Wednesday, September 15, 2010

SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge Day 4: No one like Mom

Like my mom, I will not have it any other way

This is my 4th challenge post in the SITS Girls Back to Blogging Event where bloggers are assigned one blogging challenge to complete each day over the next 5 days.

My first Back to Blogging Event Challenge was to upload the first post I ever wrote and if I want, rewrite it to make it better.

My Back to Blogging Event Challenge for day two was to upload a post that I wish more people had read.

My Back to Blogging Event Challenge for day three was to upload a post with a title that I am proud of.

My Back to Blogging Event Challenge for today is a write a post about a woman who inspires me.  When I read the subject for this challenge, I was thinking this is just bad timing.  I just posted on my blog two reviews of events led by some very inspiring women in the Detroit area.  Bassie Shemtov, the director of the Friendship Circle,  just inspired over 7000 people to join the Walk4Friendship where the money raised helps special needs children and their families.  And Kalyn Risker hosted an appreciation evening for her non-profit Sisters Acquiring Financial Empowerment (SAFE) which provides financial guidance for women impacted by domestic violence.  Both of these women are so inspiring that either would have been great topics for this post.

But the more I thought about it, the more I started thinking that the woman that I am most inspired by is my Mom.

Mom's in the back - the baby is me
I was raised in a two parent, traditional home where my dad went to work everyday and my mom raised my sisters and me.  My mom is the oldest of eight children which meant she helped raise most of her sisters and brothers.  So, my mom held major responsibility from an early age and she really takes her leadership role to heart.  My mom was raised at a time when women married young.  One of my Aunts once told me that people were looking at her funny because she was 18 years old when she finally married.  My mom married at age 15, had her first child at age 16 and me at age 30.  I remember being sixteen and there is no way that I could have raised my siblings, married, and started a family by that age - NO WAY!

When my mom was sixteen, she and dad drove across country and came to Detroit seeking a better life.  My dad could not find work right away so my parents and my oldest sister lived in the basement of my father's brother's home for years until they bought their own home.  Again I cannot imagine leaving my parents and siblings and moving across country at so young an age.  But my mom is a very tough woman.

When I was a toddler, my father lost his job.  That was a time when lots of people in Detroit were out of work because the country was in the middle of a major recession.  He was out of work for over a year.  So at a time when most women did not work, my mom got a job as a "day laborer" which is the term used back in the day for a maid.  We did not have a lot of money for food so my parents grew vegetables in a garden in our back yard.  It's funny that with all the financial struggles going on, my mom never complained once.  To her, working hard was just the norm.  But dispite the struggles, my childhood memories were of feeling safe and being loved.  Mom made sure we all went to church and to Sunday School and we thanked God for our food every time we ate - no matter what it was.

When I was school age, things improved greatly with finances and my parents were able to buy wonderful things and totally remodel their home.  But my mom continued to work hard and we still ate from that garden - just now the vegetables were served with meat.

My frugal nature comes from my mother.  At age 5, Mom started giving me an allowance. Now most kids would get to spend their allowance at the "5 and dime" store, but not me.  My mom talked me into putting my money in the bank.  At age 5, I started going weekly with my mom to the bank to deposit my allowance.  I got to fill out my own deposit slip and take it to the teller at the bank window.  I had my own saving account and the teller would stamp my account book and hand it back to me.  When I started seeing how the number would go up every time we went to the bank, I was hooked.  I was the cheapest kid in Detroit, but I had a bank book with a lot of stamps and a growing balance.  Because of my parents' hard work and my mom's persistence, my parents were able to pay off their mortgage in ten years.

That's my mom - quite a beauty!
My mom never graduated from high school, but it was her dream that all her kids would go to college.  I remember being 5 years old and telling people that I was going to college.  My saving account turned into my college fund and my mom's dream became my dream.  My sisters and I all graduated from college and most of us have advanced degrees.  Two of us won full scholarships to college.  It was just the way it was going to be.  My mom would not have it any other way.  And none of us had any college debt.

Although my mom and I don't always agree (she drives me crazy at times), I thank her for teaching me how to survive and how to thrive, how to dream and how to be a realist, and how to love and how to give tough love.  My goal for my child is when he becomes an adult, he too will be able to look back (after he has completed college with no debt) and say that he felt safe and that he knew he was loved.

Like my mom, I will not have it any other way.

Thanks to Standards of ExcellenceWestar, and Florida Builder Appliances for sponsoring this SITS Girls Back to Blogging Challenge.
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