What Is Depression?

“I’ve learned that people handle [depression] better if they understand it better. It’s kind of like women going through pregnancy. If they know why their body is doing what it’s doing, if they know where the pain is coming from, why it’s there, it’s more tolerable.”

In this video, Maurice W. Harker, CMHC (Certified Mental Health Counselor), gives some excellent insight into understanding and overcoming the cycle of depression and grief.

 

Who REALLY Defeated Hitler?

Who REALLY defeated Hitler?

 

Was it the Allies or the American reinforcements? Well, ask any Russian and you will hear them proudly say, “The Soviet Union.” And they aren’t that far off…

As a result of World War II, over 23.4 million Soviet citizens died—roughly 13% of their entire population. Put another way, for every American soldier that was killed in the war nearly 56 Soviets—civilian and military—were killed.

But their victory is more than just the number of their dead—it’s about the strength of their resolve and their hearts.

And of all the battles fought on the Eastern front, few involved more resolve and more heart than the Siege of Leningrad.

In the summer of 1942, the Nazis were rapidly tearing through Russian territory, destroying everything in their path. Adolph Hitler pompously declared that by 9 August, 1942, Nazis would celebrate the taking of Leningrad—a city historically and currently known as St. Petersburg.

But the resilience of the Russian people would cancel all of Hitler’s plans for celebration.

On 8 September, 1942, the Nazis surrounded the city of Leningrad, forming a blockade.

The city’s almost 3 million civilians (including about 400,000 children) refused to surrender and endured rapidly increasing hardships in the encircled city. Food and fuel stocks were limited to a mere 1-2 month supply, public transport was not operational and by the winter of 1941-42 there was no heating, no water supply, almost no electricity and very little food. In January 1942 in the depths of an unusually cold winter, the city’s food rations reached an all time low of only 125 grams (about 1/4 of a pound) of bread per person per day. In just two months, January and February of 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and starvation. Despite these tragic losses and the inhuman conditions the city’s war industries still continued to work and the city did not surrender. [Source: Saint-Petersburg.com]

By the end of the siege, the number of deaths in Leningrad  would outnumber those that died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

Under these conditions, in the midst of what would become an 872 day siege, the Symphony of Leningrad planned their “counter-offense.” They would perform the newly completed Seventh Symphony of Dmitry Shostakovich, a native of Leningrad, and would broadcast it on loudspeakers throughout the city and towards enemy lines.

The score, both long and complex, called for a 90-piece orchestra; and only half of the members of the symphony at Leningrad had survived the horrors of the siege.

Despite extra rations, many members of the symphony would faint from exhaustion during rehearsals. They had strength enough to play through the whole piece only once—three days before their big performance.

Their performance was set for the 9 August, 1942—it was no coincidence that the 9 August was also the date set by Hitler to celebrate the capture of Leningrad.

The Philharmonic Hall was packed – people came in their finest clothes; city leaders and generals took their places. The musicians, despite the warm August temperature, wore coats and mittens – when the body is starving, it is continually cold. Outside, throughout the city, people gathered to listen at loudspeakers. Hours earlier, Leonid Govorov, Leningrad’s military commander since April 1942, ordered a barrage of artillery onto the German lines to ensure their silence for long enough time for the work to be performed without interruption. Loudspeakers, on full volume, pointed in the direction of the Germans – the city wanted the enemy to hear.

‘This performance,’ announced Eliasberg in a pre-recorded introduction, ‘is witness to our spirit, our courage and readiness to fight. Listen, Comrades!’ And the city listened, as did the Germans nearby. They listened as the city of Leningrad reasserted its moral self.

At the end – silence. Then came the applause, a thunderous applause that lasted over an hour. People cheered and cried. They knew they had witnessed a momentous occasion. It was, as Eliasberg described later, the moment ‘we triumphed over the soulless Nazi war machine.’…

…Years after the war, Eliasberg met some Germans who had been sitting encamped in their trenches outside the city. On hearing the music, they told the conductor, they had burst into tears, ‘Who are we bombing?’ they asked themselves, ‘We will never be able to take Leningrad because the people here are selfless.’ [Source: History in a Minute]

So I ask again, who won World War II? Was it the Allies? The Americans? The Soviet Union?

I believe that the real victory of World War II came from the emaciated symphony of Leningrad. In a deeper sense, the real victories in life belong to those who never give up.

Feast or Famine?

