See the laughing woman in the pink right in the middle? That's my Mom. She's quite literally the most amazing woman on this planet and she deserves every moment of joy and belly laughs like this one in the world. This photo was taken on Monday at her retirement luncheon, and the expression on her face truly shows just how much she loved her career and the people she has worked with for years on end. She will be finishing her last day as a Guidance Counselor for the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy of Pittsburgh Public Schools on June 22nd and she deserves all of the accolades and celebration that she has coming her way.
My Mom didn't know I was going to be at this luncheon so surprising her was my favorite part of the day. She thought I was going to be in Boston for work, but fortunately that trip was cancelled, so I was able to walk right up to her as she started to cry of excitement. I wouldn't have missed this celebration for the world because my Mom's career story is truly remarkable, and the accomplishment of retiring was no easy journey or feat for her.
My Mom started her working life shortly after high school. She wasn't college educated so for nearly 20 years she worked secretarial and clerk jobs at the local hospital library. Even then she was defying the odds because she is Epileptic and suffered sever seizures very frequently. Still she didn't let fear hold her back and she worked 40-50 hour weeks, utilized public transportation, and proved to everyone around her that there were no limits to her tenacity. As she was working through her 20s and 30s her and my Dad tried tirelessly to have children. They wanted to be parents and they wanted to grow their family, but unfortunately this was extremely difficult. My Mom and Dad tried for 20 years to have a baby and utilized all of the various measures out there to make this a reality. Finally, after having stopped trying, at age 40 my Mom got pregnant with me. Seven months later I came into the world kicking and screaming.
Becoming a Mom ignited a fire in my Mom that was unstoppable. She had achieved her passion of becoming a Mother and wanted to fulfill her other passion of being a working-career Mom and influencing the lives of not just her child, but other children. At age 42 my Mom started her college education and was able to obtain her Bachelor's, Master's, and certificates to be a certified school counselor. She was able to finish all of this in 9 years and began her career at Pittsburgh Public schools at age 50.
Now that I've laid that out, let's talk about just how miraculous she is for accomplishing that. A brand new Mom that tried for years to have a baby finally became a Mom and made the time to take night and weekend classes, study, and fulfill her dreams all while raising a baby and making sure I had the best possible life imaginable. I never remember my Mom not being there because she managed her time in a way that made all of those accomplishments look easy. She became more educated between the ages of 40 and 50 than most people do in their lifetime all while having an infant and small child. I never was without anything, and my Mom made sure of it. I wasn't necessarily spoiled in a material sense, but I was spoiled with love, affection, and the model my Mom set for me to chase my dreams showing that anything is possible.
At age 50 my mom started her career in Pittsburgh Public Schools working in a rather tough high school where she influenced the lives of countless individuals. Although new to the district, she was so influential and talented at her job that she was selected from a very competitive applicant pool to be the Counselor for a new magnet school that was opening. She served in that role at Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy for the past 10 years and will be retiring as the one that shaped and molded the beginning years of the schools development. Not only do her accomplishments look great on paper, she is talked highly of by every peer, boss, student, and colleague that she has ever crossed paths with.
My Mom is truly the most amazing woman there is and I am so proud of all that she has accomplished. I cannot wait to celebrate her retirement over the next couple of weeks, but selfishly I cannot wait that she will not have more and more free time to spend with me. Congrats to my Mom, and job well done!