Happy birthday, mama

While we are not back to our regularly scheduled blog rhythm just yet, we most DEFINITELY did not want this day to go by without making a fuss over a very special lady in our lives…pretty much the most important one.

Without her, really, none of this would be here. None of us, none of our families. She, our matriarch, our head of household, our guiding star, is our Mama, and today is her BIRTHDAY!!!!!

So here’s to you, Mommy – happy, happy birthday! We hope you know how much you are loved, looked up to, and admired. You hold a special place in each of our hearts, lessons and love unique to each one of us. You’ve set incredible examples for us, helped whenever needed (even when we didn’t know we needed it) and loving us regardless and no matter what.

Mom

Mom

We love you and hope you have the most beautiful day, filled with so much love, light and laughter your heart stays full forever.

Love,

Your baby girls
~ Weather Vane Sisterhood

 

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Dear Mama

The Sisterhood got together and decided to each write a small note to *our* mom for this Friday’s post. We all know that when it comes to our mom, we’ve got it made. So, Mom – here’s to you! ❤

The ladies, back in the day

L to R: Toni, Mama, Andreah, Jacqui, Julia

~~~

Mom,

After my labour with Sophie, I apologized for my own 40-hour birthing marathon I made you go through. Whenever the babies are sick, I’m so grateful for all the nights you sat up with me, your own sickly baby. When I say words that I’ve heard you say a hundred times to guide my babies, I recall where they’ve come from and am so blessed to have you helping to grow my own loves. Becoming a mother has given me so much more appreciation for what you did when we were young and what you still do, every day, for your grown daughters. You were and are incredible. Thank you for that.

This Mother’s Day I hope you take time for you, time to reflect on the journey you have traveled, and then give yourself the praise you deserve. I’ve discovered on this tumultuous journey of mine that mothers have to give a million times…and then one more. That even when the day is over, the tasks still go on, the care still remains, the love and comfort still continues. And I know that every day you worry over us, your girls, and our men and our babies and our futures and our lives, that you carry us still in your heart. I’m so grateful for that, but please, in your moments of need, remember how strong you are and how you have four very impressive progress reports of your parenting walking around, like (semi-)decent citizens, who are finding their way because you raised them to do so.

I love you, Mom. More than I can express, more than words can illuminate. Thank you for all you are and do. Thank you.

Love, Julia

~~~

Mama,

My guiding light, my northern star, my constant unconditional source of love – mama.

I’m not sure there are words for how much you have done and do for me, for us, for everyone that is lucky to be loved by you. Your benchmark is a lofty goal and I am not sure I will ever measure up.

Thank you for never giving up on me – even when I broke your heart and made it impossible to love me. That kind of love has been instilled in each of your girls and I see it in our lives – you taught us to love immensely and without condition and to forgive, always.

Thank you for letting me grow in my own time and never rushing the process. For knowing when to fight for me and when to let me duke it out. And when I got my ass handed to me, thank you for always being there to kiss my wounds better and wipe the tears.

You’re the mama I aspire to be for my step-babies – the one that friends and boys are warned about, the one they can count on to always be on their side and the one to give them the space and time to become their own people.

I am so thankful we’ve made it to the other side of this relationship and am lucky to count you as one of my best girl friends. I still have a lot of growing to do and will always need you in my corner. You’re our warrior and my mama bear.

Most importantly, thank you for deciding there should be four. You literally created three of my best friends and that is pretty amazing.

Mama, I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my mama you’ll be.

