Grit and courage


Where does grit and courage come from? Is it an outside force or something deep within? I feel it comes from both inside and out. Moms with children can attest to this, its grit that keeps you sane and moving forward when it feels like there is nothing more to give. I have my own gritty stories…

It was a mid-September morning in Northeast Ohio. I had four small children at the time ranging from six years old to six weeks old. I had a lot of laundry to get done that day. Having to do laundry with a wringer washer, hanging the laundry outside to dry, because being Amish meant electricity was forbidden. It was what I was used to, it was hard, but I enjoyed the process. Ask me today about that and I will tell you “Thank GOD for washers and dryers!!”

The early morning routine of getting breakfast for my husband and seeing him off to work was out of the way, before the sun was ever up. I got busy with the morning chores as I waited for the wood fired hot water heater to do its magic. I enjoyed the quiet, the first birds chirping high in the trees, the neighbor’s rooster announcing sunup.

It wasn’t long before I was in the laundry room getting loads done. Hanging them out piece by piece with clothes pins was mundane work to say the least but being outside was great. I knew my children were still sleeping, it made the three hours go by rather quickly. I still had two more loads to wash when my six-year-old opened the door “mom the baby is crying, she woke us up” hurriedly putting this load through the wringer into the rinse tub I put the last load into the washer and went inside knowing I would have four hungry children.

I gathered my wet newborn from her crib changed her diaper, carrying her around while quickly getting my other three their breakfast which consisted of cheerios and toast. I sat down to feed my now hysterical baby. Closing my eyes, I took the few moments to rest. Once she was full and happy, I put her back into her crib. Checking on the other three I set their cereal bowls into the sink. They went outside to play

The race was on for me to finish my laundry and other chores before my newborn was hungry again. Multitasking was a must grabbing my pressure canner off the kitchen counter I carried it out and set it on the floor to put away once I had the water let out of the washer and things cleaned up. I hung the last laundry on the line with a sigh of relief. I cleaned up the laundry room and grabbed the canner from the floor. I climbed the ladder in the canning room to put it on the top shelf. I must have miscalculated my reach, the next thing I knew the canner  slipped from my grasp falling with a loud crash and I followed right behind. I was up two rungs on the ladder, when I stepped off from that height my foot slipped on the wet cement. All I heard was a sickening crunch, I blacked out for a bit. When my consciousness came back, I was laying on the floor, so sick to my stomach I wanted to throw up.

Quickly pulling off my boot I could see my ankle swelling, turning every shade of color. Yelling for my kids to come help I told my oldest to get the neighbor lady to come over. I mustered up enough strength to hobble inside. My baby was crying again. I sat down to sooth her and felt like falling apart. My neighbor did come to help. She called a taxi to take me to a Dr.

They took care of my children until I got back from the Dr with a diagnosis of a bad sprain. Years later I found out I had indeed broken my ankle that day, for six weeks I hobbled around on crutches with an ace bandage wrapped around a broken ankle. I still did all my chores and kept my four children fed and happy. I know what gritty courage looks and feels like it’s a feeling from deep within your gut this must be done and I’m going to do it. It also came in the form of support from my husband, mom and mother-in-law.

Every single one of you out here can do hard gritty courageous  stuff. You show up when nobody else does, you take action when you’re the only one doing it. You take care of your children on the days that seem to have no end. You go to work and make it happen even when you have a headache. Those are the moments you look back with pride because your grit got you through, your ‘I won’t give up’ attitude showed up!! Go get it today because you can!!