Gendusa: A mother’s love and the little engine that could

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017

There are moments in all mother’s lives that are defining.  Moments in motherhood that take your breath away with sorrow or joy.  Those are the times that define strength, courage, and love.  It is those moments that lead to a story that will pass into future generations.  It is those times that define who you really are not just as a mother, but as a person.

Sisters were born three years apart in the 1970’s.  They grew up as typical sisters do.  They were vastly different.  The one thing they had in common was they loved to pester their little brother.  One loved clothes, the other loved to read.  One graduated from Clemson, the other, University of Georgia.

After they were educated and grown, one got married and one was single.  One moved to Washington state and began a career.  One moved to Florida and began a family.  Yes, they were opposites, living at opposite ends of the country for 10 years.  However, you never know what will happen in life until life happens.

A daughter and niece came into the world of these two opposites in 2005.   In wonderfully unexpected ways, a birth is the ultimate defining moment in a person’s life.  For these siblings, that moment was just the beginning.

When one sister was diagnosed with cancer at 37, miles were erased by the plane that quickly flew one sister to another.  The little brother was no longer a bother, but a shoulder to lean on.  The three became one in prayer.

Finally, after a year, the worst part of the nightmare was over, but would their lives ever be the same again?  No.

My daughter, Amy, loved the Northwest with all her heart.  However, Amy’s job was in a precarious state.  Her best friend in Seattle was moving east along with her three Godchildren she adored.  Her sister, Heather, was recovering from cancer and Amy felt the tug of her love for her sister and niece pulling her to move east.

Amy, with all her belongings, packed her car and drove the miles across the country to live within minutes of her sister, Heather. Her master’s degree was forgotten as she took odd jobs to support herself until, hopefully, something came along.  Her life was out on a limb; however, her love was the tree.

Avery, her niece, was now in grammar school and Amy never missed a function.  She made a new home in Florida.  It was a struggle at first, but her persistence payed off when she landed a great job where she now flourishes.

Motherhood comes in different packages.  Amy has no children of her own, but she has mothered many.  Her Godchildren love her and if you could see Avery with Amy, then you would see something mighty special.

Heather, six years ago, was a very sick young lady.  Her bravery was incredible to witness.  Her fear of losing her life was nothing compared to living and fighting to take care of her six-year-old daughter.  “Mom, if I can just raise Avery, that is all I can ask for.”, she would say over and over during the really trying times.

Finally, life got back to living and the sisters were back to being sisters and picking on their baby brother until life happened again.

While on a family vacation, when all of us were gathered at the oceans edge, the little brother fell into the water and broke his neck.

The sisters gathered along with Avery and the rest of the family, begging God to make our Corey whole again.

With a miracle from God, my son Corey survived. He has a plate in his neck that often drives him a little crazy, but every toe and finger never lost feeling.  He still snowboards in the Colorado Rockies where he lives.

Sometimes I think of my children as the little engine that could.  They have climbed some mighty high mountains and careened down some mighty big slopes, but the one thing that survived and grew is an immeasurable amount of love.

We teach our children to be successful.  We can drill them to brush their teeth, get an education, and be kind, but the most important thing we can do as parents is to teach them to love.

Amy’s love for her siblings is boundless.  Heather’s love for her daughter is beyond just being a loving mother:  She is the best mother I have ever known.  And, Corey’s protective love is our reassuring umbrella.

One day a little girl will become a mother and tell her children stories about the strength, courage and love of an aunt, an uncle, and a mother.  It is that love that will live on and become the defining legacy of the little engine that could.

On this Mother’s Day, I am profoundly grateful for my children. What an honor it has been and continues to be for them to call me “Mom”.

They are my defining moment.

Happy Mother’s Day to all those that have ever loved a child.

Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell.