Happy Mother’s Day, Mema!

Mema

My mom is an angel now. She left us about four years ago. As I reflect upon how she prepared me for life, I am filled with gratitude. I wish you had known her. She was filled with joy and sunshine. She was incredibly feisty and laughed easily.

She taught me to face life and the many challenges you encounter along the way. Although she believed that she should submit to her husband, she often whispered to me as we washed dishes together, “Connie, you go get your education. This way you can make your own decisions about the kind of life you will live. You do not need to always be at the beck and call of a man.”

My mother was a Mexican-American migrant farm worker. She often cleaned offices and the homes for the parents of my classmates. I was quite embarrassed at our lowly station in life. She taught me how to clean toilets properly. As we cleaned the toilets, she taught me the value of how to excel at whatever you do. To just do a good job cleaning the toilets was not enough.

My mother taught me that we must exceed expectations and leave these toilets so sparkling clean that they would be the envy of anyone who saw and used them. She taught me I must always do any job that I took on with the utmost care and diligence. To not leave the toilet sparkling was simply unthinkable.

I remembered this value as I cared for my multimillion dollar clients in the corporate world many years later. I always took care of them in such a manner that their company using our services would be the envy of all of their competitors.

My mom was very social. She drove me nuts. I could not walk downstairs in our modest home, without encountering a multitude of her friends. It did not matter what time of day it was. My mom had an open door policy, the door was never locked, and our friends and neighbors would walk in and make themselves at home. They knew they would be welcomed and would benefit from my mother’s love of cooking.

Sometimes, we do the opposite of our parents. I do not cook and I tend to be a very private person at home. It is rare that I invite anyone inside. However, I did observe my mom and learned how she made others feel welcome. I always put this skill to work when I go to business networking events. I am often told people gravitate toward me and that I light up a room with my presence. I smile inside because I am applying the lessons I learned from my mother.

To my mother, who is now an angel in heaven, I simply want to say, “Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day, Mema!”

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