I grew up with five brothers and sisters outside of Valparaiso, Ind. My father worked long hours as a tool and diemaker to provide the necessities for us, but there was very little money left over. My mom stayed home to care for us. Her children’s needs always came before her own. When we went on our spring and fall shopping trips to buy an outfit for Easter or the new school year, I can never remember her buying anything for herself. For years, she wore the same winter coat and the same black dress for special occasions. As a child, I didn’t think much about it, but now I recognize the sacrifices she made for all of us. I got my love of learning from my mom, who took us to the public library often and who spent every free moment with her head buried in a book. She didn’t go to college, but she made sure all of her daughters did. My mom is also the person who taught me about giving back–of my time, my talent and my treasure. I have learned most of what I know about mothering my three daughters from this incredible woman, and I am blessed to have her in my life still.
While I cannot begin to compare my experience of growing up in middle-class America with the difficulties our clients face in the developing world, I do see similarities between mothers everywhere. In Uganda earlier this year, I met an Opportunity client who wakes up at 4 a.m. every day to pick produce for her stall in the market. She carries the basket on her head several kilometers to the market where she works until mid-afternoon. She goes back home to tend her garden and care for her children. Then the next morning, she gets up and does it all over again. Our client says that she works these incredibly long, hard hours so that her five children can go to school and have a better future.
This Mother’s Day, honor your mom or another special woman in your life by purchasing a tribute patch on the Opportunity Global Quilt. Visit the virtual quilt at optinnow.org/mothers. Scroll over the patches to read inspiring messages about amazing women. Then, purchase your own tribute patch for only $25. It’s a great way to honor a special woman in your life and help another mother who is working her way out of poverty.
Do you have a special story about your mom that you’d like to share on the Opportunity blog? Please tell us about it in the comment field below.