The path Andy is on is smooth. It is a dirt path with a fine grit, not a single stone to be found. As the early morning progresses, the path begins to change and take shape. At this point in the path, there is a pebble here or there that may cause a small stumble for Andy. However, she walks with ease.
All of the sudden, Andy looks down and notices that where her left tennis shoe was once precisely and perfectly tied, is a bare foot with all flaws exposed. The lone hair on her big toe, the freckles across the top of her foot and her chipped purple nail polish are all revealed.
Confused and without choice, Andy keeps walking.
Pebbles continue to appear on the path, covering the dirt. Andy continues to walk. Her bare foot steps and then her tennis shoe. On and on and on. However, as the path develops, the smooth pebbles turn to gravel. The once completely smooth path is now rugged and rough. The bottom of Andy's sensitive foot begins to ache. Each step on the left foot shoots a sharp pain up her leg. As she continues on, Andy begins to put more weight on her right foot. Utilizing the comfort and support from her tennis shoe, the pain from the left slightly subsides.
With each step, Andy's left foot, while sensitive and sore, is beginning to form callouses. Andy's right foot, while full of support and strength, is growing tired. Finding a strong balance while walking is a struggle. Wanting to fully rely on the remaining tennis shoe, Andy is finding that it is placing strain on the rest of her body. The tough skin developing on the bottom of her left foot is helping her to walk a little more normal. However, Andy is fully aware that without her other tennis shoe, she will always be more reliant and dependent upon her right shoe.
Andy may wish that she has two tennis shoes, but she's only got one. When you've only got one of something that often comes in twos, you learn two things: how to develop tough skin and reliance upon availability.
I use Andy and her tennis shoes to truly explain how grateful I am for my mother. I wish I had two parents. But I've learned that it's okay that I don't. I've developed tough skin on my left. But on my right, I have learned just how much I can rely on my mom. She is full of more support than any tennis shoe on the market. The comfort she provides will never fade away. It is hard to be a mother. It is hard to be a mother of five children. (We know we aren't easy....) But it is even harder to be a mother to five children who lost their father.
Mom, I don't think that any amount of words could ever tell you how appreciative we are of you. Thank you for letting me cry in your bed, crash on your sofa, borrow your clothes and eat all of your food when it just felt like too much to go live off on my own. Thank you being strong enough when all of us aren't. Thank you, mom, for being you. I wouldn't have picked any other one if I had the choice. I love you.