Mom(s) of the Week: Raising a Dreamer Heather Hopson March 18, 2013 Uncategorized 10 Comments Being a mom is the best –and the hardest–job I’ve ever held. I’ve gained hands-on experience as a carpenter–I’ve assembled everything from play kitchens to revolving bookshelves; as a hair stylist–I’ve mastered intricate braiding techniques on a squeamish one-year-old; as a top chef–I’ve whipped up homemade baby food that made it into my daughter’s stomach and not onto the floor; and as a doctor–I’ve nursed my little one through stomach flu and teething troubles. Although I’m not paid in coins, I’m paid in kisses, which is priceless. The journey through motherhood has led from food stamp lines to lines at the airport. I’ve taken trips to report about other mothers, striving to raise their children without a job, without a husband or without health insurance. One thing they all had was a dream. No matter what their circumstances, they dreamed of a better life for their children–something my parents always told me growing up. My father never took family vacations out of the state, so he said his children would travel the country, and his grandchildren would travel the world. My nephew already has several stamps on his passport! Recently, I met three amazing mothers dreaming something similar, and they encouraged their children to do the same. Quinessa & Jada Miller Two years ago, Quinessa Miller didn’t have a roof to put over her two daughters’ heads. When tough times fell upon them, they became homeless and moved in with their grandmother. The experience sparked a dream in Jada–14-years-old at the time. Jada, believing no one should be in need, decided that she wanted to open a homeless shelter. Jada: In the newspaper, I read that this 18-year-old got turned away from a homeless shelter, because they didn’t have enough beds. I felt like that was wrong. They could have sent her to another place. She’s sleeping on cardboard. I want to build my homeless shelter so that won’t happen. When I was homeless, I felt powerless. I felt useless. Once we got our own place, I gained my power back. That’s my dream, even though some people may say I’m too young. Age is just a number. You can have a dream at any age. Billionaires today started dreaming when they were 13. Quinessa: My foundation is always prayer. I knew homelessness was not a permanent situation. It was a temporary situation. It made me feel horrible. But looking back and understanding now, it was something I had to go through. Somethings, even though you don’t like to go through them, you have to because it’s not always for you. Sometimes it helps someone else. I’m able to encourage someone else. Now my daughter is encouraging others. I feel as if I’ve accomplished what I was supposed to do. Jada: My mom has had a huge impact on me. She’s the one who convinced me to do Disney Dreamers. If it wasn’t for her, I would not be here. She encourages me to do my best and to not give up. She is an inspiration to me. I feel honored to be here. It’s a once and a lifetime opportunity. The best thing so far is the classes. We’re learning how to get to our dream.” Dionne & Aliya Bright Dionne Bright has battled Lupus for more than 20 years. During that time, she has had a kidney transplant, a double hip replacement and countless hospital stays. She also had two children. Although she wasn’t always there for her daughters physically, she showed up mentally. She encouraged them to focus on fun and learning. Despite what she endured, she made sure the kids came first. She also made sure her children dreamed big. This came in the form of actions, just not words. Last year, Dionne graduated from college. Dionne: I try to push Aliya to try anything, even if it was something she was afraid of. She’s a little shy. I told her just to try, you never know what you may find out. You may not like certain things or do well in certain things, but that’s OK. Just pick up and try something else. Be open to difference experiences and possibilities. I expose her to everything. She tried piano, which didn’t work out, so she learned to play the guitar. Aliya: My mom had a huge impact on my life. She had Lupus when she was in college and had to drop out. She went back to school when I was in the third or fourth grade, and she just graded last May. She knew she had to go back and she didn’t let anything stop her. LIke my mom, I have to believe in myself and not let anyone stop me. I must listen to my inner voice. Marthe & Brandon Tanyi Marthe Tanyi came to America with her two sons a decade ago. Before her youngest child Brandon even stepped on U.S. soil, he already had an America dream. He wanted to become a cardiologist to help heal people like his mom, who was diagnosed with myocardial disease–something that could cause heart failure and sudden death. Marthe made a huge sacrifice to travel and to leave her husband behind. A few years later, her husband joined his family, but Brandon continued to take care of his mother. Marthe: I’m very happy for Brandon, because he’s a very good kid. He always takes care of me. When we lived in Cameroon, he would walk for miles to the hospital to pick up my medication. He’s always by my side. When he was younger, people would say he was stubborn, but I knew that wasn’t true. I told them you just have to pull Brandon aside and speak calmly. I never shout at him. Brandon: My mother’s condition made me more responsible. I had to focus on my education and improve my grades. She told me to focus on my school work. I look up to her. She has taught me everything and tries to make me be my best. She has been there my whole life. We left Africa together, before my father came to the United States. I hope to one day go back to my country and help the people there. My mom had heart problems since she was a baby, but the doctors there didn’t diagnose it. Hey DFTM Fam–What obstacle have you overcome on your journey through motherhood? How has you experience made you a stronger, wiser person? 10 Responses Lisa March 24, 2013 It’s always wonderful to hear inspirational stories of loving relationships between parent & child! Keep ‘um coming DOFTM! Reply Bernadette Hudgins March 24, 2013 Wow! What inspirational stories. I think it is important to lead by example. Your children pay more attention to what you do than what you say. Thanks for sharing these families stories. Reply Ajacks313 March 24, 2013 God bless all these families! I especially like Jada’s goal of opening a homeless shelter. It’s something we tend to forget about. Best of luck to all.! Reply newmom0608 March 28, 2013 Jada was so full of passion! She won an award when she was only 5-years-old. These kids are destined for greatness. Reply Stacie March 24, 2013 Wow, what amazing inspirational women! How fortunate that you were able to learn them and share with the DFTM community. Keep up the great work and best of luck to all of these families highlighted. Reply Jewel March 24, 2013 What a wonderful experience for young people. Hats off to DFTM for making dreams come true. Although I’m not a mom, I’ve seen the difficulties in raising children with today’s economy. How do parents get children involved in this program? Reply Pamela March 24, 2013 This is neat! My little one is only 3 but I often worry about her future because all you hear on TV is bad news. Good to hear about young people doing and dreaming great things. My biggest obstacle so far has probably been being laid off for over a year after disclosing that I was expecting but it all worked out and increased my faith. Reply Christine March 25, 2013 This is such a great post with such touching stories. It’s so refreshing to see these “young dreamers” because I wasn’t taught that at a young age. I only just learned how to dream again over the last couple of years. But these are the things that I am committed to teaching my children. Thanks so much for sharing these stories! Reply kwiaciarnia online March 30, 2013 Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really loved browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon! Reply Sandy April 1, 2013 I’m not a mom but I can totally relate. My own mom went through a period of time where we had to do without many things that other kids had. I didn’t however want for anything. I think the rough patches made me a more resilient and resourceful adult! Great stories! I love to hear about people dreaming and striving for more! 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