Thirty-eight years old, Tameka Gilmore quietly sits on the coach watching her family enjoy each other’s company during the holiday season. She watches how her cousins play and joke around; she watches how her aunt, visiting from Atlanta, sits and talks to her sisters. She watches how her daughter’s friend interacts with her grandmother. And I watch her closely, and notice she has a sad, yet pleased look on her face that only she can explain. This person is my mother, and she is the inspiration that I follow today.
I decided that she had to be the person my story would be about. Wanting to know more behind that strange combination of sadness and satisfaction I saw in her, I decided to pull my mother to the side and get to the bottom of her story.
Growing up, my grandmom taught my mom what to do and what not to do. Her mom had gotten pregnant at the age of seventeen. Because of this outcome my grandmother had to push to get things done for her and her daughter. This was one reason why my mother did not want a child before finishing school. But as one would say you can’t predict the future.
While attending Temple University, she was motivated to finish her degree, but she got pregnant with her daughter and only finished her first year. Her second year at Temple, she stopped going in order to get a job to support her child while her daughter attended childcare. She worked in a nursing home for special needs and then went to school to be a medical secretary.
Graduating from the National Institute, she proceeded to work in the special needs home. Eventually, she decided she also wanted to go to school for hair styling, and while pregnant with her second child, she attended school to achieve that degree as well. She completed the program after giving birth.
She received her degree and had been working in a salon for three months when she heard that the IRS was hiring. She passed the required test but did not pass the three-month course that followed. She tried again, retaking the test and course, and she was hired as a tax examiner for three months before getting laid off.
Although she was getting laid off, she never gave up on getting that job. She continued working atthe Hair Cuttery until the IRS called her. Having to be patient for the results of her hard work in the past, she did not expect that now her life would be moving at a much faster pace.
During the job transition, she got engaged and was married to her long-time boyfriend. She worked hard to support the family and maintain a job. After being at the IRS for a few years, she was promoted from tax examiner to Analyst, which is her current job today. She also does hair on the side to make extra money.
My mother was faced by some obstacles when her inspiration died on Christmas Day. This person was my great-grandmother, who helped to raise her, and resulting was a close bond. On top of the death, she and her husband became separated after being together for more than fifteen years.
Having a hard time with the changes, my mother encountered a physical and emotional breakdown, but in the end she pulled through and realized that there is more to life than to be stressed. Now she is becoming a stronger, hard working mother who supports both of her kids while putting one through college. She is learning that in the end she is going to make it, and that life is an obstacle and that the key is to figure out how to live it. Tameka Gilmore, my mother, is my inspiration and this is her story.