Years ago, there was one day where I lost it at work. So much was happening I didn’t agree with (if you’ve ever been an educator, you can relate) and I went to my coworker’s and friend’s office. Since I went to this high school as a teenager, this coworker has also become a second mom over the years. I was infuriated, cussing to someone that I normally would NEVER cuss in front of to the point where I was in tears (I’m an angry crier). I’ll never forget that day. Not because of my anger, I can’t even remember what it was about, but because of what my friend said. She took my hands and looked me in the eyes and said, “Stephanie, this is not you. Don’t you EVER let them take your spirit, you hear me?!”
Decades later, this still resonates with me regularly, and today was one of those days. Today, someone close to me tried to take away my spirit. It’s a long and complicated story that spans years and they tried again today. But, I’m happy to say, they did not succeed. Thanks to a couple of good friends, my mom, and my husband, I didn’t let her take me down. See, I was in the parking lot of Starbucks, crying my angry cry with a latte. I made calls, those who love me answered, and let me vent. With kids crying or dogs barking in the background, the work phone ringing, or even a relaxing day at the beach, people stopped and were there for me and built me back up. This put my life in perspective. No matter someone may say, I’m a good person with a good heart, I’m a fantastic mother, and a pretty good wife. I’m a hard worker, and every day I set out to do my best. I’m not perfect at any of my roles, but darn if I don’t give each one of them my all until nothing is left. Thank God for people that remind me of this when I doubt myself, or someone tries to take that away from me.
In my reflection over this morning, and remembering my good friend’s words, I realize how protective I am over the spirits of others. I’ll never forget when the doctor called my Jake “spirited.” I’ve often used this term to describe him as he has grown. I fight for him to be able to keep what makes him unique with all I have and I will continue to fight so that others understand how he reacts and thinks and feels. I also fight with him to learn the appropriateness of his spirit, but hey-balance, right?
When Bryce rolls out of his room with a blue shirt, green shorts, mismatched socks, one inside out, and his hair spiked up, all I can do is smile at his goofy, unique spirit. He then requires a blue plate on which to eat breakfast, the proper fork, a specific cup and to get his own vitamins and boy do I realize he will always know what he wants and I pray he always fights for it with all the spirit he has (except with me when all of the blue plates are dirty-God help us all).
It’s also not lost on me that Madilyn’s favorite show right now is, Spirit. It’s about a girl and her wild horse and their adventures and what it means to truly be yourself and follow your dreams. When I watch Madi dance to that theme song (sometimes 20 times a day) I smile and think that her 3-year-old spirit shines so bright. I will do anything and everything to make sure that continues as she grows and that no one questers it.
Your spirit is what gets you through the hardest days and helps you bring light to those who need it. I ask that today, and always, you remember to protect your own spirit and also, be mindful of the spirit of others.
“Protect your spirit, because you are in the place where spirits get eaten.”~ John Trudell
“…respond to every call that excites your spirit” ~Rumi
“Don’t let anyone ever break your soul. You have to stand on your own two feet and stand up for yourself. There are those that would give anything to see your Failure, but you must never give them the satisfaction. Hold your head up high, smile and stand your own ground. — unknown