My mother has been one of my biggest supporters in life. One of the strongest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. She tried to shield us from as much of the world’s problems as possible. Often painting pictures that were far from the reality that we lived in.
There was nothing that my mother wouldn’t try to get us if it was remotely possible. She would often plan and save for our birthdays and Christmas far in advance, to ensure that they would happen. I wouldn’t say we were spoiled in the traditional sense, but my mother was a wizard with money. Layaway plans at K-Mart were a common occurrence in our childhood. I remember there were times we would finally get our order out and you couldn’t even remember what you got to begin with.
Most importantly what I value most about my mother was her ability to change and her inability to allow life’s situations to dictate to her who or what she would become. When we were young kids my mother was very short tempered, and to some degree, took out her anger on us when we acted up. With time, she made a conscious decision to change that behavior.
She began practicing Buddhism and slowly became one of the most amazing women I know: patient, calm, and driven. This is a woman who grew up in the gutters of Puerto Rico with extremely abusive parents. After marrying my father she endured her time as an Army wife, pushed herself to learn English, and worked extremely hard in school. If I’m going to be honest she’s probably one of the main reasons I’m so hard on people who stay stagnant in positions they don’t want for themselves and complain about it all day.
She didn’t just tell me that I could be anything I wanted to be; she became the actual example for my brother and me. I try not to take a whole lot of time making excuses or complain all in large part due to her. It’s the most valuable lesson that I have ever learned from anyone. The image of the “American Dream” for me was never the cars and houses one could buy, but it’s the fact that you have the room to grow into your potential and it’s no one else responsibility but your own. That’s powerful!
We don’t always agree and we have our rough patches, like the current one we are in, but no matter what happens in our relationship, nothing will ruin my image of her.
She is beautifully imperfect.