Like Mother, Like Daughter
The older I get, the more it becomes crystal clear: I am my mother's daughter. It's also crystal clear that I am extremely proud to be even a fraction like the incredible woman who raised me. Yeah, when I was younger I used to groan at her, embarrassed by how pushy she can be when things aren't they way they are supposed to be, frustrated that she felt the need to explain our life story to the cashier at Target, and annoyed when she made me do my homework or argued with me that the color of the car next to us was green, not aqua. We've had some trying times and we still argue about half of the time we spend together. But it's because my strong, independent mother raised a stubborn, independent daughter, and that's bound to cause some head butting here and there.
I consider myself one of the most fortunate people in the world because I was raised by two of the most incredible women you could ever imagine: my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother came from very little. She grew up in a rural area of Michigan and left home when she was 16 to find a better life for herself. When she had children -- three daughters each a year apart -- she knew that she wanted the best for their future and it was clear to her that education was the way. Her husband, my grandfather, died when my mom was only 14 years old and from there it was up to my grandma to work multiple jobs and keep their small family afloat. She was a caretaker and worked as an in-home nurse and in hospice in various jobs, a testament to her incredibly caring nature. She never complained about her lot in life and just worked that much harder instead. When my mom and aunts were all off to college, my mom has told me the story that my grandma called her up and said “I’m moving out of our house, I need you to come get your things. I just don’t need a whole house to myself like this.” It wasn’t until years later that they discovered that the house was being foreclosed because my grandma couldn’t keep up with the payments but she hadn’t wanted to worry her daughters and impede their focus on schoolwork.
Then there’s my mother, who raised me on her own while working a full-time job and putting herself through law school, then worked her way up as a lawyer and eventually started her own practice, all while being the most incredibly present and involved mother around. She was on all of the PTA boards, she was at every parent-teacher conference, she came to every horse show I rode in, she supported me in any and every endeavor I ever wanted, and she made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to, whether I always believed her or not. For all that my mom could not do, my grandma was there to help, like teaching me how to read before I’d even started preschool, picking me up from school everyday, taking me to math tutoring when I needed extra help, attending the lame chorus concerts I sang in in elementary school, and more. I was brought up with two of the most hard-working women as role models and it has taught me so much about self-reliance and perseverance. In a mere three generations our family has gone from rural Michigan to law school in Washington D.C. to a happy life in southern Florida to a soon-to-be graduate from one of the best universities in the world, NYU. None of that was due to sheer luck, none of that came without struggle, and none of that will be taken for granted.
My grandma taught me how to read and inspired my inquisitive nature, showed me the importance of education, imparted her values of love and kindness on me, and she is a shining icon in my life every single day. My incredible mother inspires even more: my perseverance, my conviction that anything can be done if you try hard enough, my relative inability to accept the word “no,” my passionate love of travel, my hope for a better future, and my confidence that a better future can be shaped only by oneself. These women inspire these things in me and so much more. I’m sure each and every person reading this will have some incredible woman in your life, be it a mother, grandmother, aunt, stepmom, or godmother, who has convinced you in the unrelenting power of mothers.
We all have our stories, every family has followed a different path, but one thing is for certain: none of it would have been possible without some really badass mothers out there. While dedicating a special day to mother’s is wonderful and we know they deserve it, I’d argue that they deserve it every single day. So Happy Mother’s Day to every single mom out there, on today and every day, and thank you for all of the incredible things you have done and continue to do to support your children.