One of my favorite quotes lately: “If you see the glass as half empty, pour it into a smaller glass and stop bitching.”
Be optimistic instead of looking at a situation as hopeless. I for one, choose to think this way as much as I can, though I have my bad days where nothing seems to go right. I truly believe that we have the ability to make ourselves happy or unhappy. We all want to be successful in life or, at least comfortable but sometimes we get so close to reaching our goals but we get discouraged and quit.
My mother is a great reminder to me of why I refuse to be mediocre or a complainer. She has been through hell and back; she has had to hustle to survive for as long as I can remember. She was married twice; her first marriage was to my father who left when I was about 3 years old and my sister was not even born. She later remarried to another man with whom she had two kids. Her second marriage was no better than the first, she was left with two more children to care for on her own.
Being our sole provider was not easy, mom was hardly ever home. I should explain that where I come from, there are very few opportunities for work especially for a woman, and even when there are opportunities, you have to have a college degree.
My mother’s only means of supporting her family was to travel across the continent and sell women’s apparel. Though, most times she came home discouraged because business was bad, she never gave up.
I wonder how my mother felt knowing that she was the sole provider in a culture where women were looked at only as homemakers and nothing else.
All my life I’ve felt my mother was a superwoman. She did not need someone to take care of her because she always worked despite the challenges she faced as a woman.
She traveled, and she made sure my education was priority when I was old enough to start school, even though many parents of girls in our culture had dreams of their daughters getting married young and having children to bring honor and a good name to their family. Boys were supposed to be educated and take care of their family, girls were to be married and financially supported by their husband.
Many families with mothers and fathers in the household struggled to afford everyday necessities due to poverty. Because of my mother, our family never went hungry or wanted for anything. My sister and I had nice clothes compared to most children we knew, we had dolls, toys and things other little girls could only dream of at the time. Even though we were financially better off than most, we were by no means rich; but, my mother and grandmother strongly believed in giving.
When my mother wasn’t there, our grandma and our aunt looked after my sister and I. These women are like very few I’ve met in my life. My mothers as I like to call them (my aunt, my mom and grandma), did not ask for anything from anyone no matter how difficult the situation they were in. They each would give you the shirt off their backs, but would not want anything in return, this is actually true for all the women in my mother’s family.
As a child, walking home from school, a man ran over my foot with his bicycle and injured my toe. True to the nature of the people in my culture, the man walked me home to my great aunt’s house to make sure I was okay and to apologize to my family. My mother was out at the time, but my great aunt was home and she decided that the man should wait for my mother so that he could explain to her what happened.
When it comes to her children, my mother did not take things lightly so her aunt knew better than to make decisions without her consent especially, because I was hurt. While waiting for my mother, I remember my great aunt giving the man who injured me food and water and making sure he was comfortable.
As a child, I didn’t understand why she fed and cared about the man who had just hurt me. Even though this is the culture I grew up in, I did not realize that this man’s honesty and integrity was something that made him worthy of respect and forgiveness. This stranger realized his mistake, took full responsibility for it and chose to face the consequences regardless of what that meant. My mother had to explain this to me because I was too young to understand it at the time.
My mothers (all three of them) taught me strength, forgiveness, and to always help others whenever I can because no matter how much we have, it could all be gone just like that. They have taught me that when it is my time to leave this earth, I could not take my material possessions with me. They taught me that
The woman who gave me life is a true hero to me, yes, but I know she’s also a hero to many others; because of her kind heart, honesty, and fairness. I’ve spent most of my life without a father figure and I struggle as a woman because that was a very important but missing part of my life, but my mother has taught me how to be independent, strong, caring, the best mother I can be, and best of all, to never ever give up. I will always be grateful to her for being the woman she is, even though she was probably not aware that I was watching her and becoming who I am because of who she was.
Now I have a daughter who is also watching me while I shape the young lady she will become one day. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, I make poor decisions; but I will teach my daughter that despite my flaws, I can make a difference in this life. I will teach her to love herself first, to treat others as she wants to be treated, to choose optimism always and to strive to be self-sufficient in every way possible.