...when I choose my son.

"My proudest moment is when I choose my son.

I was 15 when my mom left.

We were living in Las Vegas at the time that she and my dad hit yet another rough patch in their marriage. She filed for divorce, packed a suitcase, and headed to New York City to become a flight attendant leaving behind my dad, me, and my two younger sisters. After a myriad of unfortunate events, my sisters and I found ourselves separated and living with extended family members -- I was lost, alone, forced to grow up rather quickly, and most of all I was just plain angry. Sure, my parents made the occasional phone call, sent letters, told me how much they loved me and wished for things to be different, but in the midst of all the pain and confusion I just wanted parents; I wanted someone to just be present with me and help me through what I couldn't comprehend. I couldn't understand how a parent could choose to leave.

By the time I had my son, 15 years had passed since my mom walked out the door. She had come and gone leisurely throughout my life and I promised myself that I wouldn't become that kind of parent, but I finally began to understand her. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart -- it will try you in ways that you didn't think possible and take every ounce of energy and passion that you have. Combined with the stress of daily life, postpartum anxiety, depression, lack of sleep and I began to see clearly now why she left. The love for her children didn't outweigh the cons for her.

What does my mom have to do with my own proudest moment? My proudest moment occurs every single day when I choose love, when I choose my son, when I choose to work through my own terrors and trials to be the kind of parent that I always wanted, but never got to have." - Michelle

You can follow Michelle at:

Instagram: @hikingwithnoah