I am 32 years old and childless. I only know the world through my own experiences, but I often try to see things from other’s perspectives (my mom taught me that):
When my mom was my age she was a single mother of two. My mom worked hard. Very hard. Probably harder than I realized, or will ever realize.
When I was in kindergarten my mom got her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She often brought me to campus with her where I sat quietly in lecture halls as she got her education. I remember going to meetings with her advisors, watching her study as I played in the backyard and “helping her” with her algebra homework.
Watching my mom work as hard as she did to get her degree inspired me, even as a child. Getting an education was never in question, I too, would go to college.
I remember the day she graduated. I wore a brand new dress to school: it was purple and blue with buttons up the front, little flowers all over and a ruffled skirt.
I told my teacher and all my friends that I was dressed up because I was going to go see my mom graduate from college that afternoon. My dad came to pick me up early from school and we drove down to campus to watch my mom walk in her commencement ceremony.
I was so proud of her that day. Just as I am proud of her today. She is a successful, self-motivated, self-sufficient woman blazing her own trail and I am in absolute awe of her.
However, there were a lot of years in between where we fought and didn’t get along. I didn’t appreciate what she was doing behind the scenes: working two jobs to pay the mortgage, trying to find a balance between her own personal fulfillment and motherly duties, etching out a career path that would give her stability and security and many other things I am most likely not privy to.
My mom juggled more than I ever realized and I often forget how much I have to thank her for.
My mom is the reason I am the hard working person I am today. She showed me, through her own actions, how to stand up for myself and to work towards what I think is valuable – even when others scoff. She taught me how to rise above, to overcome obstacles, to stand on my own two feet and to be graceful. She taught me how to be kind in the face of cruelty and the importance of letting certain things slide.
She taught me how to be an empowered woman.
My mom has always been an inspiration to me, even when I didn’t realize – even when I thought it was easier to hate her. As I’ve grown and experienced adversity of my own it was my mother’s strength from deep within my heart that carried me through.
I would not be the woman I am today without the struggles of my mother, the kindness and generosity of my mother and the faith my mother has always had in me. I am so blessed to have a mother I can not only look to for guidance, but for comfort and most importantly, friendship.
On this day, to my mother, please know how much I love you and how thankful I am for you and everything you are.