I met and got talking to a really inspiring woman yesterday.
I liked Mary-Anne as soon as I met her, we appeared quite similar. She had children slightly older than mine but not much. As often happens we started a conversation about our children, their struggles and comparisons. The conversation easily moved on and we had a lot of laughs. There were five of us in the conversation and we each had something to comment on.
It was as we congratulated ourselves on surviving to the end of the day, we joked that we needed the proverbial large glass of wine, giggled about the size of our glass and how often on facebook we added the comment about putting our feet up with glass in hand.
Mary-Anne said suddenly “you shouldn’t really say that to a dry alcoholic”
Well talk about a show stopping line.
She had to explain then. You can’t interrupt the discussion with a statement like that and expect to get away with it. She explained; a dry alcoholic because she had not touched a drink for 16years, she even remembered the date in July alcohol last passed her lips. Then the story came pouring out.
Her mother had been an alcoholic, so by 14 she was buying and drinking herself with no real obstacles in her way. She continued needing alcohol through her teens and into her twenties when she got married and remarkably had three children. She had managed through will power to ease up on the juice during her pregnancies. One of her children born with a tumour needed life-saving surgery at only two weeks old. She relied on alcohol to get her through this time despite incorrectly blaming the tumour on her drinking.
After her third child was born, her husband became abusive and violent and she continued drinking to survive. It was her mother who made her realise the severity of her drinking and the fact she was about to lose her children. That proved to be her catalyst; she has not touched a drop since.
As I sat and listened to her tale of trials and tribulations in admiration I began to realise that although I think I have it hard sometimes; my achievements and well deserved they may be came from a great starting point in comparison.
Today I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in ages. Her son had been moved to a private school in the area and he has now got into the prestigious Winchester College. She was telling me how well he was doing and at just 11; already loving classical music and art. He is a little boy who will go far and has had a fantastic start in life.
Not everyone has that opportunity and for those that do, they owe it to themselves to make the most of the opportunities life throws at them. The rest of us should not feel cast by the way side. Yes we have to work at it but a tough start in life should not limit our achievements. In fact the harder we have to rise the sweeter the taste of the successes when they come.
I have been a proud observer on the rugby sidelines as I have watched No 1 Son’s team develop and put their potentially high spirited jinks to a much better use, they’ve found an outlet for aggression and emotion that could so easily be directed elsewhere. Not that every rugby player is a potential thug. On the contrary every rugby player is a fantastically brave sportsman who comits wholeheartedly to their physicality and passion. Sport has been the saving of many people who may well have fallen off the accepted pathways to adulthood.
I have seen children from difficult homes rise above their emotions and overcome their concerns to achieve great sporting triumphs on the track and in team games. I have seen youngsters ostracised and pushed out of their peer groups go on and cultivate creativity and incredible inventiveness.
I am confident now that I can achieve anything in this world; I will get my books published if that is what I want. I just need to build up my confidence to accept the rejections so that when that acceptance comes through, I will be ready for it.
I know that my children will also achieve whatever they want if they only put their minds to it. I know what they have yet to realise, that it will take a lot of hard effort and determination on their part but Mary-Anne filled me with hope for my own children and that of many others. The world is there for us to make the best of it and the opportunities will present themselves, when they do it is for us to seize them and make the best.
My new friend has three fantastic children and her own business. She looks great, so confident and positive, how could anyone guess her problematic start in life. I hope that I too can inspire people in some small way with what I accomplish; that in itself will be an achievement.
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