What She Always Told Me

Elizabeth - Casa Grande, Arizona
Entered on September 16, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, work
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I sat there working on my laptop, my dad next to me on the couch watching TV. All of a sudden the front door opens. My mother had arrived home from her job interview. My mother is the type of woman who is not good at keeping secrets so her face told us all. “How did it go mom?” my mother smiled with watery eyes and she said these words I will always remember, “Mama, I got it. All my hard work paid off. I finally got the job I have always wanted,” As I gave her a hug, I felt my moms weight she had had for years lifted off her shoulders she was so happy that day.

For eighteen years my mom has been waiting for an opportunity like this to reach her. Growing up my mother lived with 12 brothers and sisters. My grandma was a single mother. Every one of my uncles and ants has different fathers. My mom always joked about, “ha! That’s what happens when you don’t have money for a television.” That’s right; my mother never had money growing up. She never had new clothes for the first day of school. She was lucky to get new shoes for that matter. My mom would help out her grandpa in the fields to earn some money but everything she earned would go to her mother and family to help out with food.

My mother never graduated high school. This was normal for people. It wasn’t that big of a deal like now, where education is a big deal if you want a job with good pay. At 17 year old, my mother got married to my father. At age 21 my mother had my older brother Frankie. At age 23 my older sister Gracie was born. A year later, she died. My parents and older brother took it hard. My mother went into a depression. It took another five years to get over her depression. It was then she realized I have a child, and a husband I need to support and get back on track. Then she also realized she was pregnant.

Not just pregnant, but “double pregnant” is what my dad said as he would laugh. She was cued with the joy of having two babies, my twin brother and me.

With three children and a husband, my mom realized that my dad can’t do it all by himself so she got a job. My mom loves to decorate cakes so she applied to a decorating position at a local Albertsons. My brothers and I would love to go see my mom at work and all the beautiful cakes she had made. Everyday after school my dad would pick me and my twin brother up from school and then go to pick up my mom. This happened until my parents could afford another vehicle. My older brother would ride the bus home since he was older and my parents felt he was old enough to get home safely.

One day when my dad had finished picking my brother and I up, the tension in the room seemed mellow. We had heard about the cuts we would have to make at home just to save some money for bills. So we waited for mom, she hopped in the car with her face exhausted. My mother tired to the bone still had the energy to turn around and hug my brother and me and smile. Don’t know how she did it. On the ride back home, my mom would ask, “How was school today Chongos (monkeys in Spanish)? Stay out of trouble? Voted for any presidents today?” we would laugh and answer, “No mommy, we are too young to vote” as we giggle. My mother would turn around, laugh, then smile, and then put a straight face on and tell us, “you know monkeys, if you work hard; I believe you could be president.” We sat there looked at each other and be silent and then nod to her. Deep down I was thinking how much work that would have to be and if my mom thought I could I wanted to work hard for it. If not president, something great in life.

All my life I have taken my mothers advice, “Hard work will pay off,” those are the words I always heard from her. When my twin brother and I had reached high school, I was the child who was in everything. I was the AP student; the kid in honors classes, the band nerd, the DECA dork, the soccer junkie, and the inspirational mentor (hate to toot my own horn). I was always busy, and yet I felt like I was getting no where. I never saw what my mother meant in, “hard work will pay off”. Most times after school or practice I would come home bummed out or stresses, even worse crying my heart out. My mother would look at me and give me a hug. “What’s wrong mom,” (mom is what she called me). I would tell my mom about the horrible day I had and how it seemed like I wasn’t making a difference anywhere. My mother would pull me into her arms and tell me, “Mama, trust me. In the end, it’s going to pay off and people are going to see how special you are and how fantastic you are. You make me so proud to be your mother everyday I see you walk out that door, I see this child who is going to be great. Just remember, Hard work will pay off, trust me”. So I did.

My mother went back to nursing. She had gotten tired of her dead end job that got her nowhere. On top of that she wanted to be an example for my brothers and me that you can do anything with hard work. My mother got her degrees and started working. She started with being a home nurse for the mentally disabled. My mother loved her job, but something was missing. My mom wanted more out of her job, she wanted a better nursing program and she knew the only way to do that she would have to apply for a house management position. So my mother applied for the management position at the house she had worked at, she didn’t get it. My mother was crushed, but I knew and I seen in her heart she was determined. She was going to show people that she was made to be a manager for that house. My mother worked long hours and would even give up her last five dollars to get things they needed in the nursing house.

Then it happened, my mother was taken to the hospital. We found out that day, my mother was diagnosed with diabetes type 2. Then we found out my mother had other health problems. Of course my mother was crushed. But she wasn’t going to stop with her work. She would still work nights, and sleep all day. When my mom tried to work longer hours my father, brothers, and I would yell at her, “slow it down woman, your going to hurt yourself” “do you wanna go back to that hospital, you need rest”. My mother would not listen, my stubborn mother.

The day my mother got an interview for a district case manager, for all housing that holds people in need, she glowed and she was so excited. Basically, she would control all nursing houses and if something went bad in one house she gets to fire or hire new people. My mother would be her own boss, no one would control her. I tried not to get my hope ups for my mother because I was scared she wouldn’t get it. When she came home that day from the interview she was so happy. She couldn’t even fake a bad news face, she was too happy. Those words, “Mama, I got it. All my hard work paid off. I finally got the job I have always wanted” I will always remember.

When my mother got that job she always wanted, I knew it was my turn. My turn to take my time in the spotlight for all my hard work to pay off. Graduation day came, and I was so happy. Not just because I would never have to see that school again but because I was leaving that school with the titles of: Officer of the year, Marketing student of the year, Drum Major of the Year, Leader of the year, three years of soccer on my belt, A performing arts scholarship, and A DECA scholarship for any school I want. I had made a huge impact on life and in my school. People looked to me for anything because they new I was the one to count on because of all my hard work.

Walking down that graduation line, I saw my parents and my mother crying. Her babies were graduating. When we got home from the graduation my mother gave me the biggest hug and told me these words, “I told you mama, hard work will pay off in the end. I’m so proud of you”. Those words I heard the rest of the night. From my teachers and family. Everyone was happy and so proud of me because I always did what my mother told me, “Hard work will pay off”. It did, for my mother and me.