By Wendy Hobbs
“What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger!” I have proven this mantra time and time again. Everyone has a story to tell. All too often it’s the reason why you don’t, but occasionally it’s the inspiration why you do. I unfortunately did not grow up in the most loving home. I spent my younger years with the only thing I could look forward to; learning. I had solid grades throughout school and aspired to attend college, to accomplish great things. No one on either side of my family had ever been a college graduate.
When I was 17, I lost focus and dropped out of school, promptly getting married. I had two amazing boys shortly after and thought “Well, this is my life,” When my mother was 47 years old, she passed away from cancer. I was only 23 years old then. While I watched her take her last breath, feeling defeated, I whispered “This is my life.” My marriage could not survive this life altering event, and I divorced 2 years later. Before my mother’s passing, I began Cosmetology School and managed to graduate in my mother’s honor. I have continued my love of hair for 13 years, although I aspired for more. Later, I tried my luck at another marriage, gaining an 18 month old step daughter with it.
My second marriage was emotionally draining and often abusive. Just when I realized I needed to get out, I had my third son. So again I thought to myself, THIS is my life!” More time passed and eventually we had to move in with my father. Four day later, my older brother also passed away from cancer. He was just 38 years old and much too young. At this point I begged God, “Please, DON’T let this be my life!”
That was my wake up call. I began to change my perspective on living, “IS this my life?” I asked. Years have slipped by, while I have tried to steady myself on one stone after the next. Thinking about the short life span of my mother and my brother, I felt time could be running out. At 35 years old, I divorced my second husband but kept my beautiful daughter, who still lives with me. I pulled myself up, got my life on track and demanded, “This is MY life!”
All along, my biggest obstacle has been myself. The many challenges I have faced are the things that did in fact, not kill me. These life moments that have made me stronger were my inspiration to return to my love of learning. The greatest gift I can give myself and my children is a degree. It may have taken me longer than most, but my determination is greater because of the stones I have stood on. This is my selfish accomplishment, which isn’t very selfish at all. This goal is for me, my time to succeed, while my children watch and silently learn. I can now proudly say “This is my LIFE!”
Wendy Hobbs is an often overwhelmed, always challenged mother of 4 children that gets through every day with a determination of success. This narrative piece explains why she has that determination.