Love, Toni

~~~

Dear Mom,

For the times you drove to get me because you said to call you any time and you would be there.

For the times you sat up with me after a sezuire, and took on my battles like they were your own.

For the times you sacrificed the last fry for me …Thank you.

For the times you held me in your arms, and wiped away the tears.

For the heartbreaks and stomachaches that you soothed and healed.

For the never-ending unconditional love … Thank you

For the advice, and the words of wisdom – for making me remember who I am – Thank you.

Two words are not enough but they are all I have. You have done too much, you do too much and still you still strive and push for more. You inspire me, I am in awe of you.

Thank you for being the best role model a girl, young lady and woman could have – because of you I know that sometimes you have to fight through a heartbreak in order to find your Prince Charming. That education is a constant in order to achieve your dreams.

You are my mother, my best friend, my role model, my confidante.  You are my hero.

I love you Momma, and hope you know that I appreciate  you every day of every year, forever and always.

~ Jacqueline

~~~

Mommy, thank you. I literally cannot say those words to you enough. You are not only my mom, but one of my best friends. We have been through so much together, and have fought so hard for the relationship we have, and I am blessed to have had you right beside me fighting for me the same way I was fighting for you. I am also so incredibly proud of you. You have come so far, not just in your education, but from every pain and heartache from the past. I am so happy to see you smile and live such an amazing and happy life. You make it easy to come visit, and hard to leave. You have worked so hard so we could have so much. You have made me a better person, and gotten me to calm down so that I can have actual relationships with my sisters. You have brought us together, even when we were mad beyond belief and gotten me to work through my problems, even when I didn’t want to face them. You have given me more strength than you know, and I love you so much in so many complex ways it is almost impossible to describe.

You have been my rock, and my guiding star. You have helped me in whatever way I needed, and have given me and us so much of yourself. You have worked impossible miracles, and come up with solutions so simple that leaves me in awe, wondering why I didn’t come up with that.

Thank you for taking my anger, and loving me even when I wasn’t very lovable. Thank you for guiding me to my future, even if I was kicking and screaming the entire time.

Thank you for knowing that something was wrong, even when I didn’t want to admit it. I know I got angry at you that day you suggested I see and talk to someone, and I know I caused you pain when Jacqueline talked to you about that stupid day, when I almost made the dumbest decision of my life.

Thank you, Mommy, for the smallest things, to the biggest. Thank you for being there, and thank you for always being there; I wouldn’t know what to do without you.

I love you.

~ Andreah

~~~

Motherhood: I love this choice

When my sisters and I sat down and decided to honor motherhood this week, I have to admit I experienced a fair amount of anxiety about my post.

I didn’t know if I should write about what motherhood means to me because of the amazing examples in my life, if I should write about the part of me that as a woman, I’m not quite sure I have what it takes to be a mother, or if I should draw from my experience as a step-mama.

I decided to write from my heart.

Motherhood to me is a choice. It’s not a must-have right of passage because society deems it to be the way it is supposed to be, it is a choice. It is the conscious and sub-conscious choosing, every day from the day you decide to create life, until your last breath, to often put another’s needs, wants and desires before your own. It is a choice I wish more women would be more conscious of making. It is a choice I wish some women would realize they are allowed to choose not to make without fear or judgement – at least they should be. I love this choice.

Sometimes the children you choose to mother are not yours by birth-right, but are brought into your life because little did you know just how much you needed them. And sometimes you get to be the person they need. That’s the choice I made. It’s not to say that I won’t one day have a baby of my own, but for now, helping to raise Michael’s children is the right choice for me. Hearing M introduce me to her new host-family via Skype as her “mere”, the “I love you” I get unprompted from J when we’re dropping him off after our weekend together, lets me know that while I am not a necessity in their lives, I am wanted, loved and appreciated by them. I love this choice.

M, myself and J ♥

M, myself and J ♥

Sometimes the mothering we choose to do is for our siblings or our sibling’s children. These past few months I have caught myself on a few occasions mothering my big sister – standing up for her when she couldn’t do it herself, sending her for naps and time outs when I could see on her face she so desperately needed one, making sure she said “no” to people when she could not handle another responsibility being put on her and sometimes even refusing to let her handle the tough stuff on any given day. I love this choice.

Sometimes the only comfort good enough in the world is that of our own maternal mama. To this day, telling my mother about something that is hurting me, something I’m facing that is hard or even telling her I got a speeding ticket, can be the biggest release of emotion of all – even a week later when the wounds are not as fresh. There is something about the way my mom comforts me that gives my must-always-have-your-shit-together-self the permission I need to let go and let it all out. Sometimes I even choose not to be fully open about my heartaches to anyone but my mama. I love this choice.

Sometimes the mother we choose is our sisters. Recently, I received some news that personally reminded me of my own heartache I had been facing. Thankfully, my sisters were not far away. In minutes I found myself on Julia’s couch with a tissue box in my lap, earnestly being reminded that what I was feeling was not, as I had repeatedly referred to it, “stupid”, but completely relevant, real and appropriate. A tea, some more tears and a piece of Julia-baked cake later and my heart was reminded why God had chosen these beautiful women as my siblings and why life chose them as my best friends. I love this choice.

I love this choice!

I love this choice!

To all of the mamas out there: I choose to admire you, honor you (not just on the second Sunday of May), and be in awe of you. Your courage, strength, grace and wisdom are breathtaking. I love this choice.

~ Toni

Guest post – The importance of moms

Ben, Julia’s husband and knight-in-shining armor, is our guest blogger today! He’s kicking off our Mother’s Day Week by writing about the mothers in his life. Watch for more posts about motherhood all next week in honour of mothers and their day, Sunday May 11, 2014. 

