Every time Women’s History Month comes around, I always think about my mom. This is true particularly since I’ve become a mom myself. I see now, more than ever, how her grit, moxie, and steadfastness turned me into the woman I am today.
My mom emigrated from the Bahamas to the U.S. when she was a teen, which brought a period of transition. She says she just remembers always being cold, even wearing a sweater in the summer!
She did not have a traditional path to college. Instead, she finished school as an adult after she had my big sister and met my Dad. She talks about “thumbing” (actually hitchhiking!!!) to classes at the University of Connecticut to finish classes when she did not have a reliable car.
Soon after, she had me. (She also got her master’s when I was nine). What I remember most about my childhood is my mom always being there. For me, being “there” means she would be physically present at my events, as well as being an involved parent at all of my schools K-12, and being that ever-present force always there to defend me. I never felt unsupported or insecure—which I now know is a true blessing. For years, I thought this was the default and what everyone had.
My mom worked hard to provide me with so many things she did not have herself. Soccer, basketball, violin lessons, various trips and so much more. She put me in a position to go to college at 18 and to direct my life unburdened by the tough life stuff.
Throughout college, we always talked on the phone. It was never a nuisance to take her call or vice versa. I didn’t mind living with her when I was in law school.
Now that I’m a mom myself, I already see that I’m pretty much going to be just like her. The biggest gift I want to give my son (and soon-to-be-born second son) is my presence. That no matter what, I will be there for him during whatever he decides to do with his life. I want to provide a stable, loving home from which he can launch.
Most importantly, I know I can because of the example set for me.
Comment below with a note about who you are thinking about during Women’s History Month this year.