Every morning I call my mom to make sure she is ok. It is a habit that started when my dad was sick to check on him. After he passed, I continued which has been a good idea as she lives alone and the older she gets, the more my sister and I worry about her. The big bonus is that I have gotten to know my mom quite well and as my children put it, “she is a wise old lady”. Many of our morning conversations turn into lengthy discussions about some of the problems we see in our world. Often, we figure out how to fix the problem even though we have no way of implementing our findings. Most of the time, we just come up with some great questions that might help the "experts" find better solutions to the real problems. We know it is just talk; but if we could get the ear of someone who could do something, we would love to help. When I started writing articles, mom asked if anyone read them. She suggested I should figure out a way to start publishing our ideas, maybe we could start to affect change. Why not? At least we are trying to do something more than just talking about problems. If we can get others to start talking, or better yet to do something to change the status quo, maybe we can help make our world a little better.
First, I would like to introduce you to myself and my mom so you have a little better idea as to why we think anyone should listen to us. My mom and dad were married 50+ years before my dad died seven years ago. Mom was a migrant farm worker from Colorado and dad was a West Virginia coal miner. They married while dad was still in the US Air Force and soon had two girls in 3 short years, my little sister and myself. When dad was discharged after serving his country during the Korean War, they settled our little family in Virginia. My uncle (mom’s brother) helped my dad get a job with the Corps of Engineers as a mechanical technician (he could fix anything). Mom was a full-time mom with several jobs outside the home that would not interfere with what she felt were important duties of motherhood (seamstress, the head baker for my elementary school, a room mother, and a Girl Scout leader). Money was never plentiful, but we did live a comfortable life. There was always plenty of love and family. In fact, one of my dad’s brothers, his wife, and three children lived directly behind us; another of dad’s brothers, his wife, and four children lived across the street; and one of mom’s brothers, his wife, and son lived around the corner from us. Our home was the gathering place for extended family and friends at any time of the year.
I lived one of those Ozzy and Harriett family lifestyles, the perfect example of the 1960s. I had the best dad who loved my mom and showed it. As an example, for Christmas my dad had a ring made for my mom with her birthstone surrounded by his and wrote in her card that she was the center of his universe. They had been married 40 years that Christmas. My mom was the soul of our family. She was always there when we needed her. She was my dad’s main caregiver before he died, yet she never made him feel like he was a burden. Every summer we drove across the United States, camped, visited family, and loved life. I had the best childhood. I had the greatest parents. Life is never perfect, but this was close.
I was the first and only offspring of my generation to graduate from college on either side of my family. Since I was a woman during the time our nation was going through the growing pains of the women’s lib movement, I faced many obstacles from which I choose to embrace what I have learned from each encounter to improve my life and help my daughter to be aware of and try to avoid the pitfalls of sexual discrimination. As a brief example, even though I received advanced placement in math when I entered college (I have been told I have a highly attuned math mind), I was discouraged from pursuing a degree in engineering, computers, science or math because they were a “man’s” careers and not suited for a woman. Instead, I was told teaching, interior design, or similar were more “appropriate” choices for me. Unfortunately, I followed their advice. Attitudes have come a long way, but there is still much work to be done to get rid of all types of discrimination in our world – maybe this will be the topic of a future article.
As was typical of the era, I married my college sweetheart upon my graduation (actually, the month before graduation). We waited three years to start our family thinking we were being more “progressive”. Two years after our son was born, my son and I moved into my parents’ home to force my husband back to college to complete his degree because I could not afford his tuition and day care on my income alone to enable him to be a full-time student; and he refused to work on his degree part-time. During these formative years, my son had what I believe was the one of the best male role models, my dad. I believe this is a key factor in how great a man my son is today. After my husband’s graduation, we moved to Florida (where our daughter was born), then North Carolina, and finally to California. I was the devoted mother that helped everyone adjust to the moves, put my career on hold, and made excuses for all the changes not wanting to admit that my husband’s drug abuse was the problem. After 30 years of marriage, I suddenly became a single mom.
The good news is I am now a happy, well-adjusted single woman of two children, both graduates of prominent colleges. The bad news is I was the victim of a scam artist (whom I have worked with the FBI to put in prison). Having been a stay-at-home mom for 14 years hindered my re-entry into the job market; business does recognize the value of a job that does not earn a paycheck (again, a topic for another article). I hold no hatred or resentment towards those that have changed my life; we are all products of the people and events of our life. The fact that I have many people who love me and continue to be part of my life is what fuels my desire to succeed at giving back. No matter how bad things have been, I must find the positives in them to keep moving forward as an example to my children if nothing else.
Many of my mom’s and my morning talks have been about subjects that have helped me to adjust to the changes in my life over the past 10 years. We are but 2 moms with a simplistic view of the problems we speak about. We dissect the problem to determine what we feel are the core issues that created the problem in the first place; correcting the core issues will be much more effective at resolving the problem in the long run than any band-aide, quick fix solution which often creates even more problems as we have seen lately with the most current economic crash.
This is a brief introduction of who we are. Over time, you will learn more about us and hopefully we will learn something about you. I look forward to presenting some of our conversations and urge you to comment. Let’s get the world talking about how to be positive and make steps to improve our daily lives. Let’s make life even better - we only get one chance at it!