She earned those greys…
Each one a battle scar of some life event she has had to overcome. I’d like to think that very few were from me, but let’s be honest I’m sure I caused more than my fair share.
Years ago, my mom lost her job. A life event that I am sure added a number of silver strands. The IT job market seemed flush with young energetic talent and employers were eager to swoop them up without giving the experienced 50 something’s a second look.
Looking back at some of the struggles I remember wanting to just fix the problem for her. It is in my nature to look for solutions even though sometimes all the other person wants is someone to listen.
On paper, my mom had all the right credentials. She’d get invited to interview and then nothing. Silence. It was frustrating and I could see it in her eyes. I just wanted to fix it. “Mom, why don’t you dye your hair? I asked. “You’re not old. If you lose the grey hair you could pass for 29 or 30.” “I earned these grey hairs.” She said putting the discussion to rest.
Sometime later maybe it was her birthday or maybe it was Mother’s Day I remember going out to the nicest salon in town and buying her a gift certificate for the exact amount of a hair color and style. Mom accepted the gift with the grace that surely only comes with age and said thank you. The next week she came back with a pedicure, and her grey hair intact. I’m sure I protested a little. After all, a pedicure was not going to help fix her employment woes.
She kept at it, going on interview after interview, and finally was hired on to a great position with the State of California. My mom knew that each of her greys was a life lesson she learned the hard way and a part of who she was. She earned those greys and eventually she knew that the right employer would come along. She did not need to hide who she was in order to land a job. Now that I have earned a few grey hairs myself, I cannot help but look back the great life lesson that my mom was instilling. Be true to yourself, and it will all work out. That is something that I hope to live up to.
I love you Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.