Beyond Mom Annette Ross shares her incredible story in the inspirational memoir Where Fairy Tales Go. In this book, the dynamic mother of five reflects on the life-altering medical error that left her unable to walk. Through her positive attitude, courage and passion for writing, Annette has set out to live life to the fullest in San Diego, California despite her challenges. Annette credits her resilience to her husband and daughters who have supported her with their unconditional love. Go deeper into Annette’s journey below and check out her beautiful book!
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
As I read some of the other profiles I thought, I need to get my act together! But, I was given a unique challenge. On January 4th my husband Bill and I kissed our toddler Natalie goodbye with promises to be back soon as we headed to the hospital to deliver our second child. Twenty four hours later we had a newborn but all else had gone horribly, irrevocably wrong. Due to a medical error, my spinal cord was injured and I left the hospital over a month later in a wheelchair. Since then I have worked, and we have all worked as a family, to regain the life we felt we lost. For me, it was learning to feel whole as a wife and a mother. I think the girls and Bill have had their very personal journeys along side mine. Despite the inevitable set backs and disappointments, we have all remained a team in every sense of the word. I went on to have three more children, and have experienced the power of love when it is in action. This was not my chosen path, or the one I dreamt of as a young girl. To reconcile those dreams with what is now my reality has been a hard won effort. I have learned that there are no simple answers, no phrase that appropriately sums up pain. Joy and sorrow will continue to be intertwined – it’s not my job to unravel the mystery but to continue to embrace it. It is something I work toward each day, and something I hope my girls are learning as we journey through this life together. Hopefully, that makes me a Beyond Mom!
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
We have five daughters, the oldest is 18 and the youngest is 3. The most important lesson the girls have taught me is how to love them exactly as they are. They are not mini versions of Bill or me. Sometimes I ask myself, “who are these people living with us?” I have had to work at being more open. When they say things I do not want to hear, or am not ready to hear, I know the best thing I can do is stop and listen; refraining from quick judgments. Before I was a mom I had very definite ideas of who I wanted my children to be. I believe we have instilled a solid moral foundation. We wanted to raise people who would bring more love into this world. How they choose to do that is for them to decide.
Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
My most successful collaboration to date was with Susan Konig, owner of Willow Street Press. She had the guts to publish my book, Where Fairy Tales Go. We first got to know one another, and then worked for over a year to bring the story to fruition. Our success, I believe, is due to two things. We genuinely like and trust the other person. Trust is important in every good relationship. I have no doubt she has been looking out for me and for the good of this project from the very start. I share her complete devotion to the book’s success. Yet we both have family, and we understand that family comes first.
What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
Without question my husband. He is the reason. Actually an E.E Cummings poem says it best- “yours is the light by which my spirits born, yours is the darkness of my soul’s return, you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars”. I came to life when I met him and that was the greatest gift of my life.
Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
I hope to continue to write and I plan to. This first book was really an introduction. It didn’t have to start with a memoir, but I thought it was a fine way to begin. There is plethora of material at my disposal given our five daughters, but I am not yet certain I will write about them. I am so fascinated by the world around me, by thought, philosophy, theology, and even science. I am a voracious reader. Writing gives me a way to share the constant stream of thoughts that swirl around my brain at a breakneck pace. I want to share that!
What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
I pray each day throughout the day, as I am folding the laundry, making dinner, or picking up the toys that Georgia has left in my path. I have many people that I pray for- this is my way to connect to them. My father died in April. Often I sit outside with Georgia and watch the birds while I say a silent prayer of gratitude for him. Because of him I had the privilege to be a daughter, to know that another person truly cherished me is a powerful gift. My dad taught me how to do that for those I love. So much of my time is spent doing mundane tasks that are essential for our family. My prayer for myself is to get through them with a spirit of love.
How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
I think Rebecca Taylor is one of my favorites. Her clothes are beautiful and very feminine. I love being feminine and all that goes with it.
Favorite Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
San Diego needs to pick up its game in this department. However there is no place that rivals its Mexican cuisine or sushi. Currently we take the girls to Happy Fish in Encintas.
I used to be a pilates fanatic. It has been a while. Working my way back to some sort of routine is finally becoming a priority.
I rarely go shopping. It is not fun to shop online but oh so convenient. Given the chance I do enjoy going to small boutiques and actually touching the items you are contemplating purchasing. My favorite little store like that here is Camellia in Solana Beach. Of course my daughters found it first!