Nature is such an inspiring place for me. It is raw beauty, peaceful, ugly, dark, and bright. It is every possible emotion we have a name for. But here, particularly, this moves me to longing.
We were fortunate enough to have a mental health family day last Sunday, and we were here. It’s a wildlife and nature preserve about an hour away from home. And I never want to leave it.
But this sitting place and a bench we passed make me think of something different.
In the next two months, we will be celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. But I need to share this.
Everyday is a day to celebrate those you love. Everyday is a day to appreciate those who have been a mentor in your life. Because if I could only for a day take turns on these benches with those who made such an impact in my life. Mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles, the ones waiting in heaven.
Most recently, my mother in law Felicia passed. Out of all the photos, this is my favorite. While the time I knew her she was bed bound, I see her full personality in this picture. She was spunky, loving, and accepting. Loving everyone. Her smile contagious. She unknowingly mentored me in forgiveness, acceptance, and unconditional love.
This is Patty. She was not a mentor only, but my other mom. She was my kick me in the butt not gonna let you fail Mom. I’m not dissing my mom. But there was a time my mom and I were not on good terms. And at 16 Patty loved me into healing. I learned to love myself, I learned how to love my kids by watching her love her girls. She helped me grow my love for helping others, having dreams, writing, and my faith. I watched everything she did. I didn’t have to be fake. I was good enough. She did so much more for me than I could ever put into words. On my hardest days, I still talk to her. Expecting her to directly tell me what the hell I need to do lol. Trust me, she held nothing back. But it was always in love.
That beautiful young woman on the right was Patty. And when I see this image, it’s an exact match for her daughter Mary. One of, I claim, my first children. She looks just like her. Mary and her sister Carole don’t understand that I see their mom so much when I talk to them, that I’m elated in joy and grieving at the same time. Patty will scold me when I see her again, but then she will hold me like she always did.
I’m gonna end up with a novel. Thanks for hanging with me through this post.
My grandparents, my dad, my great aunts and uncles. They were hard on me, but again with nothing but love. They mentored and grew me in character, hard work, loyalty, faithfulness, respect, determination, unconditional love, redirection, wisdom, my love for nature, appreciation of others, gratitude, among endless others.
Because of all these people making me a priority to mentor to, I love more deeply than most and break more easily as well. But I have a strength to keep going because I want to make them proud. I want to sit with them on these benches and say thank you. Though there are no words to cover a thank you good enough.