brave

‘It’s not how you look, it’s how you FEEL!’: 8-year-old rocks red ball gown in school pictures, mom can’t argue with her confidence

“‘Click, click, swoosh, swoosh’ was all I heard as my 8-year-old daughter emerged from her bedroom. It was just after 7:30 a.m. – she was wearing silver high heels and a floor-length, red, jeweled, ball gown. My initial thought was, ‘She must think it’s Saturday.’ It was indeed a school-day. Not only that, it was the all-important, everlasting PICTURE DAY! Oh, she knew.”

‘I needed to tell, in case I went ‘missing.’ I was terrified. ‘You’ve been talking again, haven’t you?’ I ran into the bathroom. ‘Mom, please come.’ It was now or never. It HAD to happen NOW!’

“I snuck my younger children out. My 10-year-old and I grabbed the only belongings I had hidden. As we walked quietly to the door, his music stopped! I whispered, ‘FREEZE, DONT MOVE.’ With tears in my eyes I thought this was it, he knew I was escaping. ‘Run, run now!’”

‘He was always disappearing. I created a picture-perfect life for others to gawk at and admire. I didn’t want to be alone.’: Single mom says leaving her abuser was the ‘hardest decision of my life’

“The changes in his behavior were subtle. The flirting and flattery mutated into backhanded compliments and criticisms. If I ever questioned his behavior or cruelty, he would dismiss my concerns. ‘I was just joking.’ ‘You shouldn’t be so sensitive.’ ‘Can’t you take a joke?’ I spent all my energy trying to impress him.”

‘Both of our babies had cancer. In 2 weeks, our 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son began the fight for their lives.’: Mother describes ‘worst day’ of her life after children diagnosed with medulloblastoma

“‘I’m sorry, but we found a mass in your daughter’s brain.’ I thought that would be the worst day of my life. Little did I know, only 13 days later, THAT would actually be the worst day of my life. In a different ER, a few floors below from where my daughter was, another doctor pulled a different curtain, looked at my husband and me, and said, ‘I’m sorry.’ Time stopped at that moment.”

‘When they come out, everyone is gone. ‘What are we going to do?’ ‘I don’t know.’ They both begin to panic.’: Kids without smartphones forced to problem-solve, realize it made them ‘more likely to succeed’

“Their father is nowhere in sight. They have no way of contacting their parents. Michael is getting nervous. ‘We’re going to ask that policeman if we can use his phone,’ she says bravely. They approach the officer. Michael is afraid to speak. So is Emma.”

‘My closest friends decided to leave me forever. My core group was gone. My heart was broken. New friends? It is terrifying to put yourself out there. Girls can be mean. Women can be vicious.’

“I can prepare and clean my house for 3 hours the 1st few times you come for a visit. But I can only pretend it is usually this clean for so long before you find out the truth. One day you will stop in because you forgot your sweater, and you will see the underwear one of my boys flung on the couch and the dinner dishes piled up from last night.”

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