This piece was submitted from one of our Spotlight moms. Lisa Faulkner is the mother of two grown children and shared with us how her commitment to herself has aided her through some of life’s bittersweet moments.
When I was in high school, I had a dance instructor who was an amazing mentor. She was a working wife and mother of two children. She was a dance instructor; she owned her own dancewear business; and she sold real estate. She stoodbarely five foot tallbut was the strongest and smartest woman I had ever known.She gave me the best advise that has stuck with me over the years. She said, “I hope you find the man of your dreams and you get married and haveas many kids as you want, but always remember to findjoy in working and investing in yourself.”
I did find the man of my dreams and had two beautiful children. When my youngest was four, I went back to work part-time. We certainly needed the extra income, but I mainly return to work because I felt I was losing who I was and needed to use my brain and creative juices. Twenty-six years later I am still with the same firm and thriving. And while I was able to work andstilldo all of the things I needed to do with my children (room mother, PTO President, field trips, sports, sports and more sports), my job gave me an outlet and an opportunity to grow.
Before I knew it, I looked up and my children were all grown and had moved on with their productive lives and were living in two different states from me and my husband. When they first went off to college and I had that first “empty nest” experience, it was tough. But after college they both settled back in our hometown and I felt atpeace knowing they were close by. My daughter moved away first when her husband’sjob took her and my two grandchildren to Florida. My son soon followed with a great opportunity in Dallas sooff he went. While I was a bit shaken at first, I looked at my life and realized how fortunate I was that I had taken the adviceof my mentor all those years ago and invested in MY life. I did my job with my children and they were both thriving and successfuladults. However, when they were no longer the center of my life, I still had a wonderful life because I had invested in myself.
I recently lost my husband after 35 years of marriage. My children have been my rock, butadjusting to life without him has been hard. However, I wake up every morning and I look in the mirror and I see a strong and healthy woman. I see a woman that takes care of her body, mind and soul. I see heartache, but I also see a future. A future full of wonderful memories with my children and grandchildrenand my dearest friends. I see financial security because I insisted on a career that would provide stability for me no matter what occurred. I see wrinkles and gray hairs but that’s okay. I see someone that truly had no idea nearly 30 years ago that by making a decision to invest in myself, I am now strong enough to survive anything.