~~~

Mom: What day is it?

Me: Second Sunday in May.

This is a conversation I had frequently with my Mom. It usually followed my asking her for something. Can I go out to my friend’s house? Can you proofread my essay? Can I borrow the van (there’s no way I drove it as much as you did, right?)?

It was her unique way of saying “Yes, but make sure you appreciate this.”

This is to say nothing of the things that she provided even when I didn’t directly ask for them: a home, food (I ate A LOT), clothes. Things that are easy to overlook, until you have to provide them yourself.

Moms give.

Moms teach.

She had other, less subtle ways of reminding me of the importance of Mom (though I don’t recall her referring to herself in the 3rd person). I remember her driving to and from Confirmation classes, during which she would ask us to recite the Commandments and Articles of Our Faith, our memory homework. She would call out one of them and “volunteer” one of us to recite it. Of course her favourite has always been the fourth commandment (I’m sure she asked for this one more than any of the others). She could still ask for it today, and I would be able to tell her (here it is as I remember it):

Source: The Ten Commandments

Source: The Ten Commandments

“Hounor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

What does this mean?

We shall fear and love God that we do not despise nor vex our parents or superiors. But rather love, honour, obey, serve and esteem them.”

Moms drive.

Moms teach (because we have so much to learn).

I have no difficulty saying that my Mom has been one of the greatest influences in my life. But as I grew and experienced more, other Moms came into the picture of my life, with a similarly profound impact.

When I was dating my future wife (you may know her as Julia), I was warned by a mutual friend, not to upset the “Mama Bear.” She was fiercely protective of her girls. I’m happy to say, I made it through the courtship without being mauled. Our relationship started off slowly, tentatively, but it grew until she became my Other Mom. It is a title she has earned. I refuse to call her mother-in-law, or any of the other less savoury names.

Moms protect.

Moms accept.

One of the great parts of becoming a parent was watching Julia grow into a Mom. Even before we were married, she was a mother and champion to those around her. Throughout her journey with and battle against PPD, she has become a champion of the cause and made a number of new friends. She used her own experience to empathize with and inspire others.

When we were deciding how to handle Lillian’s unique situation, with the doctor appointments in Toronto, weekly speech therapy and complicated hearing equipment, Julia stepped up – instinctively – and became the stay-at-home mom. In the end, it was a decision that we made considering all the facts, although her initial reaction speaks to the Mom she is.

Moms help.

Moms nurture.

Moms work relentlessly work at a job that no one in their right mind would willingly accept.

 

What day is it? The second Sunday in May. Now what are you going to do about it?

