I begrudgingly worked for a prominent insurance company for 2 years. It had highs and lows. I was taking a gap year from Stony Brook University. However, in my twenties we didn’t call it a “gap year.” There was no cute term for leaving school or taking a break from school. I was tired of working 3 jobs and being a “broke college student” so I chased the money and I chose the industry that my mother worked in. I liked the company when I first started but as time passed it became stale. The main attraction to the position was the money I was making and the annual profit share. On another note, I was in a relationship and admittedly I was more focused on that. Young and dumb, the man I was with at the time had a driving restriction. Trying to literally be a “ryde or die,” I would pick him up in the mornings and bring him to work on my way to my job. Some mornings it was pretty tight trying to get us both to corporate positions that both carried a dependability clause. That basically means…”If you can’t get your ass to work on time, you’re fired.” I was on a written warning and on a rainy day/snooze my alarm 2-3 times day/traffic/ can’t find a parking space day, I arrived to work a critical 9 minutes late. Well, it took a few weeks to notice but shortly after presenting me with an award for my call quality and after receiving a congratulatory email from my supervisor for being a “team player” I was called into the main conference room. I remember feeling incredibly calm. My supervisor and my manager told me they had no choice but to “part our professional ways.” They asked if I had any questions and I told them I didn’t. I stood and shook their hands and wished them both an early Happy Mothers Day.
My mother isn’t big on “Hallmark holidays.” Yet, being fired for the first time seemed more of a failure because it happened the Friday before Mother’s Day. How in the hell was I going to tell her? My parents got divorced my freshman year in college. When I left school, I moved back home with my mother and baby sister. We would lean on one another a lot. We sometimes would affectionately call our trio “The Three Musketeers.” It had highs and lows. This was going to be a low. My mom was reliable and responsible. She was learning how to fit into a fairly new role. I was supposed to be a help and not a hindrance. I felt guilty, careless, and ashamed. So I chose to omit my termination.
This is where there is some pixelation in my memory reel. I don’t remember how my mother found out I was no longer working but she did. What I do remember is her acceptance. I remember her reminder that this was a temporary setback and I would quickly find something else. She didn’t remind me of all the sacrifices she made for my sister and I. She didn’t shove private school bills in my face. She definitely didn’t tell me I ruined her Mother’s Day. She simply moved on. Many of us can forgive but forgetting is the true challenge. Many of us try to provide everything our children want and need but we have a cerebral calculation of every dime spent and every minute served. Parenting is about highs and lows.
Thank you to a mother that came to every concert. Thank you for buying patterns and sewing Halloween costumes and dance costumes. Thank you for exposing me to Broadway plays. Thank you for a standing hair appointment beginning at age 3. Thank you for the lows too. You taught me how to survive them. How to be strong. How to pray before I speak. How to think with my heart and ignore the noise. How to ask for help. How to try to come to terms with the things I cannot change and still don’t fully understand. Thank you, Mom, every day.
By: Shaun Liriano