I wrote this in November of 2007. The hosting site crashed and lost the post so I am re-posting it here because it's a good little story and I am a lazy ass. Also, The Gorgeous Blonde comes home tomorrow so don't expect much.
I met a little Mexican spitfire of a woman the other day. A mother of two boys.
I was helping her carry boxes to her car and I said, “I hope you have someone to help you with these when you get home.” She smiled and said, “I have two teenage boys at home to help me. The oldest is nineteen and my mijito is seventeen.”
“They’re always asking for money, those two. ‘Mama, I need money for prom,’ my youngest said to me the other day. I said, ‘I need the garage cleaned, the weeds pulled, the lawn fertilized and the kitchen floor waxed.’ I said to him.”
She looked at me and shaking her head and smiling. “My boys have known me their whole lives and they still act surprised when I tell them they have to earn what money I give them.”
By this time I had spent a grand total of ten minutes with this woman and I already loved her. I wondered if her boys knew how blessed they were.
She went on, “My oldest wants money to go to a football game next weekend. Ha! ‘Okay mijo,’ I said to him. ‘Get the laundry done and folded, take out the trash, and sweep the driveway,’ I said to him.”
I chuckled and thought about my old man. He wasn’t too different from her. I got nothing for nothing in his house.
“My husband tells me sometimes, ‘vieja, you’re too hard on these boys.’” She stopped, grabbed my arm and looked me dead in the eyes and said, “It’s not my job to be easy on them. I’m a teacher; it’s my job to prepare them for life out there,” she said as she nodded over my shoulder and towards the horizon. She let go of my arm and we continued walking towards her car.
“My oldest says to me, ‘Mama, I’m sick and you still make me work.’”
“He has leukemia,” she said to me. “But life doesn’t stop just because he’s sick. So he doesn’t get to stop either just because he’s sick.”
I admired her and hurt for her all at once. It wasn’t pity. Pity is for the pitiful; she was anything but. She was strong. Strong enough to keep fighting for her boy. Strong enough to keep him fighting.
When we got her car she said, “He has one more treatment to go. Then he’ll be fine. He’s just trying to pull one over on me, but I know. I know.”
She sighed and I finally realized how tired she was. “He’s going to be fine. I would do him a disservice letting him get away with doing nothing just because his life is a little hard right now.” I said, “you’re right. You are absolutely right.” I don’t know why I said that.
I finished loading her car and she took my hand and thanked me. I stood there in awe of her.
I don’t even know her name. I doubt that I will ever see her again. But I know that she’s made an indelible mark on me.