A few months ago, I spoke at my mom’s retirement party. We were standing in a local event venue surrounded by her friends and coworkers from Texas Sprinkler, the company she’d helped my dad run for the last 15 years. It felt surreal that she was finally getting a break, but like I said in my speech to the crowd, she earned it.
Who is My Mom?
My mom is one of the most hardworking people I know. She never backed down from a challenge if it meant bettering her family and herself. These are just a few of the amazing things my mom has done over the years:
- Learned English as a second language at age 14
- Put herself through high school by working two jobs around the clock
- Put herself through college, earned two college degrees on almost no sleep (she worked fast food at night, studied from midnight to 4 a.m., took a nap, and got up at dawn to be the school janitor)
- Walked the stage to get her college diploma with my sister Roxana in her belly
- Worked as a computer programmer for 15 years at a time when there were almost no women in STEM
- Owned and managed two restaurants (one Mexican restaurant, one pizza place) with my dad
- Lived out of a hotel three hours away from her family to learn how to be a better restaurateur
- Taught herself how to be the CFO and office manager at Texas Sprinkler and ran a tight ship for 15 year
Even running on no sleep, with 2 a.m. wakeups and endless hours on her feet, my mom managed to be a mom, too. She showed up for my basketball games, drove me and Roxana around, helped us with our homework, and told us she was proud of us. She also taught us how to wash our own clothes, work a vacuum, and tackle every project with hard work, commitment, and dedication.
An Important Lesson
As a kid, I didn’t always understand this discipline. I’ll never forget the time I skipped a week of piano lessons and practice to play basketball. I was the starting point guard on my high school’s varsity team, and when my mom found out what I’d done, she dragged me right out of practice.
“You’re not playing another basketball game until you make up the practice time you missed AND make up your lessons. No discussion,” she said.
My coach and I both begged her to let me play, but she wasn’t having it. I ended up spending hours on the piano and running sprints at practice as a punishment for missing a game! Looking back on that experience as an adult, I can see that my mom was a true leader. She gave me the tough love I needed to get my work done and didn’t let my head get too big.
At my mom’s retirement party, it hit me just how much she had sacrificed for our family over the years. My parents, and especially my mom, made me the person and the lawyer I am today. She passed on to me her passion for self-improvement, her work ethic, her love of learning, and her philosophy that “you have to earn everything.” I’ll never be able to thank her enough.
In my work, I don’t take the success of a single case for granted. Instead, I put my head down and work hard, just like I did at the piano and on the basketball court. If I’ve helped you, I hope that after reading this, you’ll join me in raising a glass to my mom. No one deserves retirement more!