I think whenever one chooses a career, there is always some catalyst, some driving force or inspiration that begets that goal. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted lots of kids, and I wanted to be a mom. My mom’s sister, Lucy is a Franciscan nun, and she used to tell me all the time... ”The Lord wants you … he is praying for you, he is coming for you.” I was like, uh, no thank you. As Catholic as we were, the convent was not for me.
The greatest love ever shown to me was by my mother. I am not sure if it was innate motherly instinct, but no matter how many times I faltered, just like Simon of Cyrene, she was there to pick me up and get me back on the path. I am sure it wasn’t easy sometimes, but she was fair, gentle, and most importantly, her love was unconditional. She was a rock, a refuge, a safety net never to be duplicated again in my life.
When my mother died from a second bout of breast cancer in 1996, I was a brand new mom, and my dream of sharing my children with her, having lattes at the mall, having her pick up my kids from school, cook for us, travel with us, were gone in an instant. I would now spend the rest of my life painting her picture to my children who would never know her. It is heartbreaking to this day, and unless you have felt that loss, it is not a tangible one.
My father was a fabulous man, a breadwinner, hard worker who wished and wanted nothing more than to care and provide for his family. He is, I feel, a lost breed. He was not without flaw, but his insatiable drive and innate ability to always do the right thing at the right time was a gift, not easily duplicated. It was though this unstoppable, incessant need to always be better, that he created one of the most successful travel businesses in the world. He reaped the benefits of his success, but more importantly, and his goal, so did his family.
It was my both my parents who carved a silhouette of who I wanted to be. I harbor traits from both and their ability to allow me to grow and fall and eventually create my own destiny by recognizing who I was, strengths and weaknesses, allowed me to love what I do, and that is being a mom.
My parents gift to me was nothing more than, just that … parenting and guiding. Sometimes it isn’t easy, but that is the most powerful and important thing we can ever give our children. Thank you.
As it appeared in 201 Magazine - Month, Year - written by Linda Perillo