~ Ben

 

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

Dear 16-year-old me

Dear 16-year-old me,

This is the year that you change high schools (by choice this time), the year you start grade 10 as the new girl again, meet and fall in love with two of your still-close girl friends, meet and fall in like with a few boys and then finally meet and fall in love with your first serious boyfriend. He will teach you that laughter really is one of the most important things in life and also that saying goodbye to people you love is hard, but sometimes completely necessary.

Michelle, myself, Katey

Michelle, myself, Katey

I want to tell you that you should be a little more sure of yourself, you’ve got more to offer the world than you give yourself credit for and you shouldn’t put so much weight on the negative influences you’ve faced. I want to tell you that your anger was so, so wasted and it took some joy out of what could have been even better moments. I wish I could tell you that if you could have been a little softer, a little sooner, you might not have been so quick to cut people out of your life. But, you eventually get it in your own time – go you!

You will know by now that your curves – especially your boobs – can and will be both a curse and a blessing. You will one day embrace them for both sides of the coin, especially when it comes time to attend court for your first speeding ticket…don’t worry, he lets you off way easier than the cop did.

You will kick yourself when you realize you should have thanked your big sister sooner for stepping in, every time, without question, whenever, wherever and however you might have needed her – she kind of raised and saved your ass…a lot. (Seriously, thank you, Julia.)

Where would I be without you?

Where would I be without you?

You don’t know it yet, but you are about to make the bold, almost stupid, decision of not attending college directly after high school – I want to thank you for that. Seriously, good move. You get to meet the next great loves of your life – your future fiancé, the man you will marry and his beautiful children – because he remembers you years after your stint in the automotive industry is over. He’ll contact you on a site called Facebook (which I won’t even attempt to explain to you) and the rest is history.

Future You still doesn’t fully understand the feeling women are talking about when they say they “can’t wait to have a baby!” and that’s still okay, but stay open. Try not to let the influential voices in your life dictate this one for you – it is a choice that only you are allowed to make as you are the only one who will live with the results of that choice. And when women who don’t understand your indecisiveness about it make you feel small and ashamed, please don’t let them get into your heart. Not wanting or wanting children of your own does not shape the woman you are and the quality of life that you will have. Those women can suck it.

I wish I could find some way to tell you to be kinder and to go easier on your mama (not that you would have listened, you mule). She has always been your biggest cheerleader and your biggest defender – whether you believe me or not. One day you will be blessed to count her as one of your best friends and won’t ever be able to make it up to her for all the heart attacks and aches you’ve caused her. No matter what path you will choose – even the decisions you’re not proud of (there are eventually a few, trust me) – she will never leave your side. She’s also kind of the best example EVER for a mother’s love and will unknowingly provide the strength and wisdom you need when you become a step-mom.

mama and me

Mama and me

Also, it turns out there is a way to get what you want out of life without fighting and building brick walls at the first hint of heartache. You don’t have to be so ready to fight for your life at a moment’s notice and you will learn the hard way that people will only love and care about you when it’s good for them too. You will also learn that if you continue to make it impossible, they will walk. And some never come back.

Please don’t stop painting. I guarantee you will regret it.

You foolishly will stop running when you begin your first full time job. Thankfully, somewhere in your mid-20s you will fall in love all over again – with the freedom you feel mid-stride, heart pumping, legs aching, sweat dripping, telling yourself just one more kilometer, every kilometer, until you feel satisfied. It’s an even more amazing and rewarding relationship the second time around. ***Bonus hint: this rule DOES NOT apply to all relationships…but you’ll learn that one eventually too.***

Yes, you still cry easily – when angered, when happy, when sad, when overwhelmed, when frustrated, when elated…even commercials do you in. You don’t yet fully love this trait so innate to you, but you get used to it. Eventually. I hope.

