By Deana Mack
This was an entry in the 2012 ‘Who Inspires You’ contest
The year was 1973 and I was a shy, seven years old. I had just received my first and only Barbie doll. She had one outfit. I went outside to play with some of the neighborhood girls, toting along my Barbie that I was so proud of. We lived in a tiny little house with one large bedroom for a family of five. My parents barely made enough money to pay the rent at that time, so any toys we had were held in high regard, and very valued. That Barbie meant a lot to me at age seven.
I entered my group of friends with all the pride in the world, feeling I was now special with my new Barbie doll. In a matter of minutes, I discovered that all the other girls had quite a few Barbie dolls, not just one, and they also had Ken dolls, Barbie campers – it seemed like the entire Barbie world was at their disposal. My one little Barbie doll was insignificant and that was exactly how I felt as well. My “special” feeling vanished instantly.
I remember coming home to my mom crying about the experience of only having one doll and one outfit. She listened attentively and I could see the look of anguish on her face as her eyes welled up with tears, also. She never went to bed that night, even though she had to be to work at 6:00 am. She spent all night long sewing & making me outfits for my Barbie. She also managed to crochet some outfits as well. I woke up in the morning to find all these little Barbie outfits by the side of my bed. They were sewn & crocheted so well, they looked like she had purchased them at the store.
This story is only one tiny example of how my mother, Janice Pierce, has inspired me, and continues to inspire me every day. She has always been a shining example of self-sacrifice to meet the needs of her children.
A girl has one irreplaceable mother who conveys her first lessons in womanhood. Whether she embraces or rejects those lessons, chances are she’ll yearn all her life for the tidal force of her mother’s love and the comfort of her mother’s approval.
My mother is my inspiration not because of the heroic deeds she has done, it is more about the kind of mother and human being she is. She created an environment for her children that was stimulating, passed on a sense of responsibility to all of us, and raised us to have a deep compassion for all human beings. She made us truly understand that you need to be kind to everyone because everyone is fighting some sort of battle inside.
My mother has always been my best friend. As I reflect upon my own parenting skills and the similarities between us, the one thing that stands out is that my mother had the ability to be my biggest cheerleader. Although the same holds true for myself, I feel like I am constantly worrying about my kids and trying to protect them from their own mistakes.
My mother had the ability to be my mentor as well. She let me figure out most things on my own, draw my own conclusions, and stood on the sidelines in case I needed her. She was able to light the way by sharing her life experiences with me, rather than being too eager to protect me. She loved us kids unconditionally, but made sure we understood that the rest of the world wouldn’t.
The other amazing thing about my mother is her resiliency. She always had the most uncanny ability to stay upbeat and optimistic no matter what she was going through in life. She radiated faith in the redemptive power of positive thinking that everything could be fixed, worked out, and be okay. She conveyed this art to me as well. Because of this, she gifted me with the ability to constantly try to rise above circumstances that were not always the best. I can still hear my mother’s words resonating in my head, “you are not your circumstances.”
I once read that when a child’s mother enters a room, that child is unconsciously asking herself, ‘Do my mom’s eyes light up when they see me? Do they think I matter?’ I think that holds true of adult children as well. Another reason my mom is my inspiration is that her eyes do more than light up when her children enter the room – they sparkle and radiate so much raw love. I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is. My mother, Janice Pierce, continues to be my greatest spiritual teacher and is truly my inspiration. She is my Inspired Woman.
Deana Mack is the Business Office Manager at St Alexius Heart & Lung & a wanna-be writer. She is a wife, daughter, sister, & mother of 2 boys – Sam (age 15) & Jack (age 12).