This I Believe

Mariola - San Francisco, California
Entered on November 14, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, gratitude

I believe in many different things. I believe in God, I believe in life on the other planets, I

believe in love, and I believe in true friendship. I also believe that education is very important,that majority of people should change their eating habits, that driving under influence can have dramatic consequences, and that honesty is a rare quality which still can be found. However, the strongest belief I have is that my mother, Helena Bak, is a perfect person.

First, I would like to say that my mom has always had time for me. When I was a child and later a teenager, she worked, ran the entire household, took care of my sick father and still, every time I needed her, undeniably she focused her full attention on me. She came to all school performances that I took part in and all the events that I was singing at. When I was taking my final exams in high school that lasted five days, she went with me and waited four hours outside of the classroom each day until I finished. During the one of the most stressful days in my life – obtaining a visa to come to US – she was with me the entire time keeping her fingers crossed. She has never missed any of my table tennis competitions and she has often given up her days off just to help me study. An amazing part is that I am not the only child. I have a brother who my mom has treated the exact same way. Now I’m an adult myself and I understand how hard it is to manage the time, and I truly admire my mother’s time organization that she maintains till this day.

What’s more, my mother is a very intelligent and talented person. She was an A student in high school and junior college in Poland. She got her BA in dermatologic nursing. She is fluent in Russian and knows English communicatively. She is a famous artist in my home town Kielce as she loves to draw. She also makes clothes based on her own ideas. She designed and made my prom dress. Also, for eighteen years she has been preparing my birthday cakes as baking is another one of her passions. When she was forty-four years old, both my brother and

I were almost adults. As a result of our expanding independence, she had more free time so she decided to go back to college to obtain her master degree. She graduated in sociology at the age of forty eight being on the top of her class. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for her to go back to school after such a long break. She didn’t quit her full time job, nor forgot about taking care of her family and home while being a student. She has completely developed all her abilities, which is what takes my breath away every time I mention it.

Additionally, Helena is one of the mentally strongest people I’ve ever known. Despite the many obstacles she had to face, she always managed to stay calm and in control. Her father passed away when I was a little girl. A few years after her grandmother died. She dealt with her husbands alcoholism for many years until he was diagnosed with cancer. He has been sick for seven long years which were very difficult for my entire family but mostly for my mom. Because of her nursing career, everybody expected her to take care of my father without obtaining any

additional medical help; so she did. After his death a few years ago, she has continued to be

strong and carry on her well balanced life on her own. It was very hard for her when I decided to come to the US. She told me that she would not be able to take care of me anymore because of the distance. A similar situation happened when my brother moved to Spain for a year. She was hurt and did not want him to go. I know she is very lonely but she does not let anybody to notice that. She always keeps her head up and smiles even though inside she might be hurting. She deals with problems and difficult life issues with courage and determination teaching me that one has to be strong in life.

Furthermore, my mom loves to help others. She chose the medical career because she wanted to help people. Her kindness and patience are known throughout my town and her work environment. She is admired by her co-workers and loved by the patients. Anytime somebody has a problem in my family, not necessarily of a medical matter, they call my mother to get her opinion and advice, which are both highly respected. She is always nice to others and does not expect anything in return. When I have a problem, she is the first person I contact. When I have some great news, she is the first person I share it with. Even though I live on the other end of the

world, she is my closest adviser.

Finally, Helena is very imaginative and resourceful. She is able to fix almost everything with anything. Of course, I’m not talking about fixing cars or washer machines, but when it comes to repairing decorative items or other small objects, she is an expert. For example, one time my movie jammed in the VCR and the tape inside the cassette tore. My mom took a tiny screwdriver, took apart the tape, connected the two ends of the cassette tape with a scotch tape and put it back together. She inserted it in the VCR recorder and it started playing. It seemed it was an easy thing to do, however I would never come up with the idea that the scotch tape would

be an effective solution. That was when I acknowledged her creativity and decided to capture as much of it as I possibly could.

I grew up thinking that there are no perfect people. “Nobody is perfect”, was one of the

most significant themes in my life. Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has to raise their

voice once in a while, or argue with another person. It was after I had come to US when, by being far away from my family for the first time ever , I realized that the person who

demonstrates the opposite of that belief has been living right next to me my entire life. She is the wonderful person who brought me to this world. She is my mother, my best friend, my teacher, my personal doctor, my advisor, my mentor, my idol…she is perfect.