You should be warned that people will tell you whatever you want to hear to get what they need or want from you. You learn this rule the hard way a few times (See a theme here? Donkey.). However, be grateful that it still has yet to harden your heart and you learn to always hope for the best from people, every time. The good thing with this is you’re a lot happier this way and more in tune with your gut feel about people or situations.

16 year old me

16 year-old-me

You still have an amazing circle of people that love you and want only the best for you – you have just become a whole lot more appreciative of them and almost hyper-aware of how incredible your friends, family and loves are.

Please, try to remember daily – you are so blessed. Never forget what God has done for you.

Love,

~Toni

Guest post – Blessed

To celebrate our 50th post, we asked our mom to write a guest blog. Thank you so much for reading with us this far! We can’t wait for the next 50. And to our Mommita – we LOVE you!

As I anxiously await each new submission to the blog, I realized something: I crave connection with my babies every day. Even as they live their lives, I still want and need to be a part of their lives. After all, I am a mom and will always be. Oh, I have added a few titles to my repertoire, Grammie being my most favorite of new additions next to girlfriend. Before this blog there were days when I had no connection with them either by phone, chat, email, text or Facebook updates. Those days I felt almost empty; something was missing. You see, my greatest accomplishment and joy are my four babies. Just thinking about them makes me cry with joy and pride. When my girls asked me to write for the blog, I responded, “You know I am going to cry,” to which Julia and Toni immediately responded, “I know,” and, true to form, I did.

I love being their mom and always have. I never doubted that I would be proud of each of them, that I would be there for them, that I would do whatever was needed to help them, guide them or rescue them. As I see what lives in their hearts, I see the girls I know, love and adore. I am blessed!

The ladies, back in the day

The ladies, back in the day (L to R: Toni, Mom, Andreah, Jacqui, Julia)

My girls, each in their own way, were my strength as I ventured to take the most challenging of steps in my life to be me again, a woman, a single woman. They were my cheering section, along with their men and the many friends, Dianne and Paula to just name a few, and family. With each step I took, from renovating the house in preparation to sell, to moving to a new town, they were there. It was hard for me to find the courage I needed. I was scared – let’s face it, I had been a part of a couple for 28 years. I had never done this before, be just me. But I am absolutely sure that it was even harder for my girls to see me venture out, dating (we call it shopping for shoes), harder for them to start a new life without the two parents they loved not be in one place.

Oh, what had I done? How have I failed them? What kind of example am I to end my marriage? This was all I could think as I watched each of them struggle to find the balance in all this. It broke my heart to see the impact on each. When I expressed this to Julia so many moons ago, she said something to me that has stuck: you have shown us that it is okay to say enough, it is okay to say this is not good for me and move on. I hear my OH so wise daughter each time I make a change in my life.

Don’t get me wrong – if I had to do it all over again I would not change a thing about our life as a family. I loved my life, loved being his wife, rallied in the title that will be mine forever- Mommy, Mom, Mommita – joyful in what was “our family” no matter how flawed it was, it was ours. Through all the trials and joys, that is where we grew, where the bond as women began. Without all those experiences we would not be who we are today – strong, independent and dependent, loving, giving and, yes, emotional women.

A wise man once said to me that if you put God in your life and seek His favour first, all things are possible. He was right. Through many prayers, I found an amazing man who I loved and lost. I was lead to an amazing job that I did not apply for but got that I love and still have today. The many of the lessons in my life have shown me that it is okay to be just me, that no matter what society says I should have done, I did my very best. I am not perfect, but that is okay too. Over time and putting God first in my morning prayers and pleadings through the tough moments, I have found a new love that makes me joyful and filled with laughter. With that love comes new joy and even more family to love. I wake up every morning in love with my man, in love with our families, so happy to be me. I am blessed as only God can bless me, with a life that is worth living with no regrets!

~ Christine (a.k.a. Mom)

If you’d like to write a guest post and join in the Weather Vane Sisterhood fun, email us at weathervanesisterhood at gmail dot com. We’d love to have you!

Everyone remembers their first

I remember my first seizure like it was yesterday.

