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Mamma Used To Say...
Mamma always told us to "get an education, because," mamma would say in her gentle, liquid timber voice, "it will carry you to a better place in life." Mamma used to say that once we reached that better place, we would feel wonderful about ourselves.
You see, mamma dropped out of college due to financial difficulties and our arrival into her life, but she never made us feel bad about that. She just constantly told us how much she would have liked to go further with her education; I guess that was her way of trying to motivate us.
Unfortunately, the reality was that, as much as mamma wanted to see us go beyond her achievements, as all parents do, and we did too, there just wasn't enough money to send all us kids to college back then. Mamma also didn't take into great account that racism had a lot to do with how far you got back in those days, she is such a sweet optimist, but that's for another time.
When I finished high school, I knew then that attending college wasn't in my stars. I wasn't phased though. I knew I would attend at a later time; likely after experiencing life for a bit, working for a few years, making some good money and helping mamma out. What I didn't realize in my youth was that, what I thought would only be a few years, turned into a few decades before I was able to continue my education, but mamma knew that would happen. She tried to tell me so.
Mamma used to say, " child, life has a way of getting ahead of you and throwing you curves." I didn't listen though.
My siblings and I are the first generation in our family to be educated beyond high school, and mamma is so very proud of us.
I'm not ashamed to say, that returning to complete my higher education was very long, quite rewarding yet also so very difficult. The intense fear of interacting with fellow students who were young enough to be my children was frightening; don't ask me why, because in all rationality, I should have felt superior with all my life and work experience, but I didn't.
Tackling the heavy course loads, sitting through lecture after oftentimes boring lectures, cramming for exams and countless, sleepless nights was such a struggle. However, I beamed with pride and immense pleasure every time I ended up on the honour rolls.
Believe you me, wrapping my nimble brain around some of those ambiguous literature concepts took superwoman effort sometimes, but I just kept remembering what mamma used to say, "I never had the opportunities that you children have these days, so don't waste them!" Those words would spur me on and never let me give up, no ma'am.
Now, at the end of all those long, grueling years of studying, I stand tall knowing that I followed through. I fulfilled my promise to myself of returning to school, and I gave mamma her wish of advanced education for all of her children.
When I think about this, I get a feeling of immense achievement that's so powerful, it stops my heart beating for the briefest of seconds. I know now that I will succeed in all I do; doing it my way. I will also pass on this hard-won knowledge to our next generation.
Mamma was my first and still is one of my greatest supporters. As long as she is with me, I can accomplish anything. As mamma still says, "you're a big woman now, but you'll always be my little girl."
Thank you mamma! I love you!
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