I feel like I write often about my mother, but I realize that while I mention her in several posts and discussions, I don't write about her exactly. Again, it demonstrates my ungratefulness. While she has been the best mother to us, I have been a wayward son. Still, my moms imparted mad life lessons. Some of these lessons come to the surface after decades of forgetfulness.
The other day, my sister told me how my mother used to be so afraid for me. I don't remember this but my mother explained to her that as a 4 and 5 year old, I used to ask strangers all kinds of questions. I always remembered being shy when I was with my peers so this part I cannot fathom. My mother got that I couldn't sit still. Heck, I still can't. She was just so worried that something might happen to me for always asking questions. She really couldn't figure out what to do. I asked her about this the other day and she confirmed that she was worried that I questioned so much.
Then she learned I could read at around 4. I do remember her taking me to get a library card at age 6. Money was tight but if I wanted a book or a comic book, my mom got it for me. If I wanted to go to the library, I could go. Anywhere else, she was real strict about it because she knew I would hop on the train and visit another borough. If I had a book in my hand though, I wasn't going nowhere. One day I visited my mother and stayed at her apartment to read and she was so happy.
Of course my mother understood the long term effects of her plan. The question I never posed to her was why? Here she is a woman who grew up on a farm with no running water who never finished elementary school who understood that self knowledge was important. She couldn't even speak a word of english back then. Where did she get that idea? Don't get me wrong, most people know that education is one key to higher social mobility. The thing is my mother was on me more about grades. She really wanted me to read on my own. During the summers, she insisted that we should continue to educate ourselves. And that we did.
So my mother is not just a community worker she is a visionary. Who would have known that we would have grown up and pass this knowledge on to our children? Here is this little Dominican woman who always held it down on so many levels but made sure that we had window to the world on our laps!
If I had a spoonful of her determination, I would be happy....