Keep Moving Forward – A Word of Encouragement
People often ask me, “Tasha, how do you do it? How do you do it all?” The question usually comes after someone realizes the balancing act of my life. As a single parent, entrepreneur, allied health professional, active Church member, and nature enthusiast my life certainly has a lot going on compared to others. It has not been and is still not necessarily easy. My response to this question boils down to a simple belief in a three-word phrase: keep moving forward.
I became a single parent following the untimely and unexpected death of my significant other. With two young children from a prior, unhealthy marriage, I found myself facing the world against numerous odds and statistics. I was pregnant at the time with my third child, homeschooling my other children, had a college degree that was not working in my favor, financial responsibilities, and the emotional turmoil of a devasted heart. My plans and dreams to obtain a second degree, continue homeschooling my children and build a picturesque two-parent family life took a horrendous blow. I essentially faced the death of what present life was as well as the future one I had had in mind.
Negativity from people around me was in abundance. I was told I would never be able to return to school and graduate as planned because I was the statistic of a single, minority woman with children and another one on the way. I was told my unborn child would be born unwell, that I would never have anything, that I would never be anyone. Yet, one phrase was with me. Not at first, but soon afterwards. Keep Moving Forward. Taken from the movie, “Meet the Robinsons,” which I and my significant other loved, it became my mantra. My immediate family never spoke negativity against my circumstances, instead, relying on faith, they prayed over them instead. Did I pray too? Initially, no. Mind numb, heartbroken, children asking questions I could not answer, a new baby on the way, and the financial burden from the cliched American dream of home, land, vehicle, etc. No, prayer wasn’t my initial response. My initial response was, “why me? How could this be? What am I supposed to do? I can’t do this.” As a mom, I went on autopilot of bathe, feed, and monitor my children to make sure we all just got through the day. I will spare the details of those first months. What I won’t spare is the transition from questioning God to trusting Him more than ever.
I recall literally laying on a church pew, alone in the upper sanctuary while my two young children attended service in the lower sanctuary with family. I lay there weeping, hand to my growing belly and my initial questioning began to subside. I began to recall my sound belief that nothing done was unknown to God. Nothing done was disallowed by God. In other words, God knew this devastation was going to happen and had allowed it. That meant God had plans past it and that’s where my focus landed. I had to move forward past the devastation because God had something on the other side. Just like in that movie, one of the last ones we watched together as a family, I had to keep moving forward. So, I did. Against the naysayers, I enrolled in college less than three months after the funeral. Knowing I would ultimately have to transfer to a separate, new college to complete my coursework, I did not let that stop me. Our baby was due winter break. The first weeks of that initial semester were a blur of private emotional breakdowns and plastering a smile to my face for the public. Prayer and journaling became an outlet. My children needed me. All three of them though only two were physically born and needing mommy for school lessons, life-skills of tying shoelaces and brushing teeth independently. I found a rhythm of childcare, study time, mealtimes, and ongoing evening worship services several nights each week. Daddy was gone, but I kept moving forward… and now, we skip to today.
I am now the mother of three beautiful children, all honor-roll students. The unborn baby in particular? Straight-A student with a flair for fashion, photography, and music. Spitting image of the father laid to rest so long ago. The story-time theatrics of the three of them at dinner are priceless. We do not need the cliched American dream to be happy. We simply need each other and God. Big or small, we believe in making our house a home so there is always a good DIY project in the works, and we work as a team. There’s a quote on the wall in our living room that reads, “we may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” By God’s grace, that is what moving forward has granted us. Success is self-defined, and I have been blessed to be successful.
I graduated as an Occupational Therapy Assistant at the top of my class with Honors, on time and against every odd. The subsequent Board Exam went quite well, and I launched into my career as a clinician with a smile and a fondness of teaching my patients that it is not about what has been lost, but about what they have left and making the most of it. Maintaining a family and a home as a single parent, working full-time, and staying active in Church can be overwhelming, however. I have learned that some stress is okay, but not all stress is allowed – and while it is not easy for me to let things go, I have. Juggling 50-hour work weeks is no longer for me. There are certain people I have had to remove from my life. Promotions I have walked away from. I developed a healthy allergy to drama and toxic people, toxic relationships. I have embraced not just being physically fit but being physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally well. Occupational Therapy is my means for a living, and I love my patients, yet wellness is me, Tasha, actually living. Living against the odds, supported by my faith in God, loved by family, loved by true friends, and always with that little voice telling me to Keep Moving Forward. So, for those who question how I do it, and whether you can too, I am here to tell you that yes you can. Yes, you can indeed. Define success for yourself, eliminate unnecessary stress, and keep moving forward.
Blessings to you and yours,