Mommy Mondays

Welcome!
Three years ago I stared a little tradition here on my blog of interviewing a few Mom's in honor of Mothers Day. Gotta tell ya, it's has slowly turned into one of my favorite things about my blog. This year's line up is JUST as amazing as the past!
I was all over the board this year and am super excited about the interviews. If you would like to look at past interviews just click on the year on the side bar and the month of May, they should all be listed under Mommy Monday.

When I sat down to write out this interview I realized how long I've known Nina..like for a super long time!! (for the sake of both of our ages..lets just say it's been over 20 years) We have never been super close, but our lives have always been connected by family and friends.

Nina currently lives in Virgina with her hubby Christian and two kiddos, Naomi and Caleb. They own Health and Wholeness wellness studio. Nina enjoys handing out punishment in the form of boot camps and something called pump classes ;-) She has always been one of those rare persons who brightens up a room just by walking in, she truly is beautiful inside and out.


Girl! Thanks so much for being part of Mommy Monday! Let's start by talking a little bit about your childhood and more specifically, your Mom and her accident.

The summer right before my 6th grade year my mother got in a near fatal car accident. She spent a month in a coma at Harborview in Seattle and the doctors told my father that she had a 3% chance of survival, and if she did, she would be a “vegetable” her entire life. Her progress astounded everyone. She eventually woke up, re-learned how to walk and do every day tasks. However, the accident left her a brain damaged woman with the mental abilities of a 5 year old, reliant on drugs to control her impulses and unable to think logically about the world around her.


I know it's a bit of an obvious question, but tell me how the accident impacted you at such a young age?

My first response when I hear that question makes me remember the moment I started my period at age 11. Mom was still in the hospital which left me crying on the bathroom floor with out a mom to talk to…embarrassed alone and needy.

I hated feeling needy. I was the oldest of four and my most responsible self told my heart to grow up and be the mom that my siblings didn’t have.

In hindsight, I realize that the most damaging lie that I believed throughout this experience was that I had to be strong, and that allowing myself to feel pain and sorrow was weak and counter productive. This certainly is not the gospel, and didn’t serve me as well as one would hope. Another thing that I learned was that a great way to mask sadness is business, and no one was better at being busy in high school than I was. My home environment was such a mess, and mom’s mood was always so unpredictable and hard to deal with, so I basically engrossed myself in every activity I could in order to avoid my family. I still struggle with busyness and accomplishments as validation of my self worth, I see that now.

However the hardest part of all of this, I would say, was mourning the loss of a mother in the presence of a person who was still my mother. This concept at such a young age was impossible for me. Her personality and role as a mom died in that accident, she was a shell of what she once was, leaving her with a body and mind barely capable of caring for herself much less four children…yet she wasn’t dead, and after all, she was still my mother.


If I remember correctly there were times that your Mom lived with you at home and all seemed ok, but I also remember the first time I saw your Mom as a homeless woman.

My parents got a divorce the year I graduated from high school. My mom skipped around various group homes and mental health institutions, and even into different relationships (none of which have been healthy as you can imagine).

After I moved away, I didn’t pay attention to what was going on, nor was I very good at staying in touch. I remember visiting home after a few years from my new home in California. No one had heard from my mom for months or knew where she was living. She had been kicked out of a group home and apparently was staying with a friend (who himself was brain damaged), but mostly on the streets. I remember the tremendous guilt and sadness I felt in my stomach while driving through my old home town, thinking any minute I would see my mom, hunched over at a bus stop staying dry from the rain, hungry and unkept.

Then I saw her. Standing alone on a side walk, in a large messy sweatshirt. I remember getting out of the car and greeting her with a hug. After asking dumb questions like “how are you?” and “what have you been up to?” I stood there feeling utterly helpless. There was nothing I could do for her.


Right before my Mom died I have this memory, she was actually home when I got home from school. The house was clean, dinner was cooking and I was just so happy to have her around. Do you have a favorite memory about your Mom, like a time when the world felt right?

I love this question. Before the accident my mom ran a day care. A bunch of us kids were doing crafts at the kitchen table and my mom came around the corner with a laundry basket and was singing. She looked directly at me and smiled. I have no idea why this memory stands out, but in it she looks so vibrant and beautiful in my mind. Also the smell of trident gum and corn huskers lotion or aqua net (hey, it was the 80’s!) and fresh baked bread all take me to her face, if I close my eyes I can see her big brown and pure eyes.


