Before going into my entry, I thought I'd present a story on the history of Mother's Day NPR. Interesting stuff.
From the earliest days of my memory, my mom has always believed in hard work. Raising my five sisters and me largely on her own, she would sometimes work as many as three jobs to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs. "No I don't like it" she said, "but I will do what I have to in order for my kids to survive."
One example of her hard work came across on Christmas day of 1990. Only six days before, my cousin and I had voiced our desire to receive a new 88-key keyboard. She knew that our passion for music was real and wanted badly to nurture it, but my dad refused to help out in the payment for the machine. I later found out that she took on some odd jobs and got a loan from the bank so that she could have that keyboard on its stand in the living room on that morning. We were elated of course, but we failed to see how much effort it took her to pull it off. I think that's the only way she would have it, though.
My mom has also influenced me in less tangible, but equally important ways. Growing up in such a large family didn't often afford me the opportunity to feel sorry for myself as a blind person, because I always had friends at home. I would try to avoid venturing outside for fear that others might be mean to me and make fun of me constantly, but my mother encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and take a chance.
In 1994, the family decided to leave behind my hometown of Charlotte North Carolina for a much smaller one, due to a number of bad breaks we had experienced. I was allowed to live a year with my Aunt in order to avoid a school transition in the middle of an academic term, but before that year was over she had informed me "I'll be back to get mine."
I really had no desire to move so far away from everything and everyone I knew, but my mom told me not to be afraid to walk into that school with my head held high. "Others will say and do things to you that aren't nice," she told me as we sat in the lobby completing my registration there "but you're bigger than that. You're as much, if not more, of a man as those folks."
In retrospect, moving into that environment was probably the best thing I could have done. My grades improved drastically and social confidence soared, without the buffering of other blind people, I was forced to learn my own coping and survival strategies.
These are only a few ways that my mom has enriched my life; I don't believe there would be space enough to illuminate them all. I don't know a harder working woman, or one who has a better handle on what to say to bring the best out of me.