Last year when I suddenly had to get custody of my granddaughter Promise. Everything I knew to be true and sane and orderly in my life came to a streaking halt.
The first few days, I walked around numb and cried. It had been more than 15 years since my daughter, now thirty-four, had lived at home. I remember how free I felt when I returned from dropping my daughter off at the university after becoming a young single mother at the tender age of 17.
I loved my life! I loved my freedom. I loved being able to have a glass of wine in the middle of the day or take long walks at night.
Now, there I was boo-hooing and having an out of body experience as my menopause struggled to revive my innate maternal instincts that first night. Promise, nearly an identical resemblance of my daughter, slept in the room across from mine.
The next few days I enrolled her into my neighborhood school, attended PTAs, rescheduled, reworked and reshuffled my life. There were days I couldn’t eat, think, breathe; and nights I’d wake up in a cold sweat thinking: WTF?
Then Fear showed up!
All glammed out. And I became angry. Not at Promise, but at my daughter for putting me in this position. Yes! I was angry at her! All the while trying desperately not to lose myself as I went through every emotion that Fear threw at me.
As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I knew I needed to figure out a way to do me again.
Perilously, I started to integrate familiar things back into my life that kept me sane. I’d take long walks. Meditate. Listen to inspiring podcasts. And dance around my apartment with Promise.
One day, Promise and I had what we had come to refer to as a trust moment, a heart-to-heart where we confided in each other about what we are thinking, feeling, needing and not judge.
I told her that she stresses me out when she doesn’t do her best. She told me that she doesn’t do her best because when I get upset, I’m not calm.
Then Promise suggested that she write: ‘I’ll do my best’ and I write ‘I’ll be more calmer’ ten times and we give it to each other as a reminder that we were in this together.
Writing those words on a composition page was like breathing air back into my lungs. I realized Fear had not hijacked me. I’d hijacked Fear. I’d invited Fear into my life because I was too damn stuck in my own stoicness to realize that this little girl was a gift!
Fear can make us miss out on the little Promises that shows up and teaches us about how to be calm; how to not be so stuck and stoic and structured that we lose sight of all that God and the universe is here to teach us.
In fact, it is Promise’s story that inspired the national nonprofit I founded, Saving Promise, my book Don’t Look at the Monster—One Woman’s Journey to Embrace a Purposeful Life and The Monster Theory—a women empowerment brand to inspire women to confront their fears and embrace their passion, purpose and power.
So if you are a mom or just someone who struggles with Fear, allow me to offer you a free copy of my book: Inspiring Life-Changing Stories to Overcome Your Fears, Find Balance and Live Your Best Life. Not only will these stories inspire you, but I also outline 13 practical tips that you can start using right now to confront your fears and find your own calm.
While each day brought a newfound sense of freedom, I now realize that Promise, the little girl who calls me Bumblebee, was not only there to shake up my stoic world but to teach me what it truly means to be fearless … and calm 🙂