I come from a line of strong women; all in their own way. I have a great-grandmother who was a nurse, a Gran who was a teacher, and raised 3 boys, a Grandma who raised a family on a farm, an "adopted" Grandma (Mary), who lost her mother and oldest sister to war, raised her siblings, was a career woman, and had to hide under a set of stairs during the Hungarian 1956 revolution.
And then there is my mom, who has had every reason - loss, death, cancer, illnesses - to let bitterness set in, and yet is full of life and joy.
Strong like mom.
A few months ago, Target caused a buzz, because their exclusive line Cat and Jack introduced this T-shirt that had "Strong Like Mom" written on it. The initial shirt was for boys, then they also came out with one for girls. The reason this is such a big deal, is because moms aren't usually portrayed as strong, especially not in reference to their sons. I love the trend of portraying women in more strong roles (cue Wonder Woman)!
As soon as I saw this shirt, I knew I wanted one for Aidan.
If he's wearing this shirt, whenever I ask him what it says, he shouts "Strong Like Mom!" (He has even been known to say, "Strong like mom, pee like dad!", LOL!!)
At first I wondered if it was maybe a little vain of me to get him the shirt in the first place. Or if I really am strong.
I have fears and anxieties. Am I really strong?
Remember my mom, the strongest woman I know? She can't swim. Scared of swimming pools, actually. But do you know what? When we were kids, she would get in the pool with us, and although we all knew it wasn't her favorite thing, none of us knew the extent of that fear until years later.
Being a mom makes you strong. You have a reason to be strong. Someone to be strong for.
So, yesterday, when I had to fly alone with Aidan, then drive home - as it turns out in the rain - basically everything that unnerves me, I had Aidan wear his "Strong Like Mom" shirt. Mostly as a reminder to myself.
Being strong doesn't mean you don't have fears. It means that you are willing to overcome them. I'm going to go one step further. I think it is important for our kids to know that there are things we fear, or are uncomfortable with, BUT that we are willing to face them.
During one of our airport potty breaks, my sweet, squirmy boy looked at me and said, "mommy, you're my hero", without any prompting. I could soar!!! I never ever want to forget that moment. He will probably never know how much his little 3-year-old self encouraged me.
So yesterday, I felt STRONG! I felt like I could conquer anything, and I did! We had a wonderful trip, and I drove in the rain like a boss.
My favorite verse last year was Joshua 1:9, and Aidan knows it by heart: "Be strong and courageous, for the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go."
I am strong, and it's not vain to say it. I am strong because God makes me strong, and because my son needs me to be. I am strong.