Do you think of your life as a feast or famine?

A story is told about a horde of locusts that devastated certain parts of South Africa. The landowners did everything they could to prevent the locusts from eating their crops, but all of their efforts were useless. The feasting of the locusts had completely devastated the land.

Shortly afterwards, something amazing happened. The horde of locusts died, and their bodies were plowed into the land. In a twist of absolute irony, the bodies of the once destructive locusts became the fertilizer that produced the best crops the farmers ever had.

In like manner, our tragedies—though devastating and destructive—often contain a hidden potential for growth. Just as winter is essential for summer, tragedy is essential to an eventual triumph.

Feast or Famine

Grateful to Be Paralyzed?

In 2004, Meg Johnson fell off a cliff and broke her neck. Paralyzed and in a wheelchair, Meg is now a motivational speaker, inspiring audiences around the world with her personal motto, which she says is applicable for people of all abilities: When life gets too hard to stand, just keep on rollin’.

In an interview sponsored by ForwardWalking.com, Meg explained a few things she does to help her keep on rollin’ forward. Her opening statement will give you chills…

My favorite quote from our interview was when she said: “There’s nobody who can come over here and save me because the person who’s keeping me down is myself.” That line is so true. Oftentimes, we are the only true obstacles that are holding ourselves back from chasing our dreams and accomplishing great things.

I will forever be grateful that Meg and I were able to meet last year. She doesn’t know it (yet), but my interview with her changed my life. Her cheerful persistence in the midst of overwhelming odds quietly destroyed any of my own personal excuses (a most beautiful destruction, to be sure). She has inspired me to move keep rollin’ forward.

To learn more about Meg Johnson, please visit her website at www.MegJohnsonSpeaks.com

Spring Cleaning

My wife and I are currently packing up our house getting ready to move. It is amazing how many things have accumulated in the closets and drawers of our lives. Every drawer we open and closet we clean out leads us say, “Where did that come from,” “I forgot we had this,” or, “I’ve been looking for that!” The clutter in our homes will grow to fill the space available.  It is the same in our lives.  If we don’t consciously choose what we will fill our lives with, they will fill themselves with whatever comes along, and whoever requests our time first.

Wherever there is space something — whether a possession, person, or commitment — will grow to fill it.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to choose the possessions, people, and commitments of our lives, rather than have them choose us? Whether doing some spring cleaning, packing for a move, or taking regular inventory, it is important to differentiate between what is necessary and important to the life we hope to lead, and what is not. We must discern between what we put there by choice, and what simply grew to fill the empty space we provided? In the next few paragraphs

I invite you to take a few minutes today and explore the hidden corners, closets, drawers, and recesses of your life. See what you find.  Why is it there? How did it get there? What is its purpose? How long has it been since you used it?

———-

Things & Possessions

Our possessions become a part of us, and we a part of them. We use our time, attention, money, space, and resources to care for, keep up, and protect them. Our possessions become an outward expression of who we are on the inside.

Take a look around you – are the outward possessions of your life an accurate depiction of the inner state of your heart? If what you see is not who you want to be then something needs to change. We choose our possessions based on what is, or is not, important to us, or what we consider relevant and true in our lives.

We fill our lives with things which reflect on the outside how we feel about ourselves on the inside. So what do the possessions of your life say about you? As you think about the things in your life, consider the following:

  • What purpose does it serve?
  • How did it come into my life? Was it a gift, an accident, or a conscious acquisition?
  • Why do I have it?
  • Do I protect it and cherish it, or is it merely filler?
  • What is its purpose?
  • What benefits does it provide?
  • What does it cost me to keep it, in terms of space, time, money, attention, or other resources?
  • What does it invite me to be, or become, today and in the future?
  • What image does it portray to others if I am honest with myself?
  • And finally, looking at the answers to these questions, do its benefits outweigh its costs? Is it worth the weight I am required to bear as a result?

———-

People & Associations

Great men throughout the ages have said that we become the average of the people we associate with the most – in terms of our perspectives on life, religious beliefs, political views, finances, personalities, and characters. Looking at who you associate with the most, and after exploring the questions below, please consider – who are your friends becoming – and is that who you want to become?

If the answers to this question lead you to question who you associate with on a regular basis then please seek new friends, or have a conversation with your current friends about who they want to be, and how they plan to get there. If their aspirations line up with who you hope to become in your life, then all you need do is continue to walk that road together. On the other hand, if you find yourself walking in different directions, seeking to become different people, then perhaps the time to part ways has arrived?

