18 August 2012

you can do it, too

In the past 18 years of my life, I've never heard my mom vent to anybody. Not to myself, not to my dad, not to my grandparents, or even to her sisters. Having never witnessed this, it always made her seem like a very collected person, a trait that others may apply to myself upon first meeting me.

Today we went to Ikea with my aunt, her sister, with whom we are very intimate with as a family. On the hour-long drive to Red Hook, I heard my mom freely expressing her thoughts for the very first time. It seemed that she was just simply venting to her sister and I even wondered if she forgot I was there. But you know what? It scared me a little. Listening to her problems was a little intimidating because it stirred a slight sense of instability in our family. 

From what I heard today, I learned that she's a small person who thinks big although she doesn't realize it yet. She concocts big plans for the future, but what I've realized is that all she needs is a really big push. Although she thinks "big," she has a lot pulling her back: two high schoolers who still need some growing up to do, a husband who has trouble listening and actively responding, in-laws who have health issues, and college tuition for four years so that I can be well educated. She's tethered to all these things and they're holding her back.

Here's what I've realized: almost all of the time, she is at least financially, mentally, or sometimes physically stressed. But as her daughter, it is my job to help her accomplish things. For example, even though she's incredibly inclined to sell our house and move, she knows that it's difficult to relocate 7 people within reason and that no buyer in their right mind would buy our house as is. Sixty years of wear and tear can really depreciate a home even though its value in our particular neighborhood has appreciated over the years. Thus, she's learned that in order to prepare for the day she has the chance to sell, she has to do what she can to fix up the place. That's when I figured it out. The best way for me to contribute is to help her along the way and to instill confidence. As soon as I can, I plan to help her "buy" a new kitchen. Now, I know that kitchens can be extremely expensive, but all I need to do is help her along the way as much as I can. First we can start with a new refrigerator to replace the one we've had for as long as I can remember. After that, the cabinets need to be replaced, then we can lay new tiling on the floors and walls. See, all it really takes are small steps because like everything else, they will accumulate to something big.

I'm not particularly sure what I wanted to accomplish with this post, but I hope you all have found some inspiration in what I've shared. What you do doesn't have to apply to your family or any personal issues, but all it takes are some little steps along the way. That, and the confidence and ambition to accomplish great things because you know what? You can do it.

My final piece of wisdom: be the most supportive person you can be, to everyone you know.


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