1/30/10

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, and off to work we go!!!

I come from a family of hard workers. My mom has been a housekeeper for 31 years. When I was a young teen I remember going with her to work and helping her fold clothes, wash dishes, scrub bathrooms. etc. In the summers, while other teens were out at the movies, I was helping her collect beer bottles after a big parties at her job, or making beds after beds that were not mine. We always had a good time together talking, telling stories while making everything beautiful through our work. There was nothing my mom could not do and I mean nothing. Even now that she is 62 she still has more strength and more positive attitude than most twenty-year old out there doing the same job.

During their newest house renovations I noticed she had a new couch. It was one of those that make-it-around-the-corner couches that come in 3 heavy parts and she told me she not only loaded it in the car herself, but also carried it up the steps to the house. She is 62 and small framed, plus she has a bad back. When I asked her why she did not wait for my step-dad to get home, she said she was excited to get the house in order and was not about to wait for him.

My mom married a man who also is a hard worker. Just yesterday I called and asked how they were doing. My step-dad does construction and he often has to drive 2-3 hours one way to work. They were both in bed healing from a tough week. He apparently has a contract to tile 40 bathrooms. He has been on his knees all week long and had completed only 10 bathrooms so far. According to my mom his back was "mush". The amazing thing about my step-dad is that you will never hear one complaint out if his mouth. I would even go as far as to say he loves his job. Both him and my mom are always happy and joking while together and you'd never know the amount of physical work they put i weekly.

In this economy, one cannot afford to not like work. When people in social circles share their fears of losing their jobs I often realize I am not worried. Not because I am not worried I could lose my job. It very well might happen to me too; no one is immune from possibly losing their jobs these days. But in my gut I am not worried because I do not fear or hate work. If push comes to shove I'll change diapers, I'll clean toilets, I'll work at McDonald's, no problem. What I do for a living does not describe the totality of me....but how I do it does.

While a less enlightened me years back might have been embarrassed to say my mom is a housekeeper. I am most proud to have such a mom with such positive attitudes towards work and life in general. Aside from all the degrees, inside me runs the blood of Latino immigrants who come to this country for a better life and work less-desirable jobs with a smile on their faces.

At my job there is a lady who reminds me a lot of my mother. No job is too small for her. During a recent snowstorm I found her shoveling a foot-width path for 3 blocks around the school with the help of her young daughter. Luckily, her husband, who does not work there, but knows how to use the blower, showed up with the machine to finish the job. For anyone who has ever shoveled snow, this was a HUGE job......and here was a family getting it done with a smile on their faces......(picture below is my coworker, her husband and daughter after the storm, they've been shoveling since 9am and it was then 1pm.)

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