George Washington said, “Associate yourself with men of good reputation, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”  And an unknown author said the following, “Be careful the environment you choose for it will shape you; be careful the friends you choose for you will become like them.”

As you think about the people you spend the most time with in your life ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do my friends and associations invite me to:

o   be better and become more, and to rise above who I have been, or to regress and forget the truths I have learned in my life, slipping back into mess from which I have escaped, or want to escape?

o   become more like myself, or more like them at the expense of my own identity?

o   instill, deepen, and expand more virtues in my life and character, or to let the vices, weaknesses, and addictions of life grow unchecked, or worse, to actively encourage them?

  • Who am I becoming by my association with them?
  • Who am I when I am with them?
  • Who am I after being with them?
  • Would their life be one I would choose to live? Is it a life I would want to live?
  • Are they a person I strive to emulate, or not?
  • And most importantly, what does my association with them invite me to be, or become, today and in the future?

———-

Commitments

No matter where we go, or what we do, commitments will fill our lives. Taking the kids to school, studying for a test, doing homework, going to work, filling our responsibilities at church, working around the house, or doing the laundry, are just a few of the things that we will be required to do. Many, if not all, of these commitments are beneficial in nature. But this is not always the case.

There are many commitments however that cost us more than they enrich us. These become the most time destructive bits of clutter in our lives. They rob us of our future and simultaneously replace something beautiful with something hollow and empty in the end. Perhaps they take too much time away from our families, and even when healthy place secondary priorities first in our lives, like an addiction to some hobby, like running marathons or triathlons, at the expense of your family. Or perhaps they shouldn’t even be a priority at all, doing nothing but take from your life while providing a temporary escape from issues that need to be addressed, and not ignored.

These are illustrated best by addictive and self-destructive behaviors of all kind; drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc… In light of this fact we must make sure that our commitments match our priorities.

In the words of Stephen Covey, “Do first things first, and second things never.” 

It is important that we clean out the commitments of our lives regularly so that they do not overwhelm us and leave us shattered, worn, and robbed in the end.

As you explore the commitments of your life ask yourself these questions:

  • What purpose does this commitment serve?
  • Does it move me closer to the person I wish to become and the life I wish to have or lead?
  • How did it come into my life? Did I choose it for myself, was it assigned me by another (like a boss or a spouse), or was it the result of not having spoken up, or saying yes or no?
  • What benefits come from fulfilling this commitment? What does it add to my life?
  • What does it truly cost me to keep it, in terms of space, time, money, or other resources? What is it costing me (emotional health, well-being, etc…)?
  • Does it deepen, or destroy, the all-important relationships between my family and myself?
  • Looking at the answers to these questions, do its benefits outweigh its costs? Is it worth the weight I will be required to bear? And will it make me stronger in the end?
  • And most importantly, what does this commitment invite me to be, or become, today and in the future?

———-

Conclusion

As you clean out the closets and drawers of your life – and re-evaluate where you stand, looking at how you got to where you are today, and where you’re headed from here forward – please share with us what you found?

Where is your life taking you? And isn’t it about time you had a say in where you’re headed?

Choose your possessions wisely, for they are but the outward expression of how you feel about yourself on the inside.

Choose your friends wisely, for you will become the average of the people you associate with the most.

Choose your commitments wisely for they become the soil from which you will grow, and strive, and reach into the future.

Whether or not the soil of your life is fertile depends, in large part, on what you choose to fill it with. Your choices, and where you choose to spend your time, will determine where you are headed, and who you are becoming. Who will you become, and what will you do?

Only you hold the answer… Isn’t it about time you did some spring cleaning today?

Best Day of My Life

Remember when the best days of your life were filled with simple things–when things like catching a butterfly, chasing a lightning bug, being hugged or tickled by someone you loved, reading a good book, running through the sprinklers, or having a water gun fight were the center of your universe?

Whatever your childhood looked like, what were the little things that could make your day? Was it a smile, a hug, or a moment of fun? Or was it something else altogether?

For the past two weeks, my kids have been bouncing off the walls about the fact that they were getting bunk beds. In fact, just minutes after hearing we might get the beds, the two had already chosen bunks for themselves. After that, they just got more excited by the day. Every day they asked repeatedly when we were going to get the bunk beds and when they were going to sleep in them for the first time.

