You’ve heard of all the banal platitudes like “Never take ‘no’ for an answer,” “If you fall off the horse, get right back up,” and ”When there’s a will, there’s a way” – I’m almost certain my mother coined all of those phrases.
My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at a young age when she started losing vision in one of her eyes. Fortunately that symptom subsided and she continued living her life as she intended. Four kids and a few decades later, the disease awoke again with a force to be reckoned with. Our warm summer beach vacations were moved to cool mountain ranges in order to minimize her exhaustion. Our Sunday afternoon bike trails shortened. Our floor-level card games moved to higher ground. Afternoon rests became a daily routine. Our everyday Mom activities had changed forever. At least that’s how I saw it.
My mother, on the other hand, never let that be the case. She never sought out pity from others, she never asked for help. Anything we did before, she’d find the strength to do it in her own new way. She wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer, she got back up on her horse, and she found a way. Yes, her everyday mobility has shifted towards a slightly different way of living, but life hasn’t changed.
While many cases of MS can be much more debilitating than the one my mother battles, I encourage those suffering from this life-changing disease to maintain the strength my mother has shown me. In honor of her continuing battle and as a tribute to her perseverance, this April I took on a personal “Swim for MS” challenge to swim 500 laps and raise $1,000 in 30 days. Sound hard? Not when you have this kind of inspiration.
It’s that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us, bringing times of celebration and joy to rekindle holiday feelings that make the season unique. Regardless of one’s traditions or religion, we gather together this time of year to celebrate love, new hopes, and remembrance of times past. It is a time to remember those we hold dear to our hearts and to join with them to celebrate the magic of the season—the lights, sounds, and feelings that make the holidays truly special in their own way. Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year!
Be sure to read the next MSAA Conversations blog posting scheduled for Wednesday, December 26th, 2012.
“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.”
- Mother Teresa
“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human, are created, strengthened and maintained.”
- Winston Churchill
Sometimes they can drive us crazy. We can argue, bicker and disagree on just about anything. I remember one Thanksgiving where my uncle, who thinks of himself as a turkey specialist, complained of how the turkey looked undercooked. He argued with my mother (the cook) about it all day, and yet continued to eat piece after piece of it even before the rest of the meal was finished. Yes, our relatives can really have their moments. We find that they can be our greatest allies, and yet some days, present us with our greatest challenges. They are family, and as the saying goes, “can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”
But there can be moments of such love and warmth within a family that have the ability to trump unforeseen obstacles, lighten unbearable situations, and bring insight we may have overlooked. At the end of the day we are who we are, and reflecting on the love and support of our “family,” biological or not, can oftentimes help us to face an unpredictable day. Share some of your memorable family experiences and the moments that make you feel loved by those closest to you…