My parents have always been a major part of my support system. I feel that way because I grew up with a perfect life. My mom stayed home with me, my two sisters and my two brothers, and my dad worked at General Motors. We never had a lot of money, but we never went without. I loved travelling with them and I enjoyed our day-to-day grind.
This type of lifestyle is what I wanted for my kids. Unfortunately, for many of us, that picture-perfect life can change at any moment. I had to leave my husband when my kids were extremely young (ages four, two and one), and I had a very hard time dealing with it. I had to rebuild my life from the ground up, not knowing who I was anymore.
Enter: my support system. My close friends, my siblings, and—most of all—my parents. They picked me up, brushed me off, and made me put on my big girl socks.
I know I’m a stronger person today because of my struggles. Canada Day Weekend, 2018, I purchased a home for myself and my three children on the shores of Lake Erie. After months of looking, and being outbid on almost a dozen homes, I quit looking. My realtor talked me into seeing the last one on our list, and I fell in love. I pictured immediately the kids playing on the beach and canoeing in the marsh, and was in awe of the view. Amazingly, they took my offer and the house was mine. I felt like I finally earned those big girl socks.
On June 13, I was on a mini vacation in Sault Ste. Marie. The lake, with the water levels being at record highs, came in and smashed over my neighbour’s breakwall and pummeled my house. The waves were so strong they rushed over the road and into the marsh on the other side, 150 feet away. The lake water came up through the floorboards and filled my entire living area with about six to eight inches of water. This was at about 2:00 a.m. and a lot of the neighbourhood evacuated. Thank God we weren’t home, because we all probably would have been traumatized.
Thursday morning I called my parents and let them know what the neighbour told me, and asked them to check on the house (at this point we didn’t know the details). My Mom called me back to tell me it was bad, but she didn’t want me to come home. She actually didn’t want me to see it because she knew I would be scared and I should wait out the storm that was clearly blowing through. I thought: OK, I will deal with it when I get home. No problem.
I came home to my mom and dad working like dogs cleaning and organizing and tearing out carpet and repairing things. We spent the next week filling and loading and hauling 200 sandbags, scrubbing floors, and purging any unneeded items. This summer I took my kids on a road trip in our 1995 VW Winnebago. Again, I came home to another surprise: My kitchen cupboards (which had all collapsed due to the flood) were repaired and rearranged and a new pantry was installed.
So today, when I look out at the beautiful (and hopefully level-lowering) lake, I see a wall of sandbags. To me, it’s not an eyesore. It is a reminder of the amazing parents I have, and their unwavering love and support. I honestly don’t know what I would ever do without them. They are so much more than a support system. They’re my Life Line.
Helpful Links to help you build a support network and why it's so important
Rule: Create a Support System from Parenting - the Modern Family