My husband tells me over and over that I am too much of an optimist – he has gone as far as to call me a “Pollyanna” – which for you who have never seen the Disney movie with a very young Haley Mills – means that I tend to see the good in every situation, no matter how bad it might be. I don’t think of this as the insult my hubby meant it to be – especially coming from my own version of “Chicken Little”.
Where I see opportunities, my hubby sees looming disaster. Where I see possibilities for happiness, my hubby sees heartbreak and broken promises. Where I see success, my hubby sees disappointments and failures. I’ve gotten used to this view of life over the years and just laugh at his pessimism, which he calls ‘realism’.
The funny part is that I don’t think of myself as an optimist. I admit that I tend to see great possibilities in every failure and I have faith that people can overcome anything – but it is more about what I learned from my mother and her life than an innate desire to see the best in every situation.
I know that no matter how hard I think I have it, I was lucky enough to have someone to help me raise four children. My mother raised five girls all by herself. It isn’t just the money that is the issue — but just having someone to help with the day-to-day small things, having someone to share the joys and proud moments – and someone to be with when all the children leave ‘the nest’.
I know that no matter how many aches and pains I have, it is nothing compared to having multiple sclerosis from the age of 29. At the age of 56, I may be overweight, have high blood pressure and a thyroid which doesn’t work – but at this same age, my mother had been in a nursing home for one year and died seven years later. Am this age, my mother could no longer walk on her own or take care of herself. So, no matter what small ailment I get, it will never compare to what she went through.
I know that no matter what happens, there are always people who care. Looking back, I realize that my mother was surrounded by love — not just love of her children, but also love of our neighbors and the people whose lives she had touched in our small town of Gunnison. They didn’t love her out of pity – they loved her because she truly cared about everyone around her and helped others even when she had so little herself.
I work every day to be like my mother — to truly care about those around me, to give of myself even when it is hard and to always look at life as an adventure with better things always around the corner.
No – I’m not an optimist – but I do believe that no matter how bad today is – tomorrow always has the possibility of being wonderful.