Thank you Mami

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.”
–Proverbs 31:1-17

It had been a rough week. I was living with my dad and step mom. After months of helping them run a restaurant and liquor store, the business had closed. The restaurant business is not easy, and I was simply burned out. Over the last few months, as economic issues worsened and employees quit, we were forced to pick up the slack. My day would start early in the morning, helping with the breakfast rush. Then the liquor store would open, and I was the only employee. I worked there until closing. Then back to the restaurant/bar until it closed around midnight. The next day I would do it all over again. Now it was over. My dad had done the best he could but in the end, we could not keep it open.

I had also been going to school at the local community college. However, due to economic issues, we were down to one car, which my dad was now using. Getting back and forth between home and school now became very difficult. I was pretty depressed. Eventually, I made the decision to leave school. I withdrew from my classes. Dad was not happy, but the deed was done. I guess he told mom – Mami as we call her.

The next day I got a call from Mami. I expected her to scold me. I come from a family of college graduates. At times, the expectations to excel in school were difficult on us. We were expected to do well, and quitting was not an option for us. Sometimes you think your parents just don’t understand the pressures you are under. The reality is that they do understand, but they are pushing you, preparing you for your future.

There was no scolding. She asked how I was doing. She asked why I quit school. She knew about the restaurant closing. She only asked me one question.

“Do you want to come home?”

I held back tears on the phone as I told her yes. How did she know? Did she hear it in my voice? I felt like a failure. I had no job, and I was a school drop out. My mom could have made me feel worse. She could have made me feel guilty. She could have told me to grow up. She did none of those things. She knew me more than I knew myself. She knew exactly what I was feeling. She said exactly the right thing at the right time.

She was there the next day to pick me up. She brought me home, where I lived with her and my brothers until I got married. During that time, she and others in my family helped me find a job. She encouraged me to go back to school. She took me to work when I didn’t have a car. She fed me, clothed me, and did everything in her power to help me become the man I am today.

How do you repay that? How do you repay the most selfless person you know, for the gift of life? How do you repay the woman who is responsible for making you who you are?

You can’t.

All I can do is say thanks Mom.

“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be “
–You Raise Me Up, Josh Grobin