My mom followed me.
She asked what was wrong. I refused to share at first, but after my mom's calm refusal to go anywhere till I opened up my wounded heart for her to see the damage, I finally cried out: "I am ugly. No boys will ever like me."
Deep guttural sobs immediately ensued my confession. I was ugly. No boys would ever like me.
My mom tried to comfort. "I think you're beautiful. You are so smart. You are a great friend. I like you..."
"Your my mom! You have to say that!" I snapped back.
"But I really think that." She softly said. I let out a big "humph" and continued to cry.
She paused. Contemplated. All of a sudden, as though a wave of conviction fell over her, she stood tall, put her hand on her hip, and declared, "Oh no! No! That's enough of that!"
She dragged me in, most likely by the shoulder of my shirt, stood me in front of the bathroom mirror and made me list off everything I liked about myself. "You are not leaving until you list off at least 10 things you like about yourself."
I cried. "But I don't like myself. There isn't 10 things!"
"Well, we aren't leaving until you do, no matter how long it takes."
I think it took at least an hour, maybe two--an hour full of tears and determination to not like myself, an hour that my mom could have been spent doing dishes, giving my 5 year old sister a bath, getting my little brother to complete his homework, an hour that could have been devoted to a great many things other than dealing with a 12 year old whose body was racked with unpredictable hormones that were not yet regulated to a monthly cycle.
My mom fought for my self worth. She fought for it against a raging tide of prepubescence and words like "I hate myself. My nose is too pointy. My chest is so flat." She fought for it even when my own words attacked her "Why can't we shop at better stores? I hate my clothes! You never pick out cute stuff."
She calmly waited for me to realize that I wasn't leaving that bathroom until I got to 10 positive things. She was resolved to see this through no matter how hard I fought. She gently guided me through the "Why? Why don't they like me? What is wrong with me?"
My mom's soft response: "God has a plan for you, Amanda. You are a priceless treasure. And I pray that He sets you apart, keeps you hidden from all the wrong boys."
"Could you please stop praying that?" The tenseness in my voice and body slowly leaving.
"No." Simple yet resolute.
Deep Sigh. I realized I couldn't win. "I guess my eye color is alright."
My mom fought for ME.
My mom is a warrior.
I remember the woman who fearlessly called a group of gossiping moms who were from the private school I grew up at. For some reason, they were discussing all over our small town how I was pregnant and sleeping around. I was barely 14. My mom hates confrontation, but she wielded a shield and sword that day on my behalf. She was shaking, but her words were firm. She fought for me. I remember the woman who shamelessly called after me and my prom date, "And no sex you two!" I was mortified, and she knew it. But she also knew what was on that boy's mind. She cared more for my purity and my future than she did my comfort. She fought for me. I remember the night my mom found out I was cutting again. She demanded that I get on my knees with her and pray at that instant or she was driving me to the psych ward and having me committed. I tried to refuse both options. I wanted to run from the problem. I fought her so hard. I know I screamed at her and said all manner of horrible things. But my mom fought harder.
My mom is a warrior.
She never actually fought me. She fought FOR me. Fought for my purpose, my sense of self worth, and for my future. She was the gardener fighting for the young sapling against pestilence, disease, strong winds, weeds and vermin until my roots went down deep enough to stand on my own.
I don't think words could adequately put the gratitude I have for you, Mom. I can only rise up and do the same for my kids. Writing this out challenges me to be an Ephesians 6 kind of mom... in full armor fighting FOR my kids.
Thank you for fighting for me, Mom!