My Mom: The Hustlin' Babe
Written by Beth Logan // Edited by Chelsea DuDeVoire
My mom is a babe who hustles.
She doesn’t work a corporate job or hold a degree from an Ivy League school, but she hustles. I grew up with five brothers and sisters, all as different as they come. Some of us were impeccable students, some the exact opposite, and some, (myself,) average. Our parents never pushed us too hard about our grades; their motto being, “Do the best you can. We’ll love you no matter what.” I definitely recognize and appreciate my privilege in having two completely positive and accepting parents.
We had an awesome childhood fit with sports, voice lessons and dance class, and to be completely honest, I don’t know how my mom has stayed sane and kept us in line. You'd think that driving six kids around would get chaotic - and you would be correct - but perhaps the most fortunate wrench that was thrown into my mother’s life of driving, parenting, and supporting her kids, was Mary.
Mary was the third child in our bundle of six, and was born with a minor deletion of her 15th chromosome that led to a genetic condition known as Prader-Willi Syndrome. Naturally, when some find out that their child will not have a normal life, they crumble. They can’t bear the fact that their baby will develop completely differently than the norm, both physically and mentally. My mom couldn’t help but think about the lack of a wedding day, driver’s license and sports games for her very first daughter. But with a lot of prayer, strength, persistence and hustle, my mom gave Mary the best life she could have ever imagined.
Our family may have moved at a slower pace back then, but if it meant Mary would be there to spend the time with us, we were okay with it. She did everything we did, and the person who made all of this happen as smoothly as it could have, was mom. If one of us rolled our eyes because it took too long for Mary to get into the car or to push the grocery cart, mom would take us aside and say, “Do you have any idea how lucky you are that she's here?”
Through Mary, my mom taught us kindness, love, acceptance, and tolerance. As kids, we learned not to see disabilities in others. We didn’t stare nor stray, and if we saw someone or something that was different, we engaged. Many cannot say the same. The amount of times in our daily lives where we happened upon both adults and children staring at Mary like she had three heads was actually astounding. As an eight-year-old, I recall telling someone at my elementary school to “take a picture, it’ll last longer.” As a middle-schooler, I lectured adults on parking in handicapped spots when they didn't need it. Today, when I find myself in the passenger’s seat next to drivers who think it's okay to park in them, I politely tell them to find another spot.
“Mary’s condition is a blessing,” mom would say. “She loves everyone; she is never consumed by hate or anger.” How many people with a normal amount of chromosomes can say that? (I certainly can't.) It's a lesson that has become invaluable to me, and one that everyone should recognize and strive for each day. These are the types of lasting effects that my older sister had on me – thanks in large part to my mom. She's the reason I continue to perpetuate acceptance, choose to let go of the material things that don’t matter, and focus my energy on the things that do.
Mary left us in the Fall of 2011, just before Thanksgiving. My family was broken. How could the super glue to the Logan family’s existence - our one identifying factor and treasure - be gone so quickly? I was at a loss for emotions; my grieving accompanied by confusion and emptiness. I always compare the feeling to playing soccer in the bitter cold and blocking a shot with my thigh. At first, you don’t feel it. You know you’ve been hit, and that it’s supposed to hurt, but no pain comes. And then, all of a sudden, you feel it.
It's hard to fathom this kind of pain until you're smack dab in the depths of it. Imagine feeling the pain of losing your older sister - someone who you’ve grown up taking care of, planning around, and loving unconditionally. Now multiply that by millions, and you may come close to imagining what my mom endured in losing her very own child. It's something that seems like it'd never happen to you - until it does.
Mary was and is a piece of my family’s identity – and even more so a part of mom. Within 24 hours, her whole world had changed. No more constant monitoring of Mary's blood sugar and weight; no more waking up at five in the morning to eat breakfast (as Mary liked to eat early - and often - to which I can relate.) Mary was finally free and without pain. Mom wasn't.
With my dad by her side as an instrumental factor in her daily victories, my mom regained her strength, one step at a time. First, by starting small: going back to sing with the church choir, then to taking up painting lessons, trying out pilates, teaching voice lessons, and working at our local dance studio. What was once an empty space void of Mary, slowly transformed into something beautiful, as my mom began to find parts of herself that she forgot were there.
To every mom who has had to suffer through the pain of losing a child, I cannot fathom the grief that you’ve had to endure. And as someone who isn't a mother, I can't truly relate or offer any advice because it’s most certainly not my place. But after witnessing the divine resilience that my mom has displayed, I want you to know this: losing your child is not your fault, and it does not make you less of a mother. After watching my mother regain her strength and zest for life again, I'm convinced she's actually a superhero.
My mom is the most amazing person I know. She has taken loss in stride and turned it in to something beautiful. She is a babe who hustles.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of those hustlin’ moms, but especially to mine. I love you, Momma.
Beth is a former PR pro-turned-student who spends her time reading nonfiction, taming her insane dog, and watching Sunday Today with Willie Geist. She's also hoping by the time you see this that the St. Louis Cardinals will still be first in the NL Central.