As time passed in their lives and in their relationship, they could look back and see how they built each other up, and in doing so, built a strong family with confident kids.
My parents brought their individual talents and God-given gifts, and made us into a unit- a well-oiled machine that ran on fundamental principals.
Both lived by Love, Compassion, Discipline and Loyalty. These were the ideals that they had in common.
My Mom was the Spiritual rock of the family who taught us to find God inside of ourselves. This was essential because we are a blended family. My mom and I are Puerto Rican. My [step} Dad was born in Ireland, Irish from grandma's side and German-Russian from grandpa's side. He was also Jewish and my mother is Christian.
Rather than either of them converting, they taught us both and let us decide if and what we wanted to practice as we grew up. I gravitated toward Christianity and worship with Abuela, Mamita. My brother, gravitated toward my Dad's Jewish roots, and now practices Judaism as an adult.
You can imagine that growing up in my home as a kid in the Bronx, NY was interesting and fun. There was never a dull moment. On one side of the apartment mom talking to us in Spanglish, "Mira! Cierra la window!" and then you had my Dad singing Yiddish songs. We tried our best to observe and learn about our family's traditions.
My Mom is also very detail-oriented and determined. I remember being in the fourth grade and doing my homework on the dining room table so that I could be close to her while she cooked in the kitchen. Now, you have to know that I absolutely despise Math and I always have. I used to tell my mom all the time how after college, I would never need this type of math again. A bit of irony that I end up in a career that encapsulates finance and math. A whole lot of math. As always, my Mom was right.
This particular evening, I was doing division examples for math homework. My mom would walk by every so often. I would say about 4 different times she asked me to write neater and to align the columns. She also asked me to stop erasing on the paper so much, causing it to smudge. I didn't listen. On the fifth time that she walked by to check on me, she took my paper, crumbled it in her hand and walked away with it. "Start over." she said, and I knew by the look on her eye that it was no time to argue. I was hurt, upset and confused because I'd worked so hard on it, and it wasn't easy for me. When I asked my mother why she'd done that she said, "At the top of that paper, you had written your name. I want you to learn to take pride in that name. In life, when you put your name on something always make sure that it's your best work and worthy of carrying your name."
Another mom-moment was when I was in a panic about making it into a specialized high school. The entrance exam was known to be very difficult, even for straight-A students like me. My Dad had cautioned me, "You've grown up being a big fish in a little pond, if you go to that school you will become a big fish in an ocean. Can you do it without losing yourself and who you are? You have to make that choice."
What my mom said next, impacted me for life. We were in Alexander's Department store on Fordham Road, in the Bronx. She could tell how nervous and anxious I was about the upcoming exam. As we were descending on an escalator, my mom looked softly at me and asked, "How many kids go to that school right now?"
"About 2,500." I answered in despair.
My mom sharpened her gaze at me and asked, "Well, if 2,500 kids passed the exam and made it in, what makes them different than you?"
From my Dad, we learned to be practical, pragmatic, plan ahead, to laugh (sometimes at ourselves) and to be very organized. None of these were in my nature, and I had to dedicate myself to learning these skills.
By nature I am chaotic and impulsive. Anyone who knows me for the past ten years or so would disagree with that statement, but what they fail to see is that I had to work so hard and commit myself to learning discipline and to be practical. Motherhood has a way of speeding up those lessons.
As a couple, my Mom and Dad had many encouraging conversations and moments of inspiration. Many of those moments my brother and I were never privy to. What we did see was their individual growth over time. As adults, we can appreciate all of it as we look back on our family and on who they were as people.
A man said this to me recently, "Iron sharpens iron." He was making the point that a woman and a man have the potential to build each other and help take each other to previously unreached horizons. I do agree with that. I grew up seeing it and watching that unfold.
As a woman, I believe that both people have to get to a place where you can be open and vulnerable to each other, enough to let your partner support and help build you up. If you are unable to be vulnerable, if something holds you back, then you are unable to become a team.
noun: team; plural noun: teams
- two or more people working together
|synonyms:||join (forces), collaborate, get together, work together;|
As a single woman, I hear a lot of my married friends vent and I can compare it to my own personal experiences. What I have learned is this, in order for iron to sharpen iron, you cannot be afraid of how sharp the sword..
What you have to gain is an army of two, a protector, loyalty and Love. You just have to be willing to be open and to walk in Truth.
Sure, death feels imminent, but so does eternal life because as we grow older we realize that there is only eternal life, in the freedom of loving and being loved.
... And so shall one man and one woman sharpen each other.
|In order to achieve our potential, we cannot do it alone, and must be willing to endure and withstand intensity.|