Nicole Phillips, Published May 10 2013
Kindness Is Contagious: Learning from mom's mistakes, strengths
I never seem to have quite enough patience to ride the tide of mischief that is inevitable with three children. The laundry and the dishes always seem to call out the loudest just when my kids want to snuggle or tell me a story about their day.
I wake up in the morning and ask God to help me be the mom those beautiful kids deserve, and then I lie in bed at night and ask God to forgive me for falling short yet again.
My spirit would be completely broken if I didn’t know beyond a shadow of a doubt that kids turn out OK, not despite their parents’ weaknesses but often because of them.
My mom is a kind and brilliant woman. She speaks three languages, is constantly in a state of learning something new, and shares her heart with others through her volunteer work. She is an enviable role-model.
I think my mom is someone I admire so much because she is proof that we can turn our lives around.
When I was in third grade, my mom made a tragic decision. She got a job teaching at a prison and fell in love with an inmate. She lost her husband (my father), her home, her job, and for a while, she lost her kids.
When her new husband was released from prison, he had an affair and the relationship was over. My mother ended up haunted by financial problems, depression and a palpable guilt over what she had done and all she had lost.
It took me a long time to understand that she always loved me. She just couldn’t take care of me and herself at the same time.
During all of the conversations we have had about this over the past few decades, one theme keeps popping up. My mom says the attention from this man was like a drug. She needed it. It clouded her vision until she couldn’t see how it was destroying her life. When she finally figured it out, it was too late. The damage was done.
Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. Through the sadness and shame, my mom went back to school and earned her master’s degree at the age of 50. She ran her first full marathon on her 60th birthday. She bought her first home, all by herself, when she was almost 70.
My mom owns her mistakes. She takes full responsibility for them, but she refuses to let the past determine her future.
Mom, I appreciate you letting me share this story as a way to give hope to other people who are feeling like their sins are too big to be forgiven or that it’s too late to begin again.
I love you very much. If you are proud of the woman I’ve become, please know, it is all because of the woman you have become. Happy Mother’s Day.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@
hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
This column was written exclusively for The Forum
Nicole Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo, and currently the executive director of Diva Connection Foundation. She is the mother of three kids and the wife of Bison men’s head basketball coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.