I couldn't have chosen a more inspirational woman than my own mom to kick off the launch of this new blog series. She is the strongest person I know and has taught me that everything truly will work out, and to enjoy every moment of the craziest of journeys. Her name is Carol and this is her story:
Carol was married, a stay-at-home-mom to four, and lived the all American white-picket fence life. She was the epitome of a perfect mom: going on wild adventures with her son, creating a fairytale land for her daughters, and always ensuring nothing was short of extraordinary for everyone. In the early 2000's however, things slowly began to take a turn for the worst. In 2004, she discovered her husband of almost twenty years had a secret addiction to meth and cocaine, and his frequent so-called “business trips” weren’t at all what she thought they were. She fought tirelessly to save her marriage and help her husband, for the sake of her kids. However, he began to spiral the family into near poverty and misery. There was only so many times she could send him to rehab, and take him back before she knew she had done all she could. They divorced in 2008, and she was left to make a new living now as a single mother.
Not long after, In August of 2009, her teenage son reached his breaking point and, in what seemed like a single day, fell mentally ill. Diagnosed with schizophrenia and severe bipolar, Carol would spend the next several years watching her once perfect son in and out of mental institutes, fighting the demons in his head. Three short months after his illness hit, she came home with her daughters to see their house up in flames. They lost nearly everything in the house fire, included Carol’s best friends: her beloved dogs and cat.
With the help of friend’s and generous people within the community, Carol was finally able to reunite with her daughters under a new roof. However, they moved from rental home to rental home, and barely made ends meet. These grew into being the darkest days of her life. She fought to find any form of stability; doing everything now on her own, with barely any resources to get by. As if tragedy was magnetic to the family, they then recently experienced a tree fall through the roof of their latest rental home, causing them to lose even more belongings and forcing them to relocate yet again.
All the while, Carol took over her husband’s land surveying business and fought against the depressed economy to keep it afloat. She then decided to use her expertise in construction and begin her own company; Crane Land Development. Many criticized her for not going out and getting a “normal” job with a steady income, but she knew she couldn’t do that. With little support behind her, she fought to do what she felt was right.
Despite the hardships, the light Carol carries within her never grew dull. Everything she does goes into supporting her children and ensuring they have everything they needed to be happy. Throughout every set back, she continues to laugh, love, and inspire every person she meets. There’s not a room she walks into that she’s not the most fascinating person in it.
Today Carol is a true force to be reckoned with. She has remained a strong independent woman, leaving everyone and everything better than she found it. Her business has bloomed in the last few months and she is proving to be the best in the business. She recently picked back up on her passion for stand up comedy and is taking Seattle’s entertainment scene by storm. She lives with her two youngest daughters in a gorgeous new rental home and is finally finding the stability she’s been fighting so long for.
A few words from Carol:
Q1: How was the “Spotlight” experience for you?
It’s amazing that so many people are selfless enough to honor somebody else. The fact that they give up their time to put someone else in the spotlight is really amazing. Mylanna (the hairstylist) is such a great friend of mine, and I had no idea she was in on it. She is amazing so I was of course excited for her to do my hair. And Dani (spa owner) is so sweet and makes you feel so important. This was such a wonderful experience.
Q2: What is your definition of success?
There's no universal definition of success but I feel success when my kids look up to me and are proud. I’ve learned success doesn't have a time limit. It's always the last inch of the race that determines everything. If you don’t stick with it and fight all the way until the end, you’ll never make it.
Q3: If you could give any word of advice for finding happiness, what would it be?
If you feel in your soul something that you really want to do, it doesn't matter what others think. Put your blinders on, and go for it. You can’t care what anyone else is doing. Head down the path you believe is right for you. I know what I can do and I'm far stronger than people think. And always know that the struggles you face make you tougher, and give you the calluses you need to make it to where you want to go.