So, just in case you didn’t know…it’s the second Sunday in May…more commonly known as Mother’s day! Regardless of the relationship, everyone has or had a mother. I am pleased, honored and grateful that I am among those whose mother still resides on this side of heaven. So, as the first person I’ll feature EVER on this blog, I’d like to say Happy Mother’s Day to my mom Elaine!
Ms. Elaine, as she prefers to be called, is an absolutely awesome, phenomenal woman! I love that lady to pieces! She has been such an inspiration to me. It has taken me until the age of THIRTY SIX to really, REALLY appreciate her. My mom had the distinct pleasure of being a single mom to three of us. I am the oldest with a sister two years younger and a brother three years younger than her.
Most of the years I remember from my childhood she worked a full time job and a part time job with darn near full time hours! Somehow, she managed to take care of all of our needs and some of our wants. Lots of the things we wanted were not needed or somehow fell into our laps. There was the time that I won a video game console (the first Nintendo) that eased the potential burden of her having to buy one for us. Of course, I honestly can’t remember saying that I wanted one, but hey…when you win something, who fusses?!
Anyway, even with working her two jobs, my mom found a way to finish an undergraduate and a graduate degree. She worked her butt off! She was determined not to let anyone or ANYTHING deter her! One time, our car was not working. I don’t exactly remember the problem, but she WALKED to school because she was determined to complete that degree. She graduated and I was very happy because she seemed to be happy. What I didn’t realize was that the feeling I felt was pride. My mom had persevered and set the example for us. It was very clear in our home that education was important.
I remember at her retirement dinner or some time before it, she was talking about the interview for her first job in education as a paraprofessional. The principal asked her, “Why do you want this job?” Her response was priceless. She said, “Because I get AFDC (welfare check) and I don’t want that!” Can you get more honest? He hired her and that began her 30 year career in education. Once her undergraduate degree was completed, she got her teacher certification and we moved out of the projects. I was excited because I got to make new friends. My mom though was excited because her dream had been realized.
Fast forward a few years. She was working on her Master’s degree and her two adult daughters (one with a year old toddler) both had to have surgery. So, here’s my mom, working on her Master’s, working a full time job and a part time job, and NOW she had to become caretaker to two post surgery patients and a small child. Talk about superwoman! Later, I heard her in Sunday school talking about how that had been a trying time in her life. She said she’d been praying to God for strength. The more she prayed for strength, the more trials came. She finally realized that her prayers were being answered because as she had to endure more, she became stronger. From her, I’ve learned how to trust God watching her example. I’ve learned how to keep my eyes focused on the One who sustains me.
Now, my mom is a retired educator. Well…let me fix that. She is retired from the public school system. She is STILL educating folks! She teaches a few courses at our local HBCU. She also runs an after school tutorial for our church. It encompasses an after school tutorial that runs through the school year, a computer class for seniors, story time for preschool students and a summer academy for boys. Essentially, she still works jobs! She absolutely loves it though. She wouldn’t be the same if she couldn’t do it.
My mom has been my inspiration for longer than I’ve known. She was my first teacher. She was the first published author I knew. She’s always been a writer and because she and my sister were so good on it that I figured it was just their thing. I never thought it was something I’d do. Talking to her about writing is so cool! She is definitely leading by example. Her dreams have been realized and she just keeps making new ones. She was recently featured on the news in my home town. Check it out here. It was a proud daughter moment.
The latest example my mom is making is how to live a healthy lifestyle. In 2007, frustrated with her weight, she decided to make a change. She started working with a personal trainer. She worked out and learned how to be excited about working out. Eventually, she got her eating together and has been losing weight for almost six years. What I’ve learned is that you just keep at it. Every day is a new chance to get it right. I told you, I know EVERYTHING there is to know about losing weight. If nothing else, I’ve learned it by watching my mom. What I didn’t know at first though was that her enthusiasm about working out stemmed from her worry about me and my health. She figured if she started, she would be in a better place to encourage me. That she has. I’m a work in progress but her example is what I’m going from. Keep moving.
I’m a better person now because I’ve finally learned that mother knows best. I’ve not always appreciated my mom…you know…teens and young adults rarely do. I’m glad that I am FINALLY in a place where I understand just how important her role is in my life. I’m certainly grateful that I am still allowed to have her be a part of my life. There were so many times when that could have changed. I’m so grateful that it hasn’t and I’m doing my best to make the most of my time with her. My mom totally rocks!
Until next time,