So it goes without saying that when we finally picked the beds up and brought them home, the kids were ecstatic. Later, while laying on the top bunk, my daughter gave a contented sigh and said, “This is the best of day of my life!”

best day of my lifeIsn’t it interesting that children’s lives are filled with these moments–moments that cause them to think, “This is the best day of my life”–one right after another.

What’s even more interesting though, is the specific things that make their days seem so great. It’s not the big things we would think of, but little things that cause children to have the best days of their lives. Things like a fresh chocolate chip cookie with a glass of milk; a few moments spent curled up on the couch, snuggling up with a good book; a hug just before bedtime; seeing a real, live fish for the first time; riding a bike without training wheels for the first time; getting a puppy; or any of a hundred other little things.

But what about us? What causes you or me to have the “best day of our life”?

It’s the little things (and the feelings behind them) that make children’s lives magical, and lead them from one “best day of my life” moment to the next.

Couldn’t developing this tendency to see and celebrate the little joys in our lives be healthy for us as well? Couldn’t we learn to see the world through the eyes of a child again–focusing on what we have instead what we lack?

Look at your own life through the eyes of a child. What do you have to be grateful for? What one thing would cause you to have a “best day of my life” moment today, if you were a child again?

This past week I watched a cute, little nine-month-old boy, sitting in church with his parents on the front row. Suddenly, right in the middle of the quiet church meeting, he made a noise that I had never heard before. Smiling as wide as he could, he loudly sucked in air while squealing at the same time, resulting in a sound like a jet engine stuck in reverse. The noise definitely got my attention the first time he did it, but what kept my attention (and everyone else’s in the room) was the expression on his face. He was elated. Each time he made that noise again, he laughed and chuckled more loudly. He was learning something new, and he was enthralled by it.

As I looked around the room, every person I saw was smiling deeply, and looked to be thinking back on their own life or their own experiences as a parent. Afterward, no one had anything but good things to say about that boy and his innocent, disruptive noise from the front row. I think everyone in that room could remember feeling just like that little boy once before. Seeing him so pleased with himself as he learned something new was a beautiful moment.

But why do moments like that have to stop when we grow up? Why can’t they continue?

Well, they can and they will. All we need to do is learn to re-apply the principle that causes such moments in our lives.

Having more “best day of my life” moments simply requires you to have a grateful heart. You must see what you have, not what you lack. You must appreciate the moments that exist in your life, and ignore the ones that don’t. In short, you must cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is the biggest key to an enjoyable and fulfilling life.

What are you grateful for today? What moments today have reminded you–or could remind you, if you just gave it a little thought–of the “best day of my life” moments from your past and childhood?

As I write this article, my daughter runs past me, pausing to tickle me. Then she runs away, squealing in delight as I try to catch and tickle her in return. And though it distracts from my writing, I am reminded that this is one of the moments for which I must be grateful. Instead of seeing a distraction in my daughter, shouldn’t I see how loved I am in her eyes, and the way she wants to be near me–and loved by me in return? Shouldn’t I see an angel that I am blessed to help raise, care for, and love? That moment made my day, and became a “best day of my life’ moment to cherish for the rest of my life.

I want to strive to see the moments in my life that should make this day and every other “the best day of my life”.

What about you? What moments have you already missed because you’ve been too busy, too distracted, or too focused on what you lack? What moments could you rediscover as “best day of my life’ moments in your own life?

May you have a ‘this is the best day of my life’ moment today, and every day hereafter…

Why You Should Say NO To Your Children

A recent letter to Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax shares a couple’s concern about their daughter, who they describe as a “mean girl.”  The couple claim that they have done everything to help and encourage their daughter, and have made her the “absolute highest priority” in their lives. In response, Hax gives this piece of advice that I would like to elaborate on: “Don’t let her keep thinking that you, her friends, and her world are there for her.”

But, why does a girl who is so beloved of her parents turn out to be a bully and cause problems for those around her? Shouldn’t we make our children our very “highest priority”? There are popular parenting methods that suggest we never turn our children down when they want something, never say no to them even when they misbehave, and always tell them that they are amazing in every way. On the surface, this type of parenting practice (often called unconditional love, or unconditional positive regard) seems like the right thing. However, I am going to warn you now, if you really practice this kind of parenting, you are in for trouble.

