First we should address the fact that I’m one of 4 children, and we all refer to our mother as “my mom.” I wonder how many other moms raised 4 only children?
I’m very proud of the person my mom has become. When you’re a kid/young adult, you don’t really know enough to be proud of what your parents do. I think you’re happy with them when you get what you want, and not so happy when you don’t. I think I first became aware of her work ethic when I worked at Farm Bureau with her. She was not the person to bother. She was quick, efficient, and had her nose to the grindstone. I don’t actually think I ever ran across my mom goofing off or really even away from her desk the entire time I worked there. She, however, can’t have said the same for me.
My mom retired a few years ago; I’m thinking 5 or 6. During this time, she has completely blossomed. She has that same driving work ethic, only now it’s directed at various volunteer organizations. She uses her time to improve the quality of life and education of the people in her community. She can be found popping popcorn for the students at Capital View (fund raising, I think) on Fridays with my niece. She is the president of her neighborhood association, where she has installed various flower planters in the neighborhood for beautification as well as park benches for people to sit on. She has worked in the city greenhouse as well as the Botanical Center to prep flowers going out to the public places within Des Moines. She has met with people in her community to discuss how they can get businesses started. She takes all donations to the Catholic Charities up the street (run by Hispanic women) and is referred to as “The Lady.” She is currently also helping my Aunt Mimi, whose husband Albert passed away, with shopping, lawn mowing, laundry and other chores. Sometimes she even heads out and takes care of my sister’s daycare kids while Chris attends to daytime business. All this in addition to taking care of her own yard and her own home.
At 69, I’m most proud of the fact that my mom isn’t sitting on her assets, bored out of her mind, watching TV and waiting to die. She has, for the most part, seized opportunities and found a way to keep busy that is good for her and the community. When I shared this with Jerome, my Jazzercise instructor, he pointed out that his mom had run for city council when she was older. Apparently she only put a sign in her yard and won by a landslide. He thinks this is what my mom should do next — get herself a taste of REAL power and use it well.
I’m all for it, because I know that whatever she does, at 69 years old, she’s still putting in 120%.