Today marks a very sad day for my daughter Mackenzie and I. 10 years ago today, August 31, 2007, my husband, Rick Jenkins passed away. It was not a surprise. We knew the day was coming, although when hospice came into our lives we didn't realize it would be for only 2 days. Every year since he passed we write messages on balloons and let them go in memory of him
Looking back, that time of my life is kind of a blur. I was 23 when I got married, had Kenzie, and was working odd jobs to make ends meet. I was a wife, mother, care taker, nurse, driver, bread winner.... and didn't know what the HELL I was doing. I can say with all honesty that the five years prior to Ricks death were some of the most difficult times of my life. However, I would not change them for anything. I will be the first to say I was probably not very easy to live with. There were days I was not kind, loving, and would loose patience with the entire situation. I was young. I was immature and naive. I was a bit selfish at times, tired, and overworked with 3 jobs. I was simply, surviving. I couldn't see it at the time but Rick, my kind hearted, adoring father to Kenzie, and witty husband was teaching me life lessons I would never forget. In turn those lessons have shaped the person I am today as a wife, mother, business women and entrepreneur.
Perserverence. Grit. Compassion. Patience.
All of these adjectives are because of Rick and my short time with him. He made it very clear of his wishes for me and Kenzie. When he passed away I was 29. He talked about how much he wanted me to do with my life and Kenzie's life. He gave me his blessing to re-marry, encouraged it actually. He wanted me to have more babies. He wanted me to do something that I was happy doing because up to that point I was miserable at every single job I had ever had. Most of all, he wanted his daughter to grow up happy and healthy. After Rick died I had an innate sense to do something meaningful with my life. I saw first hand how precious and quick life is and then in an instant--gone. I didn't want to mess it up or let it pass me by, by NOT doing something that I was passionate about.
Fast forward a couple years later. I meet Matt. He was in his early 30's, never married, never dated anyone with a child, and very much a bachelor. We met through a mutual friend who he had gone to high school with and I was not smitten at first. Obviously things changed because after a year of dating and a year long engagement we got married and got pregnant on the honeymoon. The first year of marriage for some is tough, but add an 8 year old child, another on the way, and a new business; it was down right crazy.
It was Matt that encouraged me to pursue this "idea" I had been thinking about for years. I did and to be honest, IT WAS TOUGH! But, we managed and it was mostly because of Matt. Once we knew this was a solid business idea I quit my job and went full throttle with the Brobe minus a salary. Matt did whatever it took to provide for our family. He's a paramedic with the city and would pick up as much overtime as he could working sometimes 60, 70, 80 hour weeks just so I could pursue this "idea". It wasn't just my vision to build this business, it was OURS, and if he was going to do whatever it took to make it happen, then so was I.
Matt is my backbone. He holds me up when I sometimes can not. Matt has taught me to believe in myself, keep pushing the rock uphill everyday, and to take chances.To simply put it, the Brobe would not be were it is today without Matt. He did what he had to do so I could create and build this dream. In turn, WE have help thousands of women thus far.
It's important for me share the back story on a deeper level than just "having an idea one day". Both Rick and Matt have strengthened me, gave me courage, and both believed in me to their core. I am blessed beyond words and thank God for each of them and the lessons they both have taught me.
And I have them to thank. They're what's given me the courage to do all I can for other women, to offer them hope, love, and strength when they need it the most, just like it was given to me.