I Met A Woman...
I love people and love to people watch. I was at the Laundromat the other night and a woman was doing about 6 loads of laundry. Her kids were there, ages 4, 6 and 7. She was clearly in charge and when she spoke, they listened but of course played like kids after a few minutes. She never screamed but gave out orders with the tone of a drill Sargent and a look in her eyes that had me thinking I wouldn't want to cross her. I thought she may have been too harsh with them but I continued my exciting evening with the washing machines. I passed her and she offered me her dryers that still had time left on the meter. We started to talk and her voice changed. She was a soft woman who clearly loved her kids but knew when to rise to the occasion. She expressed how tired she was. Here was a mom who started her 1st shift at 12 midnight cleaning offices. She got off at 8 am, went home to get everyone off to school and started her next job at 10 am. Her name was Aisha and tonight she wasn't cooking, they would all have pizza. She didn't like pizza but everyone would eat; she confessed she'd make a salad too. She did tell me she has a home cooked dinner on the table 5 out of 7 nights every week. I got tired just hearing her schedule. I can't say whether or not she's happy with her life but she accepts it, does what has to be done and her children will be able to carve their own way through life, one day. She is resilient, strong and unstoppable.
I left work one night last week and went underground to wait for the train. And of course, I'm looking around and struck up a conversation with another woman, Lan. Lan works as a computer programmer from 9 - 6 every day and was on her way to visit her mom in Queens. Her mom had Alzheimer’s and lived at home with an attendant. Lan was going to do grocery shopping at a couple of stores in her mom’s neighborhood to buy things mom liked. Eating was challenging and Lan was determined she would eat. She did this 3 times a week and made numerous phone calls to mom every day. This wasn't a chore for Lan. She loved her mom and that was her driving force. Love is so powerful! She told me her mom knew when she was there and was visibly excited. Lan would always make the trips after work. I asked her how she handled time for herself, as there were only 24 hours in a day. She explained when you love some one, you do anything for them not because you have to but because you want to. She also said her friends were a great source of strength and they made time to get together.
I have to say, women knock me out with their wonderful stories. Whatever you want to call it, persistence, determination, tenacity, it comes down to hanging in through the challenges and bumps we encounter. Believe in yourself and know whatever challenges life brings, you will be okay. We've been through the roller coaster ride before AND we've survived. And we'll continue to live because there's a heartbeat. Oh yes, we fall apart, pick ourselves up and keep moving forward, again.
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