I’ve never had the option to give up.
I’ve never had the option to “mail it in.”
I’ve never had the option to kick back and let up off the gas.
I never had the option to quit.
If you have people counting on you, you can’t stay down.
I chose to be a mama. I took on that responsibility and made that decision. That means I have to show up every day for her. I have to show up as a role model, a guide, and a North Star. I have to carry myself knowing that she is always looking to me and watching how I respond. How I respond to the homeless person on the side of the road, how I respond to people being disrespectful, how I respond to someone posting something rude and ignorant online, how I respond to stress, and how I respond to challenges. She is watching me and subconsciously creating her own foundation for how she will handle adversity, trauma, and hardship.
I have to take care of myself physically for her. I had to fight cancer for her. I have to take care of my diabetes each day for her. I have to fuel my body with healthy foods and give it the exercise it needs for her. I have to show her how to love her body and all of it’s imperfections. I have to show her how to set boundaries, how to fall in love with herself first, and how to find a partner that respects and adores her. I have to teach her how to be strong, brave, kind, courageous, smart, feisty, fierce, giving, and generous.
I can’t mail it in because she’s watching me.
I chose to be a leader in my career. I signed up to lead people, work long hours, do the unglamorous stuff, and be a catalyst for change. I chose that. I chose to light some hearts on fire in my direct reports, to help them grow and develop, and to take on the pressure of leading a large team. I took on the challenge of building a legacy. I took on the challenge of being a working mother AND being a leader at one of the biggest medical device companies in the world. I chose to go into a career where I can impact someone’s life in a profound, life changing way. My team, my colleagues, and my patients need me to show up on fire every day. They need me to bring my A Game every day. They need my courage, my compassion, my hustle, my out of the box thinking, and my never say die mentality. Give up on my team? Absolutely not. Give up on being a provider for my family?? Never.
Because I don’t have that option.
I chose to be a wife. I chose to spend the rest of my life with this man. I chose to love him when it’s hard to like him. I chose to start a family with him. I chose to build a life with him. I chose to ignore other’s definitions of a “perfect marriage” and focus on what makes our marriage perfect. He needs me to show up as my best self every day. He needs me to be his safe place to land. He needs me to be his cheering squad, his sounding board, and his teammate. He needs to know that I have his back in everything. He needs me to protect us, protect our daughter, and protect our peace. He needs me to make him laugh, dance in the kitchen with him, and chase away the darkness that tries to follow him home from his job. Quit on him? Mail it in with our relationship? Lean back and coast? I don’t have that option.
Working three jobs in college? Beating cancer? Managing my Type One? Working since I was 11 years old? Fighting for coverage with insurance companies? Cutting out toxic relationships? Losing my job? Overcoming my anxiety and depression? Having a heart condition? Advocating for our little girl? Managing being a first responder’s wife?
I’ve never had the option to give up on any of those things. I couldn’t coast, I couldn’t have someone save me, I couldn’t rely on handouts or goodwill. I could’t mail it in. I couldn’t quit.
When people ask me, “What’s your plan?” my response has always been the same.
“Whatever it takes.”