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  • Kate Litteken

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.....?

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

I joke with a friend that my life is a “dramedy”. A series of events when linked together that would make for a Lifetime Movie Network miniseries. I'm not sure it's really a joke however. There does seem to be an undercurrent of struggle to my life at times that doesn't feel warranted. Like the Gods, the Powers that be, the Winds, and Maslow all got together and collectively decided to "stir the pot". At the same time. Repeatedly. For Decades. One has to ask when does the statement "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" actually become a statement of fact and when does it remain just a cliche that we throw out there to make ourselves or a friend feel better. Hmmmm.....


Let's just pretend for a brief moment that the above cliche is actually real. That all the drama, chaos, heart-break, loss, abandonment, fear, anxiety, depression, unknown, etc. is all for a reason. That it was given to me, or I created it, or that I walked into it blind, or even with open eyes for that matter, so I could grow. Learn something else about myself. Play a different hand with the same deck of cards. What's the lesson? That I am a kick-ass mother? Knew that already. That I love fierce and loyal and forever? Yep, old news. That I will give and give while others take, all the while biting my tongue? This is a sad truth, that I am getting better at correcting. What's the new lesson? That I am to be single parent for ever? That I can do things on my own? I know I can, I have already. Why do I have to keep proving this?


This friend once said that there are a few humans out in the world who are genetically designed to procreate and during those years their only focus can be on seeing those off-spring to adulthood and doing their best to ensure their happiness and health and survival. Meaning that partners are chosen for their reproductive qualities only. And that after the years of procreation have passed these persons are then capable of focusing on themselves and their needs and finding their own happiness. Now from a evolutionary psychology perspective this makes complete sense. Except why me? What genetic lottery did I win (or lose) to get passed that set of proteins?


But she is a wise woman, so I will give some validity to her "you're genetically wired different than others" claim. Ok, I'm wired to be a caregiver. I can go with that. And to prove that point....my universe.


Exhibit A is my Earth. My oldest child, who by definition of family terms is my step-daughter but by definition of love is mine. I claim her just like I claim my biological children. I have to believe that the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" claim is here for moments such as these. I know her past, I know her biological parents, and I know that without my love in her life she would have ended up on a very different and terrifying path. I'm in no way claiming that her success is my doing. She has worked hard to come back from places children should not bear witness to. What I am saying is this, my role in her life is my lesson. It's the reason that I entered into a marriage that deep down I knew was not where I needed to be. It's the reason why I fought to have her with us. It's why I keep fighting for her.


Exhibit B is my Moon. He is who made me a mother for the first time. He taught me how to love so fully another person that you forget to breathe at times. He has a compassion and sensitivity to others that makes all the joy in the world dull in comparison. He is a quiet, reserved leader who is the first to say " I love you", offer a hug and a kiss, or lend a helping hand. He is a lover, not a fighter. He is a quiet blessing that fills my heart with love. The world needs him too. They need people to look at others with compassion and empathy. Not pity and sympathy. Maybe my dear friend is right about all this after all.


Exhibit C is my Sun. She is my reality check. And boy howdy do we all need a reality check at varying times in our lives. Mine come daily. She brings a clarity to issues that seem complicated. There is no stepping around the edges with her. She's bold and brave and fierce. She's a bright light on a cloudy day, even when you think you prefer the dark. She loves big and is clear on her boundaries with others, and you can't sway her no matter how hard you try. It's amazing to witness her strength. I delight in our conversations and the passion she has for the creatures of the world that hold her heart. I see so much of myself in her it stops me short at times, because I know my struggles and I say daily prayers that she learns from my life path and forges her own.


Exhibit D is my Mars. The youngest of my herd. My "ride or die" friend is his Godmother and they have a shared tenacity for life and a voice that demands be heard. He is brilliant. The world needs minds like his to question their doings. He has comedic timing and one liners that make adults stop and think and then applaud. Without her theory he would not be here. And boy how I love my boy. He is what keeps me questioning and moving forward so life obstacles don't kill me.


So maybe my friend is right. I have been on, and continue to be on this path. This path that seems so daunting and unknown and lonely, because I was created to be their mother. To help them find their own paths and to guide them in this big scary emotional world. So it comes to this.....my confidant is right. My path is my path because my path is composed of what makes me who I am. And I am their mom. Their greatest ally and supporter. I love them all to my core. I would give my life for each of them, every day of the week and twice if needed. Here's to what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And to them....always.




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