“It was a dark and stormy night.”
It really was! I was in second grade. My little sister and I bundled up in blankets together on the couch, too afraid to go to our shared bedroom. Gale winds of about 60 mph roared outside. From the toy corner, our Lite Brite flashed my house and tree design anytime the electricity flickered. I freaked me out and I ran into the kitchen to find my mom. She was leaning against the counter, studying a thick book by the flickering light of our gas burning stove. She poured me a glass of milk and unplugged the sinister toy.
The next day, we learned that a neighbor in our trailer park lost the roof to her home. We found the door to our hot water heater in our side yard. Mom, studier by flame and braver of other-worldly Lite Brites, got out her toolbox and screwed it back into place.
A year later, she landed a teaching job in Oregon and us three girls moved.
Today, Donna Summer died. And I’m so sad. ”She Works Hard for the Money” always reminds me of that night and I always sing it at the top of my lungs.
This one goes out, not just to my mom, but to all the working moms out there.
- To my mother-in-law, Karen, who works as a surgical nurse. When JP was in grade school, she had to move away from her husband and two sons to find work. She called home every other night to talk to her boys. Six months later they were all reunited. When I asked how she did it, she said she refused to cry on the phone, but after she hung up, that was another story.
- To my friend, Ali, who put herself through technical school right after having her son. Her husband’s construction company suffered from the economy and she worked during naps and at night to make ends meet, even when they had to rent out their house and move in with her mother. They are now back in their own home.
- To my friend, Amy, whose husband lost his job. He’s now working again, but at a severely reduced wage. They downsized to an apartment and she went from part-time work to learning a new human resources job and putting in overtime, with three teenagers at home. Her oldest son just won a full scholarship to ASU.
- And to my friend, Amber, whose husband also lost his job. She lost hers just a few months later, right after having her baby. He’s now back to work, as well, but also at reduced wages. And while she looks for work, she’s nearly finished her first novel and is building a photography business.
Ladies, this one is for you! (Check out the dancing conductor.)