There are very few that stand out to me, mostly because I choose to forget them – they aren’t the warm fuzzy memories that mark a special occasion – but everyone remembers their first.

I was 17 and getting ready for prom. I had bought a gorgeous coral dress, which was a little too big, and my mom had picked myself and Andreah (Dee) up from school to get it hemmed. She took us to an apartment in a nearby city, which stood adjacent to a mall. Whose apartment it was I couldn’t tell you, but I do remember that my mom found the seamstress through someone at church. I remember that she had just had a baby. Before we went up the elevator to her floor, I remember telling my mom I was hungry, to which she promised to pick something up once we were done. I don’t think I was actually hungry, but I couldn’t put my finger on what I was feeling.

The seamstress had just finished placing the pins with precision in the fabric, making a map for herself later to follow, when she asked how I thought the dress looked… That’s when it happened…

I tasted copper, or like a penny was on the back of my tongue, everything got hot, I was falling, and I couldn’t grab anything.

Then pain, the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I wish I could compare it to something else, but there is nothing I have ever felt before that could come close to it. The best I can do for you is a muscle spasm, but much more intense, and just as it came it was gone. My mom will tell you it was longer than what I felt – when I am having a seizure, tracking their length is the last thing on my mind.  I was tired and I wanted to do nothing more than to sleep, but the pain kept me in a state of between, as if I was awake, but still dreaming.

I felt hands, familiar hands, the hands of my mom who was now calmly telling Dee to call 911 as she was taking the dress off. I could feel the pins scratch against my skin and it was a comfort to feel something other than that pain.

“It’s okay I am here, I have you. It’s okay. Andreah you are going to need to tell them the apartment number and the floor. I am here, I have you.”

My eyes wouldn’t open…sleep, my body was telling me, just sleep.

“Andreah, grab her clothes and give them to me. You need to calm down, I have to take care of Jacqueline. She is going to be okay, just breathe and talk to the police.”

Then more hands, hands of someone I didn’t know, and my mom was giving the hands my information.

“She fainted and hit her head, she started to shake, I don’t know what happened, she was saying she was hungry, she is hypoglycemic.”

Warm air – I was outside – then a woman’s voice unfamiliar to me, “We are taking her to the hospital. You can meet us there.”

I was alone, blood was being taken from me, something was being pushed into my arm, another needle. Then dark and quiet.

I remember waking up in a wheelchair, I was in a waiting room, and Julia and Toni were there, and Ben… Oh, Ben. Andreah was sitting, staring at me. I looked up and saw Julia, I wanted to say hello, but I couldn’t find the words. Instead a classy stream of drool came out of my mouth, and tears from my eyes. I was so tired, and sore, then sleep came again.

I was in a bed being woken up by a nurse – if I had a concussion I wasn’t allowed to sleep (which is a stupid rule). Mom was still with me. Thank God – there would have been no way without her. My protector, fighting for me with nurses, and the doctors that I saw. Waiting for me through the numerous scans throughout the night. All the while holding it together.

Later, I was up and fully functional. The first one is always the hardest to get through, at least in my case. I took them like a champ after that! The doctor told me I had had a tonic-clonic or a grand mal seizure. He recommended we follow up with a neurologist as soon as possible, because they couldn’t see why I had had one. Thus started the battle that is epilepsy.

There have been so many seizures after that, and soon after my first grand mal seizure, I would come to find out I had had many more before it called complex partial seizures.

I don’t like talking about it, because I hate the look of sympathy in people’s eyes and I in no way have it worse than many other people with epilepsy. I have never had to have major surgery in order to improve my way of life. Yes, I have been yo-yo’d from medication to medication, but I found what works and now I am four months strong seizure-free with no medication.

I have the utmost empathy for those who live and fight epilepsy every day, constantly looking for a cure, medication, therapy, or treatment that will help them cope with their seizures. The brain is a tricky mistress and she is constantly changing and challenging us. I also know that a lot of us couldn’t do it without our amazing support systems, taking us to appointments, watching helplessly as we go through yet another one.

