It’s Woman’s History month, and although I typically don’t need a designated month to encourage me to celebrate anything, this month does make me reflect on all the phenomenal women in my life.
From friends to cousins to public figures and more, I have recently been thinking a lot about the many women who have done so much to bring me to where I am today. These are women who have contributed to my success, lifted me when I fell down, and push me to see my potential.
I love all of them for that.
But no woman has inspired me to be the woman I am today more than my mother. Her love, encouragement, and strength have carried me through so much since the day I entered this world.
My mother was born into poverty in a small village in Haiti in 1943. Raised by her mother as one of seven kids, my mom learned early on that she had to work hard to get anywhere in this world. It is a lesson she carried with her to the United States in 1969, and it’s a lesson that determined the decisions she would make for years to come.
To grow up in extreme poverty, while being surrounded by people who don’t support you or your dreams, is challenging to say the least. People told my mom she wasn’t special and that she wouldn’t amount to much. She was determined to make sure that narrative was not a part of my life or my brother’s. She told us we could do anything.
I am eternally grateful to her for that.
So as I celebrate Women’s History Month and all the women in the world who have inspired me through their work, their love, and their contributions to society, I want to pay special tribute to my mom by sharing 10 reasons why she is so extraordinary.
She made something out of nothing. As I shared earlier, my mom comes from extremely humble beginnings. She grew up in a place and time where coming to the United States for a better life was simply a dream never realized for many. She hustled and found a way to make it happen, and she built a good life for us in New York City. I could not be more proud of her for that.
She taught me how to love. My mom grew up lacking the love and affection that all kids need. As a result, she went out of her way to give us that love and affection. Because of her vulnerability and her example, I learned how to love. Knowing how to truly love has made all the difference in my life.
She never made me feel inadequate. Sometimes we have a lot of doubts as children, and those doubts can linger well into adulthood. I am so grateful God blessed me with a mother who showed me that I was more than fine just by being myself, and I never need to change to please others.
She has always been there for the people she loves. My mom constantly supported so many people in our family. Honestly, she was supportive to a fault. But I will say that her generosity showed me how to give and how to look out for the people I love. I’ve simply figured out how to do it while setting boundaries.
We always had everything we needed. We didn’t grow up with much when it comes to material things. But we were just fine. We had a roof over our heads, we never went hungry, and my mom got us clothes when we needed them. Yes, we went without certain things, but we always had what we needed to be healthy and happy.
She stepped in where my father fell short. My father was not an active part of our lives. He fell short time and time again. My mom did her best to make sure that we were just fine despite his choices. She used every opportunity she had to step in and do right by us. Because of her efforts (and her ability to never speak poorly of him), I grew up feeling loved and never bitter. My father died years ago, but I have honestly never harbored ill feelings towards him despite his lack of involvement. I thank my mom for that.
She’s a fighter. In recent years my mom has suffered from severe depression, anxiety, a stroke, seizures, a shoulder fracture, cancer, and a number of other medical issues. But you know what? She is still standing. Some days are certainly harder on her than others, but she has been fighting the good fight. She taught me how to be a fighter, too.
Her example taught me how to love God. My mother was the first person in my life to introduce me to the power of God’s love. She has turned to Him time and time again, and has taught me to do the same. There is nothing more powerful than that.
My love for reading and writing is because of her influence. I love to read and write. I fell in love with both at an early age. Although my mom doesn’t have more than an eighth grade education, she went out of her way to raise kids who understand the importance of an education. My brother and I both hold master’s degrees, and we thank her for that. And as I work on my first book, to be released this fall, there is no question I will dedicate it to her.
She never stops believing in me. Even as a grown woman in my late thirties, I still have days when I wake up feeling a bit discouraged. It’s so nice to know that my mother believes in me now just as much as she did when I was ten. In her eyes, I can do it all. She actually believes that I am extraordinary. I love her for that.
BMWK family, we’d love to hear the many reasons why your mother is an extraordinary woman.