Mom taught me to fly. To soar. No matter what, Mom believed in me and supported me. Never once did I doubt she loved me. Today is her birthday. She would have been eighty-four. Mom passed away almost eighteen months ago, and I miss her every day.
On the most disappointing day of school, Mom’s comforting words reminded me no matter what happened, she knew I could fly, even when others wanted to keep me on the ground.
Grounded by Disappointment
I slammed the back door when I came in from school.
Before I took even one more step, Mom said, “What happened? Are you okay?”
Tears filled my eyes and I couldn’t stop them from rolling down my cheeks. Before I could answer, Mom hugged me. She didn’t say anything, just hugged me with one hand and rubbed my back with the other.
After a couple of minutes, I took a deep breath and blurted, “I didn’t get into Waves. The club I wanted to be in. You know I’m in Sailorettes. It’s for eighth grade and Waves is the same thing for ninth grade. But today I found out I didn’t make it. All my friends did but not me. “
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” Mom said gently. Do you want to sit down and tell me about it?”
“There’s nothing else. I wanted to be in Waves but I didn’t make it. They didn’t say why, just “Sorry, but you haven’t been selected.” I don’t get it.” A few more tears escaped.
Encouraged to Fly
Mom bent over and picked up the books I dropped on the kitchen floor. She put them in my hands, gave one last hug, and sent me to wash my face and change out of my school clothes. “If you want to tell me more, I’ll be in the kitchen.”
I sniffled while I changed my clothes. Then I sat down at my desk to start my homework. I wanted to stop thinking about stupid Waves and get my homework done before my little sister, Robyn, whirled into the room. At six, Robyn didn’t have to do homework by herself. Once she came into our room, it was impossible to concentrate.
Pretty soon, immersed in my English assignment, I heard the doorknob softly turn. Mom walked in and sat on my bed. “How are you doing, Sweetie?”
“Better,” I said.
“Good. I know you’re upset, so I’ll keep Robyn out of here until after dinner. And I emptied the dishwasher for you, so when you’re done with your homework, why don’t you lay on your bed and read for awhile?”
Mom thought of everything! Nothing could take my mind off my troubles like a good book.
Before she left the room, Mom stopped for another hug, “I love you, Debbie, she said. “Whoever made the decision about Waves doesn’t know what they’re missing.”
Strength to Fly
Not becoming a Wave that year didn’t impact my life. I stayed friends with all the girls that made it into that club for the rest of our school days. Mom’s words gave me the courage to find out why I didn’t make the cut, so when I started high school the next year I could do things differently. In high school, I was elected Girls’ League President.
Mom being home that day, being home every day, and her unconditional love, made a huge impact. I knew without a doubt I could always count on her. No matter what, she was in my corner. She thought I was special and wonderful. Her words that day, “They don’t know what they’re missing,” gave me the confidence to try again.
Those words strengthened me and helped me learn to fly.
Now, on my worst days, when someone challenges me or makes me feel rejected or stupid or unnecessary, I think of Mom. Her hug, her words, her encouragement, her love.
And I fly.
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