Hello Lemonade Warriors!
I sit here writing with a stupid amount of tissues by my side. I have already had one “ugly cry” today and I expect several more.
The beautiful young lady in this picture is my daughter, Makena. Today is her last day of sixth grade (middle school, here we come!) and while that is a milestone in itself…it marks a significant “lemonade milestone” for me. Many of you have watched her grow up over the years and cheered us on – for that, I am grateful.
My battle began in 2009. She was just under four years old. Her first day of kindergarten was August of 2010 and to say that I was in the “thick of it” would be an understatement. I was sleeping with a hammer under my pillow and carrying an industrial size can of mace around my house. I lived in fear for my life and I defined the term, “fight or flight.” On any given Thursday, you’d find me picking up groceries from a church food bank because I could not afford to feed my daughters without help from the community.
When I enrolled her in a local school for kindergarten, it wasn’t even my neighborhood school. I applied for an interdistrict transfer because I had no idea where I would end up living but I had set my sights on this tiny little school as “the one” I wanted her to attend. I made a commitment to myself that I would give my daughters stability despite the storm that was threatening to destroy me. I made a commitment that no matter where we were forced to move, I would get her to that school every single day because while our lives were so rocky, I wanted her to have a stable place to call her own.
Come hell or highwater, I was committed to this goal but it wasn’t easy. There was one year (first grade) that we lived 30 miles away and risked being kicked out of the school if anyone found out. Her second grade teacher did “home visits” which motivated me to get us moved back to the district but that was by the skin of my teeth. Looking back, I have no idea how I survived much of what was thrown our way but we did it. Together, as a team, we did it.
This young woman has an amazing head on her shoulders and a heart that is kind, loving and caring. She is determined, driven and I am so proud of her. She has endured more than most 30-year olds but you would never know it. She has had to use her voice to speak her truth and for many years she was forced to act as her little sister’s protector. While I am sad that she had to assume that role at such a young age, I am equally grateful to her. She is brave and she is strong. She wants to be a singer and an attorney when she grows up and I often joke that she has been practicing her argument and debate skills on me since she was knee-high. Regardless of what she becomes when she grows up, I know that she will succeed and thrive.\
Happy graduation day to my little, “Makena Bean.” We did it.
Thank YOU all for celebrating this “lemonade milestone” with me — I know that you all “get it” …more than anyone else ever could. (((HUGS)))
Tina Swithin is an author (Divorcing a Narcissist series and The Narc Decoder: Understanding the Language of the Narcissist) and founder of One Mom’s Battle, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing support to survivors and educating the family court professionals on Cluster B personality disorders. Tina has dedicated her life to empowering those on the battlefield of the family court system through her many resources such as her books, The Lemonade Club, her annual retreats, and her coaching practice.