Inspired by @veshecco (Sorry @jenna I missed the note about tagging you! Thanks for the great inspiration. 💛)
  1. 5 - Beginning a job as substitute help in the school's kitchens.
    8 years ago, I had 5 young children and was just looking for something that would keep me busy during the day while they were in school and give me a little extra money. In the 9 years that followed, I have formed friendships, gained confidence, learned to love myself, and found a career that gave me a passion outside of motherhood again. I went from sub to cook to running the whole damn show. And I'm forever grateful to those wonderful ladies who welcomed me into the team.
  2. 4 - Finding out my (then) husband lied about going to AA.
    It had been bad for a while - finding hidden bottles, erratic behavior, abusive language in front of the kids and worse behind closed doors. I begged him to go to AA and he finally agreed. Told me elaborate stories about the meetings and his sponsor. I had hope we could be happy again. And then I saw him, when he was supposed to be at a meeting and he continued to lie when he got home. I moved out of our bedroom that night and spent the next 4 years on the pullout couch in the playroom.
  3. 3 - The summer I didn't have a home.
    3 years ago, when my ex left, we got evicted from our house because unbeknownst to me, he hadn't paid rent in several months & I couldn't afford to pay the debt. Thanks to my sister, I had a place to stay - a hotel room, but my kids had to stay with family. At the time, it seemed like the worst summer of my life, & I suppose it was, but it also allowed me time to heal & gather my strength, to remember who I am. It made everything that came after all the sweeter for having had the loss.
  4. 2 - The death of my father when I was 20. (I'm sorry this list has been such a downer. 😞 I promise tomorrow's is happy!!)
    He was 57 years old and died suddenly of a massive heart attack upon waking one June morning. I may have already been a wife and a mother by then, but that's the day I grew up. I was there when it happened. I was with my mom when the ambulance came. I was the one who called my siblings to tell them the news, and I remember this tiny little voice in my head saying "But I'm the baby. This isn't supposed to be my job. They're supposed to call me." That moment made me an adult.
  5. 1 - Having my daughter when I was 19.
    I was a bit of a flibbertigibbet when I was young, flitting from one thing to the next, not really serious about anything. I was groundless. And I was scared. I did my best to hide it behind false bravado, but that was the truth. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted and I was terrified. Then I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of second semester of my freshman year in college. And inexplicably, for the first time in my life, there was calm and purpose and direction and no hesitation.
  6. I became a mother.
    It was never something I had thought about when I pictured my future, not once. But suddenly, it was the only thing that made sense. Branwen made me a mom all those years ago, and I am forever grateful for it, especially in the current state of our society. Because I'm not raising my kids for me. I'm raising them for the world. For what they will contribute, for what they will fight for, for what they will innovate. What could be more significant than that?