I wasn’t going to blog today. I was going to take the day off for self care. But I learned a valuable lesson today. A very big one, and I decided to share it. I sit at my computer now, with tears streaming down my eyes. Life isn’t always fair. But we do the best we can with the hand we are dealt. Today, I was pretty shaken.
While brainlessly getting my hair done this morning for a charity event tonight, I got the socks knocked off of me emotionally. I literally had to look up to stop the flow of tears. I had to think funny thoughts… my little son walking around the house nude playing the guitar on his private part. I even thought of this picture from1997 of my husband (then boyfriend at the time) on one of our first few trips together.
But this story was just too unfair. And I am as sensitive as they come.
Before me, standing on her feet, making me look pretty, was this happy and beautiful 23 year old hairstylist. Moments before, I had seen her playing with these adorable kids. And I said to her, “Those kids are so cute… ” thinking they belonged to one of her clients. “Thanks, they’re my little siblings. A pipe burst in school today, so I had no choice but to bring them to work with me for the day.” Ok. I found it odd, but didn’t say anything.
And even though getting a haircut or a blow dry, or any self care, is a time when I usually try and be still and quiet, something made me want to know more. I asked her one question, I don’t remember what it was, and then the answer. “Yah, my three little half siblings live me with me now. Our father died in the fall, and their mother became an alcoholic and is in rehab. If they didn’t come to live with me, they were going to go to foster care, so of course I took them. It’s ok. We’re happy. They’re much happier now, because they saw a lot of horrible things between their mother being drunk and our father being sick. It’s better like this. I love them and I’m really happy. They’re even going to sleep away camp for 1 week this summer!”
I had to ask her again, thinking I misunderstood… “You live alone with your three little half-siblings? You’re raising them by yourself?” She answered again with a big beautiful smile, “Yes. It’s cool. Life isn’t always easy, but hardships make you stronger and we’re doing okay.” I told her that she impacted me so strongly, that I had to write about it. She said no problem. That maybe it will inspire people to realize that women are stronger than most give them credit for. That really in life, anyone can get used to any situation, it just takes time. And that having a positive attitude makes all the difference. Those were her hopes she said, in me writing her story.
So today, from a 23 year old hairdresser who got handed something out of life that she hadn’t signed up for– a sick father who later passed away, three children to care for alone at this tender young age, I learned what life is all about. I left and somehow felt shallow with my freshly done hair blowing in the wind, my freshly manicured nails and toenails. And as I sit here now, I appreciate my life– my husband, my children, my parents a little more. Because truly, life is fragile. And there is sadness and suffering everywhere. But what I really learned today, was about resilience. It’s the resilience that I will take away… when life hands you lemons, squeeze it and make lemonade.