Monday, May 16, 2016

A Note About My Mom

I was invited to speak last week at the Muffins for Moms breakfast at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus in Sarasota. I talked about how my mom has been my role model and what moms mean to us. Since my mom wasn't there to hear it and she's one of my most loyal readers, I decided to share it here on the blog.

Photos: Cliff Roles

Growing up, my mom wasn't the typical 1980s or 90s mom. She didn't really cook, which I inherited; she wasn't much into decorating, or craft projects, other than some iron-on t-shirts. In other words, if she was raising young kids now, she would not be a Pinterest Mom.

Instead she was the Cool Mom. She has always dressed stylish, played tennis, stayed current on pop culture, and listened to rap and hip hop music. She even made up a dance to a Lil Jon song that she had all of my sister's friends doing. My mom has always been the life of the party and is probably a lot more fun than I am.

She is a working mom who somehow managed to make it to all of our activities. Throughout the years, between my younger sister and me, there was a combination of ballet, pointe, tap and jazz, and dance *team, swimming, which often meant two practices a day, the first being at 5:30 a.m., water polo, Odyssey of the Mind, Optimist Club speaking competitions, debate, Girl Scouts, gymnastics, diving, cheerleading, newspaper, and various honor societies and school clubs.

Even though she wasn't the mom who brought homemade cupcakes, she always volunteered at our school and with our swim team. But now that I'm older and looking back, one of the most important things to me is that she never lost her own identity. She wasn't just Mom. She's a Registered Nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator who earned her master's degree while raising two kids, with the help of my dad, of course. She worked as a nurse in the hospital, counseled diabetic patients and taught college nursing. Many times she brought me and my sister to campus at Houston Baptist University and with her in the car as she drove all over Houston to supervise her students on their clinical rotations. She also took us to health fairs in under-served communities, which allowed to see how we can help those who need it most.

My mom never directly said to me,"go to college, go to graduate school, get good grades, and have a career." Nor did she try to force me to take one path or another. But since she and my dad are both very accomplished academically and in their careers, I learned by example. And I did all of those things with their support.

Although my mom has no experience in my field of broadcast journalism, my job aspirations began very early in life with a love of writing, which I inherited from her. She has always encouraged me through the toughest days of the demanding television news business and is my most loyal viewer. Even though my parents live in Atlanta, she watches the news every night via online streaming.

I am lucky to have my mom as my role model and cheerleader. Mothers come in many different forms, not all are biological. Some are foster mothers, step mothers, mothers-in-law, grandmothers, even mentors, teachers and friends who are like mothers to us. Almost all moms are alike in the way that that they accomplish amazing feats, yet they are unique and special in their own way. Everyone I know, including myself, says they have the best mom in the world. And they're all right.

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