The first time I saw Michelle, we were attending a Homeowner’s Association meeting to transfer power from the HOA management group to a neighborhood/builder elected HOA Board of Directors. I had never lived in an HOA community, so I really had no idea of what an HOA did, but was willing to volunteer to help and had thrown my hat into the ring for the election.
Prior to the voting, Michelle stood up and started asking questions of the management representatives. Her questions were well considered, well informed, and of import. I looked on our voting list to see if she was there. She was. I voted for her instead of myself.
For the past several years, Michelle has been an active voice of reason in our neighborhood. She has been selfless with her time, coming up with, coordinating, or volunteering for nearly every event, and serving on our HOA BOD through some incredibly tumultuous seasons. She is well spoken and excellent before an audience. I have watched her maintain her composure under duress that would have made me throw a shoe at someone’s head–and it takes a lot for me to go into a shoe throwing rage. I have been impressed with her ability to sit in what was a boy’s club and force those same boys to show her the respect she was due.
You wouldn’t know it looking at her, but this softly pretty woman with the happy laugh is Pioneer quality. I have a feeling you could strand her in the woods and come back two months later to find a cabin in working order, and the beginnings of a thriving community.
Name: Michelle (Meehan) Smith
Job Title: MOM, Educator, Volunteer
Industry: Early Childhood Education
Ours is truly a unique household. My husband, two years my senior, my mother who has retired and come to live with us after Dad passed and our six “young” children. Three girls ages 10, 8 and 4 and three boys ages 6, 3 and 9 months. Our door is always open and has hosted many different people from family to foreign exchange students. Not to forget our two large furry dogs, too, and about a million fish.
The first hour goes from zero to sixty in mere minutes. The quietness of a household with a nursling and the groggy, sleepy-eyed stagger of a toddler and preschooler wandering in. Then the silence is broken to wake the oldest three to get ready for the day. Usually two hop right up and one needs cajoling. We do the morning routine, early morning chores and greet the incoming preschoolers for my in-home daycare. Blessings over each of the children, hug and a kiss and we are off running!
The last hour usually ends in exhaustion after singing, reading, planning, packing, locking, signing and kissing goodnight. I get “me” time after that. Usually I end up catching up on correspondence, office work and billings, or just skip it entirely and spend time with my hubby.
What makes me feel successful is accomplishing tasks and seeing my kids trying their best. We will never be perfect, but we learn from all that we do. I am so proud when any of us chances something new and come glory or failure, we tried something new and laughed at ourselves, if need be, to keep us humble or succeed beyond our imaginations!
Joy is singing. Joy is peaceful meditation. Joy is watching a child smile. Joy is listening to an elder retell a story. Joy is seeing my husband after a long day. Joy is loving each other in word and deed…family.
I admire women who are who they are and do not pretend to be what others want them to be. We spend so much of our lives trying to look or feel or be a certain way, but at the end of the day, I only know how to be me and to try and be that well. I admire women who serve with their heart for the sake of helping, not recognition. I admire women who give all day, but take time to grow themselves in their life and marriage and spiritual world. I am in awe of women who can speak with a gesture and be still when wanting to scream.
My closest friend knows me better than I do. She loves me for all that I am, imperfections included. She has never tried to change me, just loves me for who I am and who I can be. We could not have spoken for months/years but can pick up like it was yesterday. She is someone that cares what is happening in my life and shares her heart openly.
What I like best about myself is that I have learned to ask questions. There was a time not long ago that women could not or dared not do so. Now, it is a privilege I do not take lightly. It makes me get out of my comfort zone and feel exposed. It is the only way for me to learn and to teach my children that it is okay to ask when we do not know the answers. Being one who asks questions can put you in the uncomfortable spotlight of being “different”. It is not my personality to stand out, but if I am wondering, surely someone else is, too.
I would tell boys that girls are silly, talkative things that can love beyond reason, do beyond the imaginable and stay true beyond the unthinkable. Girls do not always make sense, but if given a chance, loving them is worth it.
I overcome adversity by not sweating the small stuff and keeping my nose to the grindstone. You can work through anything.
Adversity is overcome through two things: prayer and perseverance. I used to think that I could outlast almost anything. Then I was taken to my knees by situations well beyond my control that required me letting go and asking for help. The outcomes were not always as hoped for, but not being alone helped tremendously.
Rememberance is fleeting. I want my kids to think of me as a good mother; my parents to recall a good and loving child; my friends a thoughtful and considerate confidante; and my God a faithful servant.