One of the main reasons I started this blog was because I felt that my mother’s amazing contributions were not sufficiently recognized. Taking care of a blind son, raising two other children, being a good wife, and running our household didn’t leave a lot of time for career building. Over the years I watched her struggle with the fact that she did not have a career despite the fact that she had so much to offer.
Why my mother is so unique?
My mother bestowed upon me the ‘gift of gab’, as she would call it. I can safely say I’ve chatted in the thousands. Still, I have never met anyone like her. Even as a little cherub, I knew she had plenty to contribute. She had countless original vegetarian recipes, including the experience of raising her kids on whole wheat this and carob that. She raised a blind son working tirelessly to make sure his childhood was full of activity. She stayed up late helping him with his homework and drove him all over the state–piano lessons, play dates, the fitness center, baseball games. She treated her cancer with alternative medicine and outlived her prognosis by 10 years, all while correcting my grammar, lecturing me about the importance of education, being green (before it was called being green), and perfecting a dairy-free pie crust for my intolerance of the lactose!
My Mother’s Greatest Fear
My mother would say she didn’t have anything unique to offer. I told her to write a book about her journey. My mother having read everything insisted it had all been done before. The one business she did try was teaching health food cooking classes about 12 years ago, perhaps a little before its time.
Many of the participants were cancer survivors looking to learn how to change their lifestyles, which sounds depressing, but was far from it. She had a way of cheerfully explaining how something essential like maintaining a healthy diet could be simple and fun. I can still see her red lipstick and her white apron that said ‘Market Forge’ in bright red letters. Market Forge was a company my dad had worked for. Thinking back on it, the branding kind of fit her high-energy repertoire. People in our community loved the classes and the health food column she started writing in the local paper. Sadly the venture only latest a few years. The revenue just wasn’t there.
What should I be when I grow up?
Now that I find myself in a similar way, I’m Mamaless. I lost my job. A lot of that could be attributed to having a relationship with someone I worked with and even more of it could have been my general restless disinterest in what my lot there had become, but what if it was just because I suck? They went with economy. Although I secretly prayed to be released from my corporate cubicle and at the time welcomed the challenge of endless possibilities, now six weeks later I am starting to relate to my mother’s sentiments. I have nothing to offer! I want to be a freelance writer. My rational brain has checked out every library book on this topic. My emotional brain is standing on the ledge waiting to dive in.
What would Mama Alice say?
I’m currently reading The Romantic Manifesto about the nature of art by Ayn Rand. In it, she postulates human beings don’t have the cognitive capacity to understand several concepts at once but by drawing on a work of art one can identify proper application in the wake of a dilemma. To give an example, you could think of a literary character or a prominent figure when you need to make a decision, or in this case I would call on what my mother’s character. So I pose the question ‘What would Mama Alice do?’ Through deep contemplation I came to this–She’d jump right in! She would research how to start a freelance writing business right along side me, come up with possible opportunities and help me come up with a strategy for success. Blerg! Now I have to get crackin’ to avoid terminal chumperie. Wish me luck!