Sunday, May 8, 2011

Three Cheers for Mom!

Any resemblance?
Jesus loved his mama. When he was dying on the cross he looked at his bff John, who was standing with his mom and said, "Behold your mother." He looked at his mom and said (referring to John), "Behold your son." In those days, a woman needed a man to take care of her (I still rely on my man, but don't tell the feminazi club I used to be a part of). When Jesus died, Mary would've been left alone, and as a woman, unemployed. What would she do? Her sweet son Jesus, though in agony, thought of her and took care of it. Jesus took time to honor his mom. In an attempt to honor my mom I nominated her for the Washington State University's Mom of the Year award. She got 2nd runner up! That came with a lovely plaque, a basket full of mom-themed goodies, a public announcement at the Mom's Weekend brunch, and most importantly, tears of joy from my mama. A few words about the amazing life she leads were all it took to honor her. Here is what I said about Jill Massa:

1. Share with us 3 reasons your mom deserves this award.

What does it take to effectively run an elementary school, be a mom, and maintain sanity along the way? Just ask my mom, Jill Massa. Her life revolves around "her kids." That includes me, my 3 siblings and about 500 other children in her low-income school who don't always receive love and care in their own homes. My siblings and I aren't the only ones who she puts so much time and effort into nurturing. As a principal, my mom goes the extra distance. She has been elected president of the Elementary Principal's Association, and the Distinguished Principal for the Columbia Basin region. She could easily find a job at a higher-paying, easier-to-deal-with school. Yet she chooses to work where she does because she knows it is so important. I've seen her spend one-on-one time with kids. They always leave her office knowing that somebody believes in them, and wants them to do something with their life. When kids leave their home hungry, Mom shares with them from her snack drawer. When kids go out to recess cold, Mom provides them with coats, gloves, and hats. When a kid is labeled off as "gang-banger" Mom sees them as valuable and full of potential. All the things she does for me, she does for the many little lives that pass through her school every day.

My Mom lays her life down daily--so that my life, and our family can be lifted up. Mom eats the burnt toast. She gives up her window seat on the airplane so that one of the kids can have it. She pours her salary into elevating my family's dreams and ambitions. She has taught me how to love and how to serve. It might have been months since my mom has gotten a new outfit, but she will make sure that my sister gets her prom dress, and my brother his wrestling team sweatshirt. If any of us has a problem she doesn't hesitate to drop what she's doing to rush to our aid. Even if it means staying up until the wee hours of the morning doing laundry, she makes sure we all have something to wear that day. Some people say being a working mom is like having 2 jobs. I would argue that my mom works at least six. She could open a taxi service, Laundromat, cleaning business--and be a counselor, nurse, and principal to boot.

We overcame a lot of adversity to get where we are now. It's nothing unusual, these days, to be part of a broken family. At least fifty percent of the population can say that. But that doesn't change the hurt and hardship it causes. When my dad divorced my mom, she was left to raise me (age five) and my sister (who she was pregnant with) as a single mom. Along with the help of the many people in our community who love her, Mom worked hard to give us the best life possible--regardless of these painful circumstances. A few years later, Mom met my step dad, Tony. Tony made our lives easier and better. He loved my mom, and he loved us like we were his. When they were married, we added Joey (my step brother) and Connor (my half brother) to the family. Integrating a mixed family is tough, despite what the Brady Bunch might lead you to believe. You have to be sensitive towards feelings of favoritism. You have to choose to love everyone equally. You have to mix two separate family styles together. Through all of this, Mom has made each one of my siblings feel valued and loved unconditionally and relentlessly.

2. What was the best advice your mother ever gave you?

The best advice my mother ever gave me: was to believe in myself. This is a personal area of struggle, partly due to wounds from when my father left us. I can remember countless times when she sat at the edge of my bed comforting me as I cried. She'd bring me a glass of tea and stay by my side with listening ears. When I feel worthless she tells me that God created me uniquely and beautifully. When I wonder if I have anything to offer she tells me what she loves about me. When I think I should just give up she helps me find the strength to keep pressing on towards my dreams. We tear up when we hear the song that says, "Let my love give you roots and help you find your wings." This is because I know that it was my mom rooting me in words of kindness and acts of love that helped me find the ability to fly, despite my brokenness.

3. How has the community benefitted from your mom's involvement?

The community of Warden Washington has been largely impacted by my parents. Not only does my mom give so much extra time to the children as principal, but she is also highly involved in the community. If there is an event that supports students, you can count on the Massa family to be there. Each year, they donate hundreds of dollars to the high school Jazz band. They attend all band and choir performances. Mom helps supervise at sporting events. My parents have taken a special interest in the wrestling team. They know how it changed my life, and my brothers life while we were on the team. Mom drives all across the state to support the growing women's wrestling program. At times, she is their only fan. She and my dad stay up late making breakfast burritos to give to the boys and girls teams for tournaments, free of charge. Her voice stands out amongst the crowd as she cheers them on to victory. My parents even paid for one girl's entire wrestling camp entrance fee. Mom is also an advocate for those that can't stand up for themselves at school board meetings. There is nothing she won't do to help a Warden student to succeed.

4. How would your mother react to winning this award?

Through tears of gratitude, she would say that she feels humbled. After giving the credit to everyone but herself for all her hard work, she would thank me. She would say that loving my siblings and I was easy, because we are loveable--just like she's told me several times throughout my life. Motherhood, and being a principal can be thankless jobs. In fact, she probably gets more complaints than praise in either case. At times she wonders if what she's doing is making a difference at all. But that's just it--she is changing the world! My mom would feel so honored to be recognized with an award that she truly deserves.

How do you honor your mom?  Or, moms, what makes you feel honored?

1 comment:

Mindy said...

Chelsea, What wonderful words to express the love of your mother. How blessed are you both!

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