Put Your Big Girl Pants On


Today, I want to talk to you about my mother, Phyllis Jacks because she wore the biggest “Big Girl Pants” of anyone that I know. The story actually begins with my Aunt Connie, my mother’s only sister.

My aunt frantically needed to play match-maker and in a big hurry … because she desperately wanted to go to a “Weenie Roast” with her then high-school boyfriend. However, he had an out of town friend over and the only way that he would agree to go was if they could find a date for his buddy as well.   Out of desperation, and as she says, “only out of desperation” was I willing to take my kid sister along on my date!

My mom was a 13-year-old tiny little 5’3” girl, then coerced by her older sister to put on make-up and pretend to be older. Because, “hey Phyllis there is a 6’3” – 16-year-old athletic guy going to this roast who needs a date for the evening; and I mean only for the evening.  If I don’t a date for him, my date will not go either, so you’re going.  And he cannot find out how old you are!” her sister commanded.

Well, my mom must have pulled it off because it was at this Weenie Roast in 1946 that she met Bob Hall, my dad.   Three years later, July 1949, they were married.

My mother had six children when my dad was first diagnosed with Melanoma Cancer from a mole on his left shoulder. Never in a million years did they anticipate the journey that would be ahead.  My dad had a radical mastectomy on the left side and for the next three years life seemed to go on blissfully as usual.  At one of his annual check-ups, the doctor told him that cancer was back yet, it wasn’t clear where.  So, they both waited with anticipation for a tumor or some other symptoms to appear. A few months later, while my mom was pregnant with my brother Rob a tumor emerged.

The cancer was now diagnosed to have spread to his lymph glands and the doctor suggested that it was now serious. For the next 15 months, he fought the battle of his life.  My dad worked for Ford Motor Company and they were very supportive of all on-going treatments.  Signs of improvement were not on the path and a fatal prognosis was now given to my mom.  However, the doctors wanted my dad to keep fighting, so they gave him hope of a cure.

My mother, understandably was not feeling well. It was during one of her many visits to U of M Hospital with my dad that she asked if the doctor could check on her.  It was then that she discovered that she was pregnant with me.   Knowing that her husband (the only bread-winner of the family) was dying, having 7 children at home — this was NOT a “good time” to find out that she would have yet another baby.  My dad’s six year cancer journey ended when I was 3 months old.  This is when my mom embraced the words, “Put Your Big Girl Pants On.”  I heard these words my whole life, with every failure, with every disappointment. My mom was my biggest mentor; she not only said those words… SHE LIVED THEM!

I never once heard my mom complain that she was widowed with eight kids under age fifteen. She was always grateful for everything she did have.  She said, “I prayed to marry him; I prayed for a big family.  Don’t feel sorry for me, feel sorry for the woman who doesn’t marry the love of her life; feel sorry for the woman who is widowed alone, but do not feel sorry for me.”

Well, my mom went to work for Ford River Rouge Plant, hanging windshields. She put her Big Girl Pants On! – a robot does this job today.  Because of her, I understand every day of how blessed I am.  No matter what I am going through, I know that I can achieve! I know, like I know, like I know that I can succeed….because Phyllis taught me that it is so.

Are there any incomplete commitments in any area of your life or in your career that are a draining force on you, sucking the energy of accomplishment out of you like a vampire stealing your blood?

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I am a Certified Yoga Instructor and a Business and Wellness Coach. I teach people to get into the Best Shape of their Lives, to take control of their Health and learn how to Heal from the Inside Out and the Outside in. My clients learn how to stand a little taller, walk a little lighter, breathe a little deeper, stretch a little further and reach higher than they ever thought possible. My clients not only find inner peace but have the courage to live the life they always wanted.

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