Last week I heard the phrase, "If you are not challenged then you are not changed." Granted it was from my gym instructor but it really got me thinking about how true that statement is. I think we have a tendency to become complacent when things are going well or our lives are in kind of a status quo state. At least I know that is true for me. When things are all rainbows and sunshine I think we tend to go about our lives without any regards to why we are the way we are. We often take things for granted when we don't have to work for them.
I realized that the last seven years of my life have been full of challenges and every one of them ultimately changed me in some way. I'm not saying that I am over the moon that we had so many struggles but in a way I am thankful for them because they have changed me for the better. My cancer diagnosis forced me to take a long hard look at my life and my health. It forced me to make some physical changes and lose a substantial amount of weight if I were to have a chance at having a biological child. Infertility also changed me. This was a harder challenge to accept because it lasted for years, caused lots of tears and most of all too much loss. So how could all those things change me for the good? First off, my son is more loved because I know what a true blessing he is. Because of those struggles I am a better mother. I find that I can take those tantrums, irritations and annoyances that come with being a mom in stride because I am so thankful just to be experiencing them. I am a better wife because I know what G has gone through and has never left my side. Most of all the losses we experienced make me that much more thankful for life and everyday that I have with the people I love most. Each day is a gift and I'm not going to waste it!
Really when you stop to think about it I bet there are challenges early in your life that changed or shaped you into the person you are today. I began to think a little more about who I am and how I got to this place in my life and I realized that I can pinpoint the moment in my life that I knew I wanted to be a mother and the type of mom I wanted to be. My parents divorced when I was very young. My father basically left our lives for good with the exception of a quick pop in every few years or so. That left my mom to take care of two children on her own. Thankfully she had amazing parents who helped out in anyway they could, which often meant taking care of us. I idolized the "room mom" while I was growing up because she was able to be there and help the teacher with parties, field trips, etc. I wanted that so badly with my mom but because she was raising two kids on her own she was not able to be there as much as I know she wanted. It was at that point that I knew what kind of mom I wanted to be. It was from then on that I had the deep desire to have a family and raise children at home. I know that probably seems old fashioned to many of you but to me it is a way of life that I want for my son. I don't ever want him to question where his father is. I don't ever want him to wonder if his mom will be at his ball game, school assembly or awards ceremony. Don't get me wrong, my mother is amazing and she and I are very close because of what we went through and that too I would not change. So you see, my challenges early in life changed me for the good in the way that I parent as well as the closeness in my relationship with my mother.
I guess my instructor was right...you are not changed if you are not challenged. I for one am grateful for the challenges in my life because of the person I am today, the family I have and the life I live. I will carry the scars of those challenges for the rest of my life but I will display them proudly because they are wounds that gave me my son!