I am so lucky to have someone in every corner of my life who has been there for me during an “episode”. I have been babysat by my best friends when I was changing medication and couldn’t be alone, and held close by Cody while I was having yet another seizure in the middle of the night. My mom, who has driven from Waterloo in the middle of the night because I was having too many or getting calls midday from work, letting her know I had another one and she needs to come get me. Toni and Julia, who babysat me when Cody was away, especially Julia who has dropped everything to come pick me up from work so I can go home and sleep and she can watch me. Dee, who I first tortured, and who ever since has called me whenever I have one just to make sure I am okay.

And oh my goodness, my supervisors Terri and Andrea at work, who literally put in place a procedure to help me get through a seizure (some of my work family still have the procedure pinned to their desk areas, emergency numbers and all), especially Andrea who was designated my seizure buddy at work, who watched as I worked through one, and waited time and time again for me to wake up.  All the many mama bears (you know who you are) who waited until the bathroom was no longer “out of service” to know I was okay.

You all mean so much to me! There are no words…except these I have to share:

Before you can see the light, you have to deal with the darkness. - Dan Millman

Thanks for being my light. ❤

~ Jacqui

Ed. – For more information or to find out how to support epilepsy research, visit www.epilepsy.ca. Show your support for epilepsy research and people who live with epilepsy by wearing a purple ribbon on March 26, Purple DayWe LOVE you, Jacqui!

Purple Day Logo

Mama is always studying

Among the sisterhood, we have noticed quite the trend with our mama.

We hear about it when we want to plan a family event, set a wedding date, or need her help with something. It’s not something that is necessarily new; however it is something that has caught our attention, is becoming more frequent, and makes me incredibly proud of her.

Mama is always studying!

Known to some of you as Christine, our mom has always been an amazing example of a strong-willed, smart, determined and independent woman.

Growing up, I remember Mom worked hard to maintain a household, raise her daughters right (and in turn, deal with all of our sass), and support our entrepreneurial father any way she could with the family business. Helping our dad run their own company was not always the easiest task – she functioned as a Jill of all trades by balancing the books, completing payroll, managing HR, being the receptionist and overall customer service provider. While she had originally completed her college diploma as a Medical Office Assistant, she has always been a natural with numbers and has dedicated the majority of her professional life to accounting.

When our family experienced a tragedy that caused our parents to have to make the difficult decision of closing down the family business, my non-papered, well-trained accounting mother had to figure out what she wanted to do to help support our family. While she had years of experience to back her applications, she lacked the education to back her know-how. As God always provides for us at just the right time, Mom soon landed a temp job, which turned into a 15-year stint with a local church head office in the accounting department.

Being the incredibly hard worker she is, Mama quickly established herself in a role that would allow her the chance to do something she has always wanted to – go back to school and complete her CGA designation.

Mama began chipping away at her courses in 2005 and being witness to her dedication and drive is incredible. Regardless of the hiccups and setbacks she has had to overcome to continue in her pursuit, she has never second guessed her desire to reach her goal. Watching her push through some of her life’s biggest struggles and continue with her education is what inspired me to decide on a college diploma and apply for school.

mama and me date night

Mama and me date night

We often hear, “I can’t come for long, I have to study” from her when our über busy and event-filled family gets together. We chide her, and may jokingly roll our eyes when we hear it, but I think it’s safe to say that we all smile with pride at the thought of her driving hard toward her goals and being so close to watching her complete her diploma and then degree. I will most definitely be a mess of tears watching her walk at both of these occasions.

She wrote her insane-o External Auditing exam yesterday afternoon – I know she nailed it, but I’m sure she’s eagerly anticipating her results. As she told me the other day, “It’s a lot of work, but I see the light and it’s a good one.”

Mama – you are a super star in this sisterhood’s eyes.

~ Toni