This week at St James was Mater Dei week. We teachers are asked to witness to our students about our relationship with Mary, the Mother of GOD! Those who know me best know that this is easy for me because Mary is my girl.
However this year the prompt was different. It asked us to tell our students about someone in our life who most models Mary’s 10 holy qualities. When I clicked on the link and read about them it was a very easy decision. That person is my mom.
I talk about my mom a lot to our players and my students as she is the person on their Earth I respect most. She is my hero and someone who had overcome obstacles that would kill lost people.
However, what stands out most about my mom aka Ellen aka Gaga is that she is a person who has experienced incredible suffering and trauma in her life and she never, not once, let that define her. She never, not once allowed that to be a crutch in her life or hold her back in anyway.
In fact, in a conversation with my mom just a few months ago about her childhood she said to me that she doesn’t blame her mom for any of the bad things that happened to her, and I quote “I believe she did the best she could.”
Now I am privy to the whole story and all the things I know my maternal grandmother didn’t protect her child, my mom from. In knowing that story anyone would say the opposite was true. Any mother who truly loves and protects their child doesn’t allow their child to suffer the way my mother did. So she most definitely did NOT do the nest she could.
But just the mere fact that my mother could even utter those words and that she holds no malice or ill will towards her parents who really gave her little to no chance in life.
When I was telling a friend about this conversation with my mom she said “your mom is an example of living sainthood.” And I couldn’t agree more.
There is no one more generous or forgiving or kind or thoughtful that Ellen Bell.
Despite the dumpster fire that was her youth here she is…As full of life and spunk and sass as ever. The road she had to travel to get here wasn’t pretty or easy but she never complained. She never laid blame on someone else or whined about how she was owed something because her childhood was a nightmare.
Instead, she got a job, she saved money, she worked hard in school and she made something of herself. She became the first person in her family to get a college degree. She went on to become an amazing teacher and influenced the lives of 1,000s of kids, some of whom grew up in environments similar to hers. She became a mother of two daughters.
Those two daughters grew up in a home with an immense amount of love and high expectations. Those two daughters, myself and my sister Jennifer, were raised to believe that anything was possible and that no one ever could prevent us from achieving our goals except for ourselves. Jennifer and I were taught that complaining gets you no where but hard work gets you everywhere. We were told things like “somebody always has it worse,” and rather than complain about a teacher or a coach or a friend that we should go talk to them and advocate for ourselves.
I’m so incredibly grateful for the lessons my sister and I leaned growing up. I know with our a shadow of a doubt it’s why I am the way I am. I also know that Jennifer and I are raising kids to believe and know the same things.
So…the blessings of my moms grace and living breathing sainthood is being lived out not only through her kids but will be carried on by her grandkids.