"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength.”
A couple of weeks ago I was having dinner with my Aunt Evil Kneivel and some of her friends and we were talking about my family. Aunt EK said that we were from Tennessee farmers, and you could tell because we were built strong--broad shoulders, strong arms, big legs--for working in the fields. As I thought about it, Aunt EK was right, we are built strong. But it has nothing to do with our ability to hoe tobacco (although I'd put us up against anyone at that too!)
In February, Aunt EK and Uncle EK were involved in a serious four-wheeler accident. (You read about one of the sweetest things I've seen related to that here.) By the time I made it to the trauma center in El Paso where they had been air lifted, they had been diagnosed with horrible cuts requiring massive stitches, broken bones, and broken vertebreas. I remember walking in the door and seeing Aunt EK in the hospital bed still covered in blood and dirt, her arm in a cast and her head halfway shaven, and the first words out of her mouth being, "Well, here's my next life experience."
That's how Aunt EK views everything--even the bad things--in her life. They are life experiences. She did not lay around having a pity party. She did not act like a drama queen about her injuries. She chalked this up to being a life experience and started worrying about her ability to go on the fishing trip she had planned a month later. That day in the hospital, Uncle EK said that she could not go...no one was surprised to get a call from Aunt EK on the boat 30 days later. We know she's built strong.
Aunt Delta Dawn is not much different. As long as I can remember, she's signed off on every card that she's ever sent me with the message "have fun every day." That's how Aunt Delta Dawn lives her life. As you might remember, she lost her husband, my Uncle David, over Christmas. And as painful as that was, and even though you can tell how much she misses him and she'll tell you everything is different now...she still does her best to have fun every day.
She got her blog nickname after she spent the weekend showing everyone in the family an iPhone video of her singing karaoke dressed in camo at some random bar in small town New Mexico. She said that they were driving through town when she saw the karaoke sign, something that was on her bucket list, and she made her friend pull right in so she could sing. She belted that tune (Delta Dawn--obviously!) out and bopped through the song and looked like she had the best time. Even in the aftermath of unbearable tragedy, Aunt Delta Dawn manages to have fun everyday, and she's brave enough to rock karaoke dressed in camo. She's built strong.
And I've written before about my mom being a "real housewife" and the strength that goes into that.
These three ladies above--my Mom, Aunt EK and Aunt Delta Dawn--are some of the strongest women I know. No matter what life throws at them, they face it head on. I couldn't be prouder of the women I come from. And I only hope this strength is genetic, because if I can be half as strong as these ladies are, I'll be just fine!
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