It is mothers day and my mom is no longer with us but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I’ll start by saying she was not perfect and this post is not about a rosy depiction of a perfect childhood since I don’t think perfection is what we had an if there is anyone reading this, and you had perfection, congratulations!
What she demonstrated each and every day even at the very end of her life, was she never gave up. She taught me probably through her actions more than her words to never give up. Yes, she had doubts about how smart or how talented I was so she wasn’t one of those to build me or any of my siblings up with “yes, you can” talks but she was real and utterly honest. When I gained a few pounds, she was clearly going to say something about it for my betterment. When I succeeded at work by getting a promotion, she was very proud and encouraged me. She would encourage us to be whatever we wanted and to work hard, not waste money, plan for the future, and wear things till they totally wore out, for example. She was a great negotiator and if she had had the opportunity to study finance, she would have been wildly successful as a financial wizard.
Being raised by what we consider today as “old fashion old world” parents, what stands for me which has shaped me in my work and in my life was to never give up. Going through a divorce, being a single parent, having to deal with cancers and losing my ability to be mobile from all the stuff that chemo/radiation as well numerous surgeries, the never give up attitude has sustained me if not becoming part of my DNA.
My mother loved us beyond her words would truly express other than every once in a while her softness would come through. She didn’t walk out when it was tough. She didn’t abort me when I was being born in a refuge camp in Yugoslavia. She simply worked with my dad to figure out how to make ends meet, how to get us where we needed to be, and how to be there for us.
Parents are not perfect but we ourselves can reshape our lives based on the principles and faith we can do better than they did. My mother would encourage us to do better – she would nudge and sometimes push us hard (ok – resented this growing up) but finally saw that her pushing us for excellence kept us out of trouble. Her brutal honesty was not always welcomed but she was 99% right – there were times she was wrong because she was only human. I think now, are we honest with our children or our friends for that matter. Tell them when we see them wasting their lives or not pursuing their God-given talents to create an incredible life?
Well, it is only one day of the year we as a nation take time to stop and celebrate our mothers and this is my little feeble attempt. I leave you with a few questions, how do you want to be remembered whether you are a mother, father, sister, brother or simply a friend to someone. Do you nudge them to greatness to be the best version of themselves? Do you encourage them when all say otherwise that they cannot succeed? Basically I should have died in a small unmarked refuge camp years ago in a country in turmoil, so I say thank you to Mom for never giving up and showing me that it was not even an option.