Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

Remember the movie True Grit from 1969? Young Mattie hires an aging Marshall, Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne), to bring in the man who killed her father. She travels to find and hire Cogburn, because she has heard he has “true grit.” Do you know anyone who has true grit? What is grit after all? It is defined as “courage and resolve; strength of character.” I  know some people with grit. My kids for example.

Each of my kids went to college out of state, back in NC, where they knew no one. I cannot tell you how excited I was for them, and yet it was so painful for me to leave my babies where they knew no one. (My advice to parents taking their children to college is to forget the Kleenexes and take a towel!) They courageously wanted to forge their way on their own. And they did so, very successfully. They have each endured many things in their lives, faced them, and conquered them. I am very proud of my kids. (Can you tell?)

“Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit – it’s the keeping your chin up that’s hard.”  Robert W. Service

Last weekend my daughters, son-in-law and I went to Chapel Hill to once again run the Tar Heel 4 and 10-miler. My younger daughter, son-in-law and I ran the 4-miler course, while my older daughter ran the 4-miler with us (not really with us, but same race!), then ran the 10-miler course to complete the Double Down Challenge (she wanted the 3 medals). She crushed the 14 miles! That is GRIT! After we finished our 4 miles, we were able to see and cheer her on at Mile 9 and also at the finish of her 14 miles. And I saw her once in our 4 mile race coming out of the neighborhood as I was entering it. Those of us who ran the 4-miler among 6800 runners, also displayed grit to endure and finish our race. (note – my son had a wedding to attend this weekend and missed the race.)

“Life is not a marathon, you are running your own race. Just be better than you were yesterday.”

What about Duchess Kate Middleton who gave birth Monday morning to a Royal 8-pound baby boy, only to appear in public with the new prince, waving, heading home a mere 7 hours later, looking as beautiful as always complete with perfect hair, makeup, and in heels no less! Now that is TRUE GRIT!

But the truest example I know of TRUE GRIT is a young 33-year old mother of 2 who lost her foot to cancer last month. If you have not been following this story, you are missing out on the most impressive display of courage, grit, and grace. This mother is the daughter-in-law of my late childhood friend who lost her battle with cancer in 2011. I know she is so proud of how Jenn has handled what life has dealt her, and the example she has set for all of us to follow. Someone asked me “How could God let this happen?” And I said, “Look how God is helping her handle this, and how she is in turn helping others.” There is a Go Fund Me Page to help this mother, life coach, and fitness fanatic purchase a prosthetic blade for running, as insurance only provides one basic prosthetic, which she has and described to her kids as her superhero foot! She plans to run a 5K by the end of this year and I have no doubt she will. TRUE GRIT.

“I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m stepping forward with grit anchored in grace.” Julie Graham  (I love this quote – my new motto – stepping forward with grit anchored in grace!)

I discovered my “true grit” 2 years ago, when I found myself SOLO. Funny, a friend was explaining my situation to someone last week and it surprised me when he said I took a such a different route than most women in my position normally do, who wait around for their spouse to return. After discovering the truth, I moved ahead with my life quickly, protecting myself and my children financially and emotionally, as I realized my marriage was over. My kids also told me they now realize how fast I moved everything as they have friends whose parents have been going through divorces for 2+ years. This is not to say it was easy, far from it. It was very painful but I learned a lot about myself and realized how strong you really are when that is your only option. True grit to see it through. Within 2 months of my ex leaving, papers were signed and I filed for divorce. Nine months later the divorce was final and he got married. And I discovered that life goes on and it is what you make it, so I have made mine wonderful, fun, and very rewarding.

“Anyone can quit, it’s easy. I believe it’s much better to grit your teeth and get on with things.”  Michael Sprott

Last weekend was so much fun for me. I love spending time with my kids, and it was wonderful spending it with them in one of my favorite places – Chapel Hill. We had a pre-race dinner together Friday night, ran the race Saturday morning early, and had a great post-race lunch at our favorite restaurant, Top of the Hill. Oh and of course, some Carolina shopping! With my new car I needed a new Carolina decal. Also found some great items for tailgating this fall – looking forward to football season and being back in Chapel Hill on Saturdays. And we got to look in the stadium and see all the new Carolina blue seats that are being installed. Just waiting now to see where our season tickets will be located.

Since I was halfway to the beach, it only made sense to leave there and head to the beach. Heavenly to find myself back in my happy place. Spending the week getting ready for Beach Season – powerwashing everything I can reach from the house to the Golf Cart to the chairs to the porches. And had one rainy day to do the same inside – thorough spring cleaning. Also lots of sleeping, running, eating fresh seafood, visiting with my sister, and renewing my soul on the beach by the ocean.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.”  E.E. Cummings

Oh, there are also GRITS – Girls Raised in the South – I totally consider myself a member of this tribe. Special women raised with southern grace who know the true meaning of “Bless your heart” and are steeped in grit. I mean, one of my favorite dinners is scrambled eggs, grits, and toast after all!

Search for your grit. It is there. Believe me, it will come forth when you need it. And search for whatever makes you happy and soothes your soul, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.




2 thoughts on “TRUE GRIT”

  1. Leslie, it warms my heart each week when I read your blog…so well written and inspiring. I so appreciate all the kind words about our precious Lu. I can recall many of the experiences that you and Lu shared…especially those cheerleading days. We miss her each and every day and my heart breaks when I think about Lu never being able to experience those beautiful grandchildren. I, like you, think she is Jenn’s guardian angel as she and Miles go through this life-altering experience. Thank you for speaking about Jenn’s journey in your blog. I feel that all the positive reinforcement has made a vast difference in her recovery. You were a special friend to Lu and our family considers you to be one of our lifelong friends. We love you.

    Liked by 1 person

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