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I learned from my mother what the meaning of true strength is

Joined: 3/17/2011
Posts: 3
"Work hard," She says. "You can do anything, be anything..." "Live with no regrets." My mother has been saying these things to me for years. Each time, her words fell upon deaf ears. I never really thought about those words. I just brushed them off as generic mom advice, probably because I didn't understand the heart behind them. One May evening she told me.

The house wasn't always blue, you know. The house I grew up in, it used to be white when my mother, your mammaw, was a kid. Not that it matters. There isn’t too much to say about my childhood. We were poor and just barely scraped by each week. You know about mom and all you need to know about my father is that he was a wretched man. Mom worked odd jobs most of the time, so us kids had to take care of ourselves. We all had jobs when we were teenagers so we could earn a little money. We never had friends over because your great aunt Stella would scare them all away.

So, I wanted to get out of the house as soon as possible. I worked hard in school. While others were out with friends I stayed and studied. I had a plan; right after graduation I was joining the army. Senior year came and all the paper work was in order. I had spoken to the recruiting officer and was ready to go. All that was left was scrawling my name on the dotted line. However, when the time came, I had to leave the line unsigned. I couldn't leave mom. There was no way she’d make it alone. Mom wasn't sick, but her health was in danger .Aunt Stella, as I said before, wasn't the nicest. Actually, she could have been called abusive. It’d been against my morals to abandon mom, to leave her to fend for herself. I dropped the pen and left. Not once did I look back.

Now, as much as I wanted to go into the military, I don't regret not enlisting. Shortly after graduation your father and I married and we got our own home and took mom with us. Would my life have been different if I had enlisted? Sure, and I wonder about it sometimes. I don't want you to have to wonder. Work hard in school. I know you can do it. And when you graduate, pursue your dreams and don't ever look back. Your father and I have worked so hard to establish ourselves so that you won't ever have to worry about us. You'll be out in the real world in less than two years. Promise me you'll make the best of it.

I promised. Eyes brimming with salty tears, I pledged to work hard and as silly as it sounds, to reach for the stars. That night I learned that my mother's advice was not generic. It was as real and true as her heart is strong.
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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
Hi, I'm the PR Coordinator for Stage of Life. I'm leaving you this comment to let you know that your essay for our Teens and Parents writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.

Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.
Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 4:26:56 PM
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