Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day Mom

President Obama's on the occasion of Mother's day proclaimed:

"Women often work long hours at demanding jobs and then return home to a household with myriad demands," proclaimed President Obama. "Balancing work and family is no easy task, but mothers across our Nation meet this challenge each day, often without recognition for their hard work and dedication. The strength and conviction of all mothers--including those who work inside and outside the home--are inspiring. They deserve our deepest respect, admiration, and appreciation."

Indeed hard working women inside and outside the house do deserve a hearty appreciation. It is no easy job that is for sure. But in the age of reality TV shows, where so much of everyone's lives is right out there for everyone to see, I wonder if the Desperate Housewives of OC, NY etc fall into the category of mother's to be admired. Or what about the ones you see on wife swap?

Yes it's Mother's Day but there are plenty of women that do not honour that title of mother. When I think of the word mother I think of someone that nurtures and cares. Someone that puts the needs of her family above her own needs. Someone that wants the best for you in life. Someone you can count on and depend on to carry you when you are too weak. When I think of mother, that what comes to my mind. There is a reason it is declared the hardest job in the world. Because so many times it is a thankless job. Because so many times, your dreams and aspirations are put on hold to nurture and feed the dreams of others. It's selfless. And it's hard. It is for this reason that so many women struggle with working and being Mom's. Feel guilty about not being there enough, not spending enough time.

Mu own mother lost her Mom when she was only 17. In fact she suffered great family tragedy. My eldest uncle died in a car crash. 25 days later my grandfather died of a broken heart they say and six months after that, my grandmother woke up in the morning, made the tea, said her morning prayer and then went back to bed only to die in her sleep.

So from age of 17 my Mom did not have someone to call and wish to a Happy Mother's Day. She was left to fend for herself and figure out life on her own. There was no one to guide her or to advice her. No one to tell her what she was in for when she had her own children and the struggles she would face.

My mom by all definitions is someone that belongs outside of the house. Not because she is not a good Mom. She is a freaking over achiever so she does everything to perfection including the Mom thing. But she is best and in her element when she is working. The woman was born to teach. Education is like a drug to her. She can't get enough of it. She loves to study and loves to teach. Yet this woman, put her dreams on hold for her family. She married my father when she was 19. She had gotten accepted to university, but this self proclaimed nerd, ended up giving up her seat, because of having to re-locate with my Dad. The next year she applied to a local school. This was a very private , very prestigious school with very scrict age requirements. She got accepted into an engineer program at a time when not many woman did or could. Unfortunately she also found herself pregnant. So once again, school was put on hold. She lost the baby in the end, but by then it was too late to get back in and she no longer qualified to write the exam again because she was now too old.

Flash forward to six years later, she now hasw two kids, when they relocated again. And again she tried out for university and again she got accepted. One year later, my father's job took us as a family to Japan. Again she put her studies on hold. The story goes on and on, I don't want to bore you, but basically my Mom finally got her bachelor degree, years later, taking night classes and studying into the wee hours of the night and running on only 2-3 hours of sleep. She had to be 43 when this happened. A couple of years after that, my family moved again, this time to jolly old England. I had moved to Canada the year before to persue my gradute studies. My Mom suddenly found herself in a new country, with new culture and lots of idle time. She started to suffer from depression. This was not a woman that just sat around. She had to keep busy. So I suggested that she apply for a Master's program. It took her some time to even consider that this was something she could do and the day she got her acceptance letter was probably one of the happiest days of her life. She worked her ass off. Because being who she was, she didn't just apply to some cushy MSc program, no, she applied to Computer Science. I remember the long distance phone calls, my Mom calling her engineer daughter in Canada, asking her about programing help. My mom sending me her presentations and having me proof read them for grammar mistakes. After all English was her second language. Ya she worked her ass off, tooth and nail for that degree and when it was done, she asked me so what now? I told her, now you do what you have always wanted to do. Now you go get that job and you get out there, where you belong. She had no hopes of anyone wanting to hire a nearly 50 year old woman with no work experience. But bless her, she wrote up that resume and started the job hunt. I told her Mom, make sure they know that you have been busy, always learning something. That shows you are adaptable. That you can do anything.

And rightfully so, the employers where impressed with her credentials, because not only had she managed against all odd to excel in such a hard subject, but she had shown that through out the years she had always tried to keep herself educated the best way she knew how. When we lived in Japan my Mom enrolled in Ikebana and then dressmaking college. It was a 3 year course and her graduation project was a hand sewn two piece that my sister still now wears these days. When we returned from Japan and when money was tight, she opened a little seamstress shop in our basement. She designed wedding outfits for family. Take that Vera Wang. And I got to wear the latest European fashions courtesy of mommy dearest, so that I wouldn't feel out of place among my richer friends. She had completed a MSc in Computer science having never used a computer before that. Her BSc was in finance and banking. Ya so what your point? This was no ordinary woman. She can do anything...

Anyways, she had nothing to worry about. She WAS going to get a job. I had no doubts about that. And so it was that she landed a temporary contract position with a college in London to teach IT classes. Over the years she parlayed that into a full time position, then teaching at two separate colleges. Since then any time there is a new program, anytime there is something challenging to sort through, she is the first person they come too. She works so, so hard. She's now almost 65, works 5 days a week, hardly ever sleeps because she is preparing lesson plans and such and still finds time to remember every birthday, visit friends, throw dinner parties, be a doting grand-ma to my brother's girls and loving mother to her children, She is always there to lend an ear to anyone that needs a shoulder to cry on. This is one strong lady I tell you. And with a willpower like no one I've seen. Life has tried so many times to break her and failed again and again. She is unstoppable. And she's done it all by herself. And to this I say, Mom, have a very happy Mother's day because you deserve it. You deserve like no one I know...

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