times. The divorce wasn't easy for either of my parents. They signed their divorce papers one day short of their 39th wedding anniversary. Not even one week later, my mom's brother, Rusty, died of cancer. My mom was heartbroken but stoic. I was able to be there for my mom for what seemed like the first time in my life. She has always been a strong, dynamic female role model.  Even under the unbelievable stress and sadness of both losses, she found a way to carry on with amazing grace and humility. I kept waiting for her to break down, but she never did, and never has.
Yesterday I woke up, and my mom wasn't here. I texted her, and she said she'd be back in a bit. Not long after this, I'm sitting in the living room, and here come my mom carrying a tree up our front walk into our courtyard. Granted, it's not a HUGE tree, but it is, nonetheless, a tree. Our courtyard has almost an enchanted garden look to it. Lots of stones, angels, a few Buddha statues, lots of wind chimes, bird feeders; all in all it has a magical feel to it.
The one thing we've been missing is a red bud tree that once hung over the whole area. It was ruined in a storm several years ago. Since then, my mom has wanted to replace it. So yesterday, my mom went out and bought one, put it in her Camry and drove home with it coming out the sunroof. She is not a woman to be stopped when she has a vision. At first she was going to wait and have my brother plant it, but I convinced her we could do it.
So there we were, two women in flip-flops standing in the rain, me with my little shovel helping to break the tree out of it's container, and she with her big shovel digging a whole deep enough for the roots to have room to grow. The wind was blowing, the chimes were singing, and we're planting this living thing into the living earth. It was organic, cathartic and empowering.
I've never been one to garden, but yesterday it felt amazing to be part of this process with my mother and soul sister. Being out there, feeling the rain on my skin and the wind in my hair, it felt like nature was washing away some of the hurt from the past few years. Between the divorce and some of the darkest times of my life due to health issues, she and I have had our share of troubles, but we have survived.
She always picks herself up in the face of adversity and plows forward. She accepts her limitations, but she is always finding a new way to get things done when she can do it. She turns her worries into prayers and leaves the rest up to God. She loves unconditionally, and she gives her love generously to people, even when those people aren't acting all that lovable. I know that from personal experience. Most importantly, she loves herself, and witnessing that every day is perhaps the best lesson I have ever been given.

Yesterday evening, the wind was blowing, the chimes were singing, and my mom and I saw our fledgling tree standing straight and beautiful. I looked over at my mom, and I said, "You are teaching me to be the goddess every woman should know she is."

My mom turned from me to gaze back upon our beautiful courtyard and then turned back to look in my eyes, "Of everything I've taught you, THAT, to me is the most important. It is the most precious. I am so grateful to be setting that example for you."

EVERY woman is a goddess within.