by DJ the Football Mom
“You have to go to bed with waking up on your mind!”
This has been a tough year and, instead of writing, I put my blog on hold while I dealt with my mom’s illness. Five years ago, my mom had her first stroke. She was such a trooper that she insisted on physical therapy twice a day and before long, she was up and going again. We continued to travel and she was still able to visit me and get around relatively well. A year later, she had a very debilitating stroke which led to her being admitted to a nursing home. We all hoped that this would be a temporary move but this eventually became her permanent home. Over the past year, she had a gradual but steady decline in her health and on July 7 at 7:55 a.m. she went home to be with the Lord. I was with her for her last three days on this side.
As I watched my mom slip away, I realized that you can never prepare yourself for the day that you lose your mom. She was there when I took my first breath and I was there when she took her last one. Mom was an amazing woman and was known for her wit and humor. Her homegoing service was a joyful celebration of a life well-lived and an incredible reflection of the woman who fiercely loved her children.
Not long after I sent out the first notice of my mom’s passing, I began to receive notes and messages of condolence. They were full of expressions of love for my mom but also to share stories of wisdom and encouragement that they received from mom over the years. Over the next few days, weeks and possibly even months, I would like to share with you some of my mom’s wisdom. I pray that it encourages you as you rear your children and helps you to navigate through the ups and downs of life.
One of the first sayings I can remember from my mom is the saying, “You have to go to bed with waking up on your mind.” She told me this when I asked her how did she get up on time without an alarm clock. As time went on, I found out that it meant much more than that. My mom loved her life despite all the hardships and trials she endured. She greeted each day with a positive attitude—her glass was perpetually half-full! She taught me that how we looked at life had a big impact on what we got out of it. Her love for life and living well rubbed off on all six of her children. She taught us to take advantage of opportunities and to expect the best.
I grew up in the inner-city on the East side of Cleveland. My parents were divorced by the time I was seven years old. My mom was a nursing technical assistant at University Hospital and managed to pay for her house and take care of us on that income. When my brother got the opportunity to go to Sweden as an exchange student, my mom could have lamented about the cost of the trip and her lack of funds to pay for it. Instead, she started making and selling fish and chicken dinners and getting my sisters to deliver them. She made every payment deadline and my brother got to spend the summer abroad in Europe.
Often people ask me why am I so happy, I tell them it is a gift I got from my mom. I learn to look for blessings in the worse of circumstances and enjoy each day no matter what. That is not always possible but it works on most days. When you live your life with joy you teach your children to do the same. They take their cue from how you react to things. This is a gift your child can pass down to their children. I challenge you to begin today with a plan for living your best life. It starts by going to bed with waking up on your mind!