April 21, 2017

Success is not Measured in Possessions

So, today I attended the rehearsal for my oldest brother's wedding. I walked down the aisle-- a happy older sister/mom, being escorted by my youngest brother. My daughter sat near us still wearing her tiara from the prom shopping that we went to earlier that day. Her nails freshly done, her eyebrows freshly waxed, and her brown skin reflecting the light from the room with a happy hue. Everyone was beautiful-- and they were all gathered today, in this church holding hands in prayer, because just 18 years ago, I was willing to take a chance; I gambled. When my brothers were taken into custody-- I dedicated myself to getting custody of him, and when they thought he was going to die, I dedicated myself to finding a cure, and when everyone told me to quit-- I persevered. And, when foster care offered me a daughter, I opened my home and my heart to her. I had been willing to sacrifice my younger years to share my home, my life and my future with a group of kids that needed a mother. I was willing to give these children the very thing I felt that I was lacking at the time: love, a family, and a home.

I was willing to give these children the very thing I felt that I was lacking at the time: love, a family, and a home.

I stared at my nails, freshly coated in purple and thought about the conversation I had with the technician. I had announced to her that my oldest brother was getting married. Something I had been bragging about for weeks-- or at least, since he told me about the wedding. She looked at me and smiled. Then, I told her that I was in the wedding as his Mom. When she looked at my confused-- I told her that I had raised all my brothers. The words rolled off my tongue casually and nonchalantly-- but the technician was anything but casual.

She stopped mid-stroke and looked at me and said, "That's honorable what you did for your family. You are a good person." And, I smiled briefly like I always do.

I simply answered, "It's not. I did what anyone would have done in my position." I laughed it off, but she insisted I was wrong as she shook her head to the contrary.
 "I did what anyone would have done in my position."
What happened next shocked me. She stated, "Not everyone. I worked with a woman that left her seven year old sister in foster care because she felt like she wasn't ready to raise her." She frowned and rolled her eyes sadly at the memory.

However, I was baffled as to how to respond. Should I join her in judging the young woman for refusing to raise her little sister after her mother's death, or should I commend her for being honest and acknowledging herself as an unsuitable parent. Then, I wondered-- if I could have done that. Could I have left my sibling in foster care to be raised by strangers as I enjoyed my adult freedom. Wasn't being dependable a part of adulthood? Wasn't taking care of responsibilities a part of growing up? Or, was the unspoken rule just about taking care of your responsibilities only and neglecting all else.
 The unspoken rule just about taking care of your responsibilities only and neglecting all else
 I wondered whether I should even judge a woman for not wanting to take the task of raising her younger siblings. It was hard being a single parent. Late night at the hospitals, phone calls at work, school meetings, bus meetings, Foster care meetings, doctor appointments, eye appointments, etc. I was always looking out for them, and I spent very little time on myself. Some days, I look back on it-- and I wonder how did I even survive. I couldn't fault her for saying no, but I knew that in my heart-- if I were sent in a time machine, and given the choice to get custody of my brothers-- I would make the very same decisions. I don't regret any of it. Although I felt that it cost me so very much. I would gladly live it all again-- so I could end up here. Right here at my brother's wedding-- watching him incorporate a superhero theme into a very magical  day.

I smiled, and I cold feel my eyes water-- but I had reserved my tears for tomorrow. I couldn't cry at the rehearsal. Yet, my brother-- the same brother that I promised I would get from foster care, the same brother that was able to adopt 7 years later, the same brother that took me through a whirlwind of heartache as he grew, the same brother that the doctors said would not live to see the age of 9-- that brother is now a 25 year old man that is getting married tomorrow. I smiled as I watched him there.
Any amount of money is ever really "more" or "enough." 

And, suddenly I had a momentary and fleeting feeling of success wash over me, which was odd. 
I do not see myself as a successful person. Yes, I write novels; yes, I am published; and yes, I have not just one degree-- I have multiple-- but despite all of that, I still did not see myself as a success story. I have always seen myself as one who struggles: someone slowly rising to the top and trying to make it. A person trying to reach the apex of success: a child, marriage, more money-- not that any amount of money is ever really "more" or "enough."

However, I looked at my brother practicing for his big day tomorrow, I realized that I was already a success. Despite the fact that things did not turn out the way I expected it, they still turned out well. My oldest brother lived and is getting married. My youngest brother is enrolled in college. My middle brother is in the military fighting for his country, and my daughter, whom I adopted just 10 years ago, is now attending her senior prom.

Success isn't always the biggest house or the nicest car or even the most sales. Success was being able to see a young man marry that everyone said wouldn't make it-- it was watching my youngest brother joke around with the man and hearing him complain about his college classes, success was my daughter refusing to take off her tiara. Success was being about to pay the house note and the car not without feeling stressed. Success was this moment.

Success isn't always the biggest house or the nicest car or even the most sales.

Sometimes, we fail to realize when we are winning in life. Take heed and take note-- winning is not always in the big things-- sometimes it is the very least.

Dawnell Jacobs is the author of The Shade of Devotion, Brains Not Included, Black Magic, and The Monsters of Within: Heart of Darkness. She has also published a self-help book Your Story Matters: Leaning How To Be The Author of Your Destiny. You can find all of her books on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and Barnes And Noble. She is also a motivational speaker to young audiences. She uses her personal journey to inspire hope and change. All pictures and entries in this blog are subject to copyright laws. ©Dawnell Jacobs 2018. 

Follow me on twitter by Clicking Here. Friend me on Facebook by Clicking Here. Follow my Author's page by Clicking Here! Check out my Instagram by Clicking Here!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave A Reply!