I would rather be lonely and authentic than adored and fake any day of the week. ~Kim Muench

robot familyA few years ago I was having a conversation with my oldest son, Nick.  I was apologizing for not seeing some of what should have been obvious signs in his life that led to his spiral with alcohol.  I don't remember my exact words at this point, but I am sure I said something about knowing how distracted I was at times with his younger siblings and wishing I would have noticed the struggles he was facing sooner.  I really felt, in some way, I was partially responsible for his drinking.  And, the god's honest truth be told, I will likely always feel that way.

During our conversation though, he stopped me and said, "Mom, never apologize. I am grateful for all the experiences I have had because they've made me who I am today."  His statement struck me when he said it, and has stayed with me since because (a) I am grateful he feels that way, and (2) I absolutely agree with him.

As I walked the dogs the other morning, I was pondering yet again how the events in my life have really been a blessing to me.  Pregnant teen, welfare recipient, ending a dangerous relationship, getting married, early babies, moves across country, multiple moves within neighborhoods, son who has battled addiction, having to walk away from our home...all things I would truly consider blessings.

So, there they are, a list of my "imperfections".  But within that list are the most important lessons of my life.  They are the situations which created who I am today.

And, quite frankly, I really REALLY like who I am today.

There are a lot of families who operate under the guise their life is "perfect".  I believe the white picket fence syndrome of my youth has turned into the wrought iron front door syndrome of today...

front door Beautiful front doors. Beautiful homes. Kids in matching designer garb. Plastic smiles painted across the faces of people who place a higher value on what is outside than what is inside.

I have long since learned a very brutal life lesson:  you cannot be "real" in the outside world if you can't be real with yourself.

I recently came up with a new motto:  I may mess up, but I don't give up! 

This is the story of my life.