Kimaada Ellison had the ultimate holiday surprise for her family.

The holidays are a time for family and gathering, but they can also be a difficult time for some people.

Single mom Kimaada Ellison knew her five kids were having a hard time without a proper house of their own, particularly with the holidays approaching. So she put one foot in front of the other with the ultimate goal: surprising her kids with a new home for the holidays.

Hard Times

four people wearing purple

One day, Ellison’s partner of 22 years left her and their five children unexpectedly. It not only left them brokenhearted, but the family lost their home as a result. On her own, Ellison could not afford to pay for the house, and for a while, the entire family had to live in other people’s basements just to keep a roof over their heads.

Eventually, after a lot of hard work, Ellison was able to save up for a small, two-bedroom home. It obviously wasn’t big enough for the family but it was theirs, and they made due.

Ellison knew she could do better for her kids though, so she set a plan in motion: save up enough money to purchase a bigger home that would be big enough for herself and her five kids.

Working Overtime

It was an ambitious plan, and it wasn’t easy to come up with the money. Ellison had been working towards being a school principal, and she put her education on hold. Instead, she continued working as a teacher and took on side jobs.

She got a part-time job with Amazon and began braiding hair for extra cash. She’d work 20 hours every day at her three jobs while still looking after her kids. The idea that she could get them a better home kept her motivated.

“I’m not going to say it’s fun, but I just kept thinking about the end result,” Ellison said in a video via Happily. “I re-established my relationship with God, prayed for grit and endurance, and haven’t looked back since then.”

An Epic Reveal

Finally, the day came when Ellison was able to afford the home of her dreams. She told her kids that she had rented an Airbnb that was similar to their old house, where they could get ready for the holidays and bake cookies.

When the kids got inside, they saw a framed family photo and wondered how it got there. In the video, Ellison asked her kids if they liked the house.

“What if I told you, you could stay forever?” she asked. “What if I told you this is why I’ve been working all this time?”

At first, the kids didn’t believe their mom. Then, when they realized they were in their new home, they began screaming with sheer joy. Ellison gave them a tour and showed them their rooms, and the smiles on everyone’s faces were downright contagious.

“It’s always easy to give up, but what are you teaching your kids? They hear what you say, for sure. But, most importantly, they are watching what you do,” Ellison said.

Following Your Dream

Ellison herself added that it’s never too late to accomplish your dreams.

“It doesn’t mean it will be an easy trek along the journey, and Lord knows you can’t predict all of the twists and turns you encounter or the trials and tribulations you face, but through it all don’t quit,” the mother said.

It’s good advice that all of us could use, especially when things get rough. As we head into the new year and begin thinking about all of the things we want to accomplish in the months ahead, it’s important to write down our goals and dreams and think about how we’re going to stick to them.

Check in with yourself every once in a while and remind yourself that no one is perfect. But if you can stop to remember why you set those goals for yourself and who you’re ultimately pursuing them for, you may find all the motivation you need to keep going — even when times get tough.