Monday, August 9, 2010
Cause for Celebration
A little over a century ago today, a baby girl was born to a 16 year old girl in a small town outside of a major city. She was the second daughter to this young mother and her military husband (who at the time of her birth was serving his country overseas). When the baby girl was placed on her mother's chest, doctor's told the young woman that unfortunately her child was stillborn. "That can't be", said the young woman. The doctors, believing the young mother was in denial, continued working on the mom. As she gazed at her baby girl, she stroked her back, and suddenly she felt a slight movement. "Doctor! Doctor! See? She's not stillborn! She was just sleeping soundly!" she said. The doctor picked the baby up off the young mother's chest and slapped her bottom again. Whereas the first time, no wail came out of the baby girl, the second time, the infant let out a big strong cry (or roar, as her astrological sign, the lion, would do).
Her upbringing wasn't easy. She was provided the basics: food, clothes, shelter. And seeing that the her mother loved laughter, she had plenty of that. But as it is to be expected when you are raised by a young naive girl who quit school at 14 to marry a serviceman and quickly started having children (she would have 4 by the age of 19), obtaining an education and setting goals and chasing your dreams were not things this little girl was taught to do. Once she became old enough, she was given chores upon chores and was told she was only allowed to go to school, hurry home, and stay inside. As a teen, she would sit by the window and dream of what the world outside her window was like. So it wasn't too surprising that at age 16 she would start carrying on a conversation with the neighbor's 25 year old son through the window. He would soon court her and charm her mother into letting him date her. By the following year, at the tender age of 17, she married him as a means of escaping the home she felt trapped in.
By her first wedding anniversary she was the mother of baby girl. Three years later, she went on to have another child, a boy. And if she thought she was trapped before, she quickly realized marrying as a means to get out was not the right decision. She attempted to get help from her mother, but to no avail. Her mother locked her door and told her to go back to her husband. And she did just that....but this time the wheels were turning. She took her GED exam since she was prohibited by her husband from completing the mere 4 months she had left to graduate. She enrolled in a vocational school, obtained a job, and bravely took her two children and walked away from an emotionally and mentally abusive, loveless marriage. Shortly afterward, she met a man her age, a divorcee as well. He would provide the love and support she knew was out there. More importantly, he would become the father to her children she had always wanted.
That baby girl born over half a century ago, I am proud to call my Mother.She is living proof that the vicious cycle of repeating our parents mistakes can be broken, if you have the determination, drive, and will to succeed. She went on to complete a Bachelors degree in psychology and early childhood education, the only person in her family to do this. She made it a point to teach her children the importance and value of an education. When she saw any of us hanging around the wrong people or teetering in the wrong direction, she made it a point to communicate to us what is wrong with this decision and more importantly, what are the consequences. Growing up I may not have had all the material things my friends proudly boasted about. What I did have in abundance was a mother who truly loved me and showed me the wonders the world has to offer to me. She taught me the importance of dreaming and setting goals to work towards making those dreams a reality. When my friends were saying that an athlete, singer, or movie star was their inspiration in life, I was never ashamed to say my mother was my role model. Today, I am proud to call her one of my closest dearest friends.
Happy Birthday, Mom!