I’m very lucky to have been mothered by two great women. The first is my mom, who pushed out my nine pound, six ounce body before she was even 20 years old. And the second is my step-mom Janet, who married my dad 23 years ago. These women, while very different, have had lasting effects on my life.
From my mom, I learned to be strong and independent. She knew what it was like to be on her own, raising two kids on a hairstylist’s income. And she didn’t want her daughters to be dependent on a man for their standard of living. While she didn’t go to college herself, there was never any question that my sister and I would.
She’s taught me how to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get on with life when things don’t go my way. When we got sick as kids, her favorite expression was, “Get up and move around. You’ll feel better.” Looking back on it, I’m sure it wasn’t a remedy so much as a method to determine whether we felt well enough to go to school, or if she needed to juggle things around so someone could watch us while she worked.
A lot of my attitude about dealing with cancer came from her. Yes, cancer sucks and it may shorten my life. But if that’s the case, then I’m not going to spend the time I do have moping around feeling sorry for myself. “Get up and move around. You’ll feel better.” And she’s still living by those words too, through her own cancer struggle and my step-dad’s health issues.
From Janet, I’ve learned about having compassion for others. She has the biggest heart of anyone I know. Whether it’s helping neighbors or volunteering at the animal shelter, she’s there when people need her. When I was I junior in high school, I wanted to go to Europe with my German class. Without hesitation, she was willing to do whatever it took to make sure I could go.
And she’s a wonderful cook. Cinnamon rolls, potato salad, chicken and biscuits, and yummy desserts are just a few of the things she makes. I wish I had half her skill and talent in the kitchen. Perhaps if I spent a little time there it would help . . . .
Thanks Mom and Janet, for always being there for me, and for everything you’ve done for me. I love you both.