I can assure you I’m not your average life coach living in Suburbia. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan and typically when I tell people I’m from Detroit they immediately ask the question “What part?” My answer – “The part that built me…Brick by Brick.”
I was born in 1969 (you can do the math to know my age). Put it this way…I’m seasoned! I grew up with a single mom and grandparents that were very loving and supportive. My mom and dad were divorced when I was two. I have no recollection of them being together; therefore the divorce didn’t have the emotional impact that it can have for many. However, life without a dad at home had its gaps no matter how strong, smart, loving and caring my mom was…and she was all that and more. It made me seek male mentoring relationships to learn the reasons why all the stereotypical things men were interested in existed. I learned that men and women operate very differently, neither right nor wrong, just different. It became apparent how being surrounded by both figures, male and female can strike a really good balance.
While I was growing up in Detroit, I experienced being kidnapped for a few minutes. I was taken off my tricycle two doors down from my home when I was 4. I was thrown in the back-seat of a car by a man wearing a Halloween mask and when the car stopped at the end of the block, I was fortunate enough to get out. I ran like hell through the neighborhood terrified and uncertain if I was being followed, but I was lucky and got home safely. This still haunts me, but when my gut tells me I’m not safe, I listen to it.
In my early teens we moved from Michigan to Illinois. My grandfather had passed away so my mom decided to pack up my grandma too. We went from city life to the suburbs – or what I used to call “in the middle of nowhere’sville”. My mom remarried which brought us to the suburbs and while saying goodbye to old friends, taking in new surroundings, meeting new friends, I also gained a step-dad; which I viewed as an obstacle. In hindsight, I know my mom made the right decision for all of us and that change was inevitable, regardless of how I dealt with it at the time.
In my twenties, I met a guy that sparked my interest. We dated a couple years before I followed him to Arizona on a two-year work assignment. Leaving family and friends behind at this point of my life seemed more exciting. We got married, built a house, had two beautiful children, established ourselves professionally and he and I had a pretty good run (15 years), until we got divorced. I learned something very important through my divorce – marriage, like any living thing needs water or it will die.
Ten years prior to my marital split, my mom was diagnosed with Leukemia – Cancer of the blood. Within a short period of time, she lost the battle and the cancer took her life. Losing my mom was painful and the grief seemed endless, but I wouldn’t know that pain without knowing the love she shared with me; therefore I am grateful for the time we had.
In my forties, I got remarried. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world because I married my best friend. He’s kind, loving, caring, nurturing, fun and extremely handsome. Together we work at making our life together beautiful. Both coming from marriages that ended, we understood the importance of having a strong foundation of spiritual beliefs, trust, companionship, love, respect and honesty. Additionally, we blended our families and together we have 6 children…his 4 and my 2. Of course we have our disagreements and it’s not always smooth sailing, but we’re learning how to better communicate openly, respectfully work through our issues as they appear and we don’t take each other for granted.
Overall, I have had my share dealing with defeat, suffering, struggle and loss and it will continue throughout my life, but with each problem faced, I know there’s purpose. Being tried and tested has brought me closer to my faith; I had to learn patience and perseverance and put my trust in God. I have grown and matured through these circumstances of life and it gave me an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding about life that fills me with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern for others, including you.