Let's fast forward..here is where you and I loose touch, you get out of our small town, head to school, do a little work in showbiz/modeling/trying to become rich and famous..find a hottie hubby, marry and are now attempting to live happily ever after, then comes the wee babe.

What were your feelings when you knew you would be bringing babes into such a world of uncertainty. Did you have a moment of.."Crap, I have a bunch of emotional baggage and fear I'm bringing into this..what am I going to do?

I remember the week Naomi was born, my first child and baby girl. I was sitting in my living room, holding her in my arms, just us two. I remember looking at her little angle face, so peaceful while I was sobbing as waves of inadequacy gripped my heart. Thoughts like “who am I to raise a little girl into a woman when I never had any one show me how?” circled round and round in my mind…and it still does sometimes.


Of course all of us are shaped by our childhoods, and we all parent accordingly, what are you thankful for now as a parent about your childhood?

I always felt safe as a child, in my home, with my friends and in my freedom to make choices for myself. I always knew I was loved by my parents and even with its dysfunction ,I had a place to call home. I was also raised in a Christian family and the knowledge that God was near to the broken hearted always brought me comfort. To this day my mothers verse is “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

I know God is not done with her yet, and I cling to the hope that I will one day be a part of helping my mother get truly healthy and completing her healing journey.


It seems to me that God truly blessed you with an amazing hubby! And that he has a VERY supportive and loving family that came along with (bonus!). Tell me a little bit about that..

It is true, my husbands family is incredible. My husband Christian is the oldest of four children, and my age falls just between his two younger sisters, both of whom I adore. We do holidays and birthdays well, and Christmas is a week long event, but most importantly we are each others support system. Our Wellness business wouldn’t be what it is with out his family’s valuable help (literally, we have a photographer, a web designer, a carpenter, a pilates instructor and a babysitter with in arms reach, all willing for a few home made meals , and hugs!)


Ok fun question time..tell me about your perfect day.

In leu of the season I am in right now (a bit unbalanced in terms of the work/rest ratio) My perfect day is one that involves being truly present in every interaction with my children and my amazing husband… there is not a to-do list running through the back of our minds, or a messy house for that matter!…that perfect day involves a trip to Starbucks, flip flops and finger paints, Whole Foods Salad bar, sunshine, white sand and blue water, a good book…and a great-work out to earn all the relaxing...

And perhaps receiving a card or note from my mom in the mail. She likes to draw, and this particular card would have clouds and mountains on it, things she always draws when she is in a happy state of mind, and I would be reminded that if His eyes are on the sparrow, certainly His eyes are on His child, my mama.

Comments

Our Family said…
That is an amazing "Mommy Monday" post. Tear jerker for sure! I just can't imagine growing up without your mom. How devestating! What I find most amazing is that you two ladies grew up to be the best mommies and your kids are so lucky to have you!!! Amber ~ God is so using you with this Mommy Monday idea...it will be fun to see what he does through you next. :)
Leah said…
Oh, LOVE me some Nina! What an amazing mother and person. The type of person that has anyone who encounters her, loving her instantly and wishing they could spend more time with her! VERY few people have the vibrant spirit she has!
Natalie Branham (Nelson) said…
Oh Nina! I am so touched by reading your story. Here I grew up with you and had no idea the struggles you must have gone through trying to grow up without a motherly influence. I don't know what I would do without my mom. I was wiping the tears as I was reading this. Thanks so much for sharing!
tinkerverve said…
Oh, my! You girls outdid yourselves. Amber, your questions are perfect. Nina, your story, with it's honesty and vulnerability, touches my heart to it's very core. Oh, how I loved those eyes of your mama's. They said so much. I also loved hearing {and watching} her play the violin. It brought her true pleasure....as did her children. She truly loved her kids. Thank you so much for sharing and opening up your heart. I love you, girl!
Random Thoughts said…
Not too much moves me to tears but this one did. Thank you Amber and Nina. Brought back so many memories and there is something wonderful to see you girls grown up and determined to live the lives God meant for you.
Joanna Roddy said…
Wow. As a close friend of Nina's, it was a revelation to hear her story retold. I love Nina so very much. She is a woman worth honoring. Thank you for doing so in such a beautiful way.
Darlene said…
Speechless and humbled. Love you, Nina!

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