The famous psychologist, Alfred Adler, warned parents about this very parenting method, saying that it could result in a child’s development (or lack thereof) of social interest or social feeling. What Adler means when he talks about “social interest” is the desire in a person to benefit the people around them, to improve the lives of others in their families and communities. Adler argues that parents who meet every need of their children and never allow them to be disappointed, are doing a great disservice to both the children and society as a whole.

crying 02This advice might be quite hard for the over-pampering parent to digest. But while there are many concerns that these parents might have, I have chosen just three to address here.

1. I want to give my children everything they want.

Some parents feel like it is their duty to fulfill all (or most) of the wants of their children.  Sometimes it is because the parents themselves lacked things as a child, and want to make up for their own loss. Some believe that their children will love and appreciate them more if they give the children everything they want. These parents never say no to a child’s bad behavior or many wants, because they believe that saying no is what bad parents do.

A three-year-old child can dominate these kinds of parents simply by demanding to use their iPhone. The parents just give in, because they don’t like to see their child disappointed or suffering (or they just can’t handle the tantrum).

The problem with this kind of parenting is that the real world simply does not work this way—where all demands are automatically met, just because a child wishes them to be. If a child is raised thinking that all of their wants should be fulfilled and all of their behavior should be tolerated, they are in for some very difficult years once they leave home. As adults, we know very well that the world will not provide us with all we want. We simply will be disappointed from time to time. And employers, friends, and spouses will not treat all of our misbehavior with a smile and a kind word (sadly, even adults sometimes learn this lesson too late).

So what are parents to do? Let your children be disappointed.

A few times when I have disappointed one of my children by not giving them what they want, they have said, “This is the WORST DAY OF MY LIFE!” When they say this, I pat myself on the back, and say, “Good Dad!” If the WORST day of my child’s life is made so simply because I wouldn’t buy them something or let them do what they wanted, it means that my children lives are pretty amazing.

This is not to say that we should have our children go without necessities of life. Of course you should meet those needs. But certainly toys, iPhones, and Xboxes are not necessities. It is good for your children to not get what they want sometimes. And when the child’s needs are trumped by the needs of a parent or sibling, the child will learn to develop empathy and awareness of the needs of others.

2. I don’t want my child to have to struggle.

The desire to keep your children from having to struggle is in some ways quite noble. We don’t like to see our children get hurt or have struggles in their relationships with others. It makes sense that we would want to fix their problems and make their lives easier. Some parents even think it necessary to intervene when it comes to situations at school with their children’s teachers and coaches, and attempt to keep their children from facing consequences for their actions.

What is the result if we keep our children from struggling? Again, by doing this, we keep children from learning to deal with normal life. Whether or not we like to admit it, Buddha was right when he claimed, “Life is suffering.” And Adler teaches that parents who do not teach children how to deal with struggles, those parents will “lead the child to regard himself as the center of events, and to feel that all other situations and persons are hostile to him.” Such a child will see the world as a hostile place as they grow up, because no one is stepping in to solve their problems.

3. I want my child to think that he is the most important, amazing person in the world.

This idea is a particular problem of American parents. We live in culture hyper-focused on the self—self-esteem, self-love, self-actualization. We think that we must engender this self-love in our children, push them to see themselves as wonderful, amazing, and successful in every way. We give medals just for showing up to sports teams, so that everyone feels special.

What could be wrong with this?

The problem with encouraging self-love is that we give children the impression that they are the only beings in the world who matter. We teach them that their happiness, their pleasure, and their successes are the only things that count toward having a good life. This kind of attitude keeps them from ever developing the “social feeling,” which Adler claims is the hallmark of a healthy personality. This is the problem the parents I mentioned at the beginning are facing: the over-indulgence they have given their child has led her to lack compassion and empathy for others—to become what they call a “mean girl”.

I am certainly not advocating that we spend a lot of time harping on our child’s faults. But we can spend much more time helping our children to see the needs of others and to find ways to benefit from helping those around them. If you offer your child opportunities to sacrifice their needs in order to help others, I think you will be surprised at the capacity for kindness in children. We know that the joys we experience in our lives come from the capacity to love and be loved.

Adler teaches how important “social feeling” really is to our community. He says, “Everything we call a mistake shows a want of social feeling. All errors in childhood and in adult life, all faulty character traits in the family, at school, in life, in relationships with other persons, in work, and in love originate in a lack of social feeling.”

