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A Tribute to My Super Woman Mom from Her 'Conscience'

By Marlene Gonzalez

As I child I was draped over my mother much so that she nicknamed me her "conscience.”  As a teenager I swore she was deliberately trying to ruin my life.  In my 20's I thought my boyfriends and friends were more important than she was.   
I'm 38 years old now and I'm convinced that my mom is a super hero!  With no more than a high school diploma, love for my dad and a very strong will, she married my dad at 18, had my brother at 19, me at 21, learned English and went to work, and has never stopped work and for us.   
In an era when women were just starting to leave the home to contribute economically to their families, she entrusted us to a close family friend and worked 40 hours/week since I can remember.  The other thing I remember is that there was always something cooking (we hardly ever ate out...we 
couldn't afford it), our house was always clean (despite my brother's and my attempts to ransack the place!), she and my dad never missed a dance or piano recital, baseball or softball game, school play, bake sale, parent teacher conference and even the occasional "Mrs. Gonzalez, can you please pick up Marlene from school, she is sick."  She could feed the 4 of us just as easily as she could feed 20 more. Birthday parties were a regular thing for my brother and me and even for my dad...we all love parties.    
A few years ago, my grandmother became very ill with Parkinson's Disease and Osteoporosis and for over a year has been confined to her bed on periodic oxygen and a permanent feeding tube.  I have seen an incredible strength in my mother that I can only describe as AWESOME.  She puts aside her own fear of losing her mother and watching her die a slow and painful death and feeds her, 
bathes her, dresses her, medicates her, reads to her, prays with her, shows her photos of the life she lived and thanks her for all the things she's taught her. 

My mom still works...full time in every sense of the word...despite repeated attempts from my dad to get her to retire early. She takes periodic unpaid leave, 6 weeks at a time to fly to Puerto Rico and care for my grandmother. She is a Customer Service Rep/Bilingual for the Social Security Administration for the last 18 years. I am still amazed how she did all that without nannies and cleaning ladies and two kids that were only 17 months apart, and she didn't learn how to drive until she was in her 50's! She is celebrating her 60th birthday in September and my parents just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this past August. 
I wonder if she knows how proud I am of her, how much I respect her, how much I admire her, how I listen so closely now to her lessons and advice and how I hope that I am becoming the woman that she had hoped me to become.   
Happy Mother's Day to all the Super Women of the world!


Marlene Gonzalez is a Freelance Makeup Artist (Darphin Cosmetics LLC and Cover FX CosMedics), and is working on opening her own cosmetics boutique in Spring 2010.  She is also working with her 10 year-old niece on compiling a collection of her mother and her sister’s recipes….the best cooks in the world!!!