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One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is say no.

When enabling was the popular choice. When pacifying was easier at the moment.

I had a decision to make.

But, really, it was never a decision. I couldn’t put my little ones through what I, myself, had experienced as a child. They say parents want better for their children, and I agree.

I didn’t want them to feel lonely in such a loud room. I didn’t want them to be around a sickness that seemed to so eagerly root itself into another victim. I didn’t want them to feel used, the way I had for so long, to feel that one-way relationship we’d grown so accustomed to.

I didn’t want them to see their family, their hero, at her worst.

They are too young for something so raw. They are too innocent, and I am charged with helping keep them that way for as long as I can.

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The truth is, not only did I want more for them, but I wanted more for you.

I wanted you to stay the hero, for them to continue thinking that you are the coolest, so thoughtful, so loving. I wanted you to see your dreams come to fruition. I wanted you to experience a life without that dark, acidic parasite demanding everything of you.

I won’t lie.

It may have been a bit for myself, too. I’d missed you. I don’t know if you have ever really seen yourself the way I see you.

Sober, you are one of those rare, sparkling gems. Caring. Funny. Clever. So few people really do life like you. What a privilege for me to know that side of you.

Yes, no meant that we didn’t see you, for a long while, really. Maybe even forever.

No more weekend visits.

No more holiday traditions.

No more us with you.

For the first time in our lives, blood, that thing we say binds us so deep, didn’t anymore.

Upon receiving my no, the ugly words that I suspected came. They came blowing in like a hurricane, a strong hurricane that you know is coming but you never feel completely prepared for.

The insults were hurled. The creviced wounds that had been there so long, festering, seemed to only deepen.

It was just a two-letter word, but would we survive this no?

Would our threadbare relationship finally dissipate to the wind?

I had jumped off a cliff, with His Word as my parachute.

Yes, saying no is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it is also one of the best.

I do believe that single no was the new beginning as the first tentacle untangled itself from around your throat.

The path could have gone a thousand different directions, but praise God for the one we’re currently on.

Life looks quite different now.

You really are heroic.

You really are thoughtful.

You really are loving.

You really are the coolest.

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Weekend visits are more frequent. Holiday traditions are met with laughter and the most beautiful mixture of old and new memories.

You are healthy.

You are vibrant.

You are beautiful.

You are of a rare wit.

That sparkle, the one I haven’t seen since we were kids, it’s returned.

I must say, no one quite sparkles like you do.

So few can command a room, like that sparkle of yours.

I am smiling right now as I think of it.

This path?

I won’t pretend to know of the winding curves ahead. I am not that good.

Only He knows.

But I am beyond grateful for this time. This time right now, with the laughs, with the sparkle, with the love.

And grateful for one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do: say no.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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