Allow your children to struggle. Allow them to be disappointed. Say no. Give them opportunities to sacrifice their own needs and desires for the benefit of others. Children need you to help them learn these lessons—and to learn them young—so that they can move forward in life.

She's Grateful to Be Paralyzed

In 2004, Meg Johnson fell off a cliff and broke her neck. Paralyzed and in a wheelchair, Meg is now a motivational speaker, inspiring audiences around the world with her personal motto, which she says is applicable for people of all abilities: When life gets too hard to stand, just keep on rollin’.

In an interview sponsored by ForwardWalking.com, Meg explained a few things she does to help her keep on rollin’ forward. Her opening statement will give you chills…

My favorite quote from our interview was when she said: “There’s nobody who can come over here and save me because the person who’s keeping me down is myself.” That line is so true. Oftentimes, we are the only true obstacles that are holding ourselves back from chasing our dreams and accomplishing great things.

I will forever be grateful that Meg and I were able to meet last year. She doesn’t know it (yet), but my interview with her changed my life. Her cheerful persistence in the midst of overwhelming odds quietly destroyed any of my own personal excuses (a most beautiful destruction, to be sure). She has inspired me to move keep rollin’ forward.

To learn more about Meg Johnson, please visit her website at www.MegJohnsonSpeaks.com

I Wasn’t Prepared For Motherhood

I wasn’t prepared to become a mother when my son was born just six short months ago. But I didn’t know it at the time. After all, I had the crib and clothes and boxes and boxes of diapers. I had taken birthing classes and child development courses and had done my share of babysitting. And this wasn’t a surprise pregnancy. I had consciously made the decision to have a baby. My husband and I planned the timing—as much as it is possible to do that. We waited a while after we were married, because we wanted to make sure that we were “ready” to have kids.

But I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I just wasn’t prepared.

I Wasn’t Prepared for Motherhood

I wasn’t prepared for my body to suddenly start producing enough milk to feed a small village. I wasn’t prepared for the ache in my back that came from constantly bending to pick up my child and then carry him around until he fell asleep. I wasn’t prepared for a child who wanted to be in my arms constantly—or what that would do to my social life. I wasn’t prepared for the yellow poop that spread all up the back of his clothes 3-4 times a day or the spit-up that would sporadically cascade down my neck and chest when I was least expecting it. I wasn’t prepared for the months and months of running on empty because, between worrying about SIDS and listening to my son scream, I hadn’t been blessed with sleep. And I definitely wasn’t prepared to be thrown-up on the moment that I finally did drift off to sleep.

And I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love him.

I wasn’t prepared for how he would fit so perfectly in my arms—no matter how much he grows. I wasn’t prepared for the feeling that would rise up in my chest and completely overtake me as I watched him take his first breath. I wasn’t prepared for his little fingers to wind their way through mine, and then for us to snuggle up holding hands. I wasn’t prepared for how worried I would be about him, that I would lay my hand on his chest just to feel it rise and fall as he slept. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would ache for him when he is sick or hurt or afraid. I wasn’t prepared for the pride that would well up inside of me whenever he managed to achieve some new feat—no matter how small. I wasn’t prepared for his big, beautiful smile or his infectious little laugh.

Wasn't Prepared for MotherhoodAnd I definitely wasn’t prepared for how immediately he would love me.

Me. He loves me—for no other reason than the fact that I am his mama.

This child—this perfect little human, who was recently just a couple of cells inside my body, this miracle of nature who just barely came into being—has changed me. In just six months, he has taken a woman who had spent 28 years constructing herself, and completely transformed her. He has made me into something new.

He has made me a mother.

And suddenly I understand. I understand that fierceness that drives a mother to give everything she has for the good of her child. I understand that surge of adrenaline that enables mothers to defy logic and science, simply because, in that moment, their child needs them. I understand the desire to change the world, to move entire mountains and whole continents and even planets in the galaxy, in order to make the world my child lives in a better place to be.

And I appreciate my mother for loving me that much. All of the years and years of Mother’s Days when I told her I appreciated her and all of her efforts, I wasn’t telling the truth. I couldn’t totally appreciate her, because I didn’t really understand.

I couldn’t know how her heart ached with my sorrows, how her mind was always occupied with my welfare, how much she deeply desired for me to have everything the world could offer—and of course how much poop she had to clean up—until I was in her place.

I am so grateful to my mom for being that person for me, and I’m grateful to my sweet child for being born and giving me the opportunity to learn to be that person too.