How To Turn Peanuts Into Butterflies

A daughters story of a mothers’ perseverance.

I have a tattoo of a butterfly on my inner right wrist. I put it there so that I can be reminded of my favorite saying whenever I see it throughout the day…

I find it fascinating how things change. How our lives can take huge unexpected turns and we wake up in a place that we never thought we would be in. My mum grew up very poor in Georgetown, Guyana. She had a hard life growing up. A life that I cannot fathom nor fully understand because I was blessed to grow up without having to ration food or rats stealing our eggs and I always had shoes on my feet. That wasn’t the case for my mum and her life didn’t get easier after childhood either.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

In 1963 my mum found herself with a 3-year-old daughter, not a dime to her name and stuck in a bad relationship that had turned abusive. Instead of accepting those circumstances as her life, she decided to make a change. Mum up and left her husband … and her country. She took her daughter and moved to Montreal, Canada.

There she was, a black woman on her own without any friends or family, no money, not a clue how to start life in a big city and she had a 3-year-old to take care of. She would sometimes cry at night because all they had to eat were peanuts. Peanuts. I really don’t like peanuts. I mean, if I HAD to eat peanuts I would, but I much prefer almonds. She and my 3-year-old sister HAD to eat peanuts. And ALL they HAD to eat were peanuts.

“I can be changed by what happens to me but I won’t be reduced by it.” — Maya Angelou

Change happens when we make a decision and take steps toward a different life. My mum ended up getting a job and making a great life for herself in Montreal. She now owns a beautiful home and she is known as the “dog lady” because she takes care of all her neighbor’s dogs when they go out of town. People like her and they trust her. She also loves to garden and has turned her yard into a playground for squirrels, birds, insects and, of course, butterflies.

My mum has said to me more than once that she “never would have dreamed that she would be in Los Angeles one day”. She has been here 10 times now to visit me and she even got to sit in on the finale of her favorite show Dancing With the Stars. She has done so many things that she “had never thought were possible” because she made them possible.

My favorite saying (that I am sure you have heard before): “Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly.” Some people take lemons and make lemonade; others take peanuts and make butterflies.

Shake out your wings and get moving, you can accomplish anything with determination and a pocketful of peanuts. You never know what is around the corner my friends, just ask my mum. xx

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