Thursday, May 17, 2012

What I Learned From the Strongest Woman I Know

By Diane McLleland

Mother’s Day has come and gone yet again.  It reminds me that really anyone can serve as a mother and that mothers come in all forms – a sister, a grandmother, an aunt – any of these amazing woman can serve as that rock, that support, that source of courage that children need.  I am blessed to say that not only did I have a wonderful mother but I also had a wonderful  aunt who provided me with love and support also.
I cannot help but think back on my aunt’s many lessons; lessons learned the hard way in her case, and lessons from her strong faith. She grew up essentially motherless, after losing her mother at the age of two. She, without an example of her own, had been the most amazing mother and auntie that one could ever imagine. Years later, a stepmother entered the her picture, but during the difficult years, her older sister served as her mother figure, and was such a positive influence in her life. They were not only sisters, but the best of friends!
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with her, and one such lesson she imparted to me was “don’t sweat the small stuff”. We’ve all heard this mantra, but in this day and age, it seems few actually follow this sage advice. Things always looked better in the morning, according to her. The glass was always ‘half full’. I sometimes have difficulty with this one as a parent.  When it involves your child, nothing seems small or insignificant. Yet, whenever I had gone to her for advice and words of wisdom, she invariably had a way of making me realize that yes- it could be worse- much worse!   She wouldn’t throw the ‘someone always has it worse than you’ example out, but you still understood that to be true. As kids, she didn’t patronize us with quirky sayings, but rather we witnessed her quiet example of remaining calm under pressure and praying for us in times of need. She would cut us that slack we were seeking, yet impose punishment if warranted. Her punishments were always seasoned with lessons of love and forgiveness.

We have always referred to my Mom and aunt as our spiritual rocks. They both would read daily, and cut out clippings with little signature asterisks beside the paragraphs that especially applied to me, my sister, or a cousin. I do that now, and enjoy passing on timely articles to my own family. Both of these strong women of faith truly know where their priorities stood. Common sense dictated many of their decisions.

So, without question, my amazingly strong Mom and aunt have led (Mom continues to) by example all of their lives. When I grow up, I want to be just like them!

About the Author:
Diane has been called fashionista from a young age, acquiring her love of fashion after enrolling in Sears Charm School as a young girl. After earning her degree in fashion merchandising & business she gained experience by appearing in movies, commercials and magazine layouts. She also worked as a flight attendant for 15 years and wrote for a well-known travel publication. Diane currently works with students to provide career advisement and loves to act as a personal shopper on the weekends for her friends and family.

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