Friday, April 6, 2012
The Woman Who Made Me What I Am...
Today is Friday, April 6, 2012. One day before my mom's 66th birthday. Tomorrow will be fun to celebrate her birthday with her, but today is a far more important day in her life. Today will be the last day that she is a full-time worker. She's retiring at the close of business today. Retiring from a job she has done well for 41 years. Retiring from a job that she never wanted in the first place.
My mom grew up in an era where many young women, herself included, wanted nothing more than to grow up, find the right guy, marry him, and have lots of babies. Her dream began that way in 1965 when she married my dad, and took another step in that direction in 1967 when she had me. But that dream changed significantly when the marriage ended and she found herself a jobless, single mother. There would be no "right guy" and only one baby for my mom...me. Watching a dream die is a difficult thing to do, isn't it?
There is no one I know personally whom I admire and respect more than my mom. Alone, with no formal job training and a 4 year old daughter to care for, she did what so many in that situation also find the guts to do...she built a new life - out of pretty much nothing except love and determination. She found a job, one that was willing to train her to be a bookkeeper, something she excelled at. She found a montesori school for me that I remember being fun. And most importantly, she found within herself a strength that I'm not sure she knew she possessed. Crises will do that for you every time, friends.
My mom is someone who knows a bit about journeying to a "new" self. She never wanted to be a bookkeeper, but over the course of her unintentional career, she found that she was very skilled at it, and developed a new sense of self esteem that she might not ever have experienced had she not been forced into discovering it. She could have been bitter about it all, but she took it in stride, found the positive aspects of her life, and slowly, over time built a new dream, a new life.
Anything I know about beginning again, about perseverance, about getting back up when you fall down, I learned from her. My mom made me the woman I am, her model and guidance are responsible for making me who I am becoming. I owe her everything. You see, I was her new dream. The reason she pulled herself up by her bootstraps when the world came crashing in was that she refused - FLAT OUT REFUSED - to allow anything to happen to me. Rather than lean on the state for support, she reached deep down inside herself and found all the strength she needed. For herself and for me.
So, Mom...enjoy today. As you told me this morning, you earned this. I agree wholeheartedly. You've earned the right to retire...to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Thank you for everything you did...for me...for yourself...for us to have a life that I look back on and love. You are an amazing woman and I am so, so proud to be your daughter. I love you.