Crystal Graham: Second chances
Sometimes I don’t think that I tell her that enough.
I admire her for so many reasons.
For one, she raised three daughters after a divorce which I assure you was no easy task.
We didn’t always make it easy for her.
She pulled through another divorce and the loss of one of her daughters.
And throughout that time, she was there for me when she was grieving herself.
She has been my rock more times than I can count.
I can’t tell you how much I have needed her and still need her every day of my life.
She is a friend more than a mom.
She is the only person that I call every single day – just to say hello.
There are thousands of reasons for me to be thankful for my mom.
She’s been there for me in college when I came close to dropping out after my first semester.
She was there as my friend to hold my hand throughout those four years, bad roommates, money problems and other difficulties faced then.
She was the only mom I knew in my college years that visited at least once a month – to shop and laugh and just hang out together.
She was there for me when I made a decision to quit my job for a former newspaper, and yet another one – never making any judgments about me.
She knew I was strong and worked hard, and has supported me every day of my life.
She offered her shoulder for me to cry on when my TV show was cancelled last year.
She has said a million times that she is my biggest fan and that she believes in me.
Today, I want her to know that I am also her biggest fan.
I have so many reasons to admire her … she’s amazing.
She has the kind of bubbly personality that draws people to her – much like a magnet.
One time at Kings Dominion, we had a group of kids following us from ride to ride, all because she talked to them in our wait in line.
She makes friends so easily.
I always wonder how she does it … how she walks into a room and lights it up.
Of course, the one thing I admire her most for is never giving up.
You see, when my dad and her divorced, she didn’t have a college degree.
She hadn’t worked since she had children – choosing to be a stay-at-home mom.
Of course, that was a job in and of itself.
After the divorce, her first job was at a video store.
But she didn’t settle for that.
It wasn’t one dead-end job after another for my mom.
Instead, she fought her way into the corporate world – taking a job first in a data entry division.
But even at that entry level job, she worked late nights and was often first to work in the mornings.
Her hard work and perseverence paid off for her.
Despite all the odds, she proved that she was capable of more.
She was eventually promoted as the secretary to the president of the company and later learned the ropes of the human resources department to head that as well.
She took a few college courses to make her even more valuable to the company.
Unfortunately, after more than 14 years at the company, it closed.
Here she was, over 50, looking for a job – again.
After months of looking, she finally landed another job.
This time with a company much bigger than the one before it.
Within a short period of time, she was named the human resources manager.
And she worked her butt off to get that title.
In the last few weeks, she’s been hard at it, filling jobs for this company.
Working to fill jobs of people that will remain even after she is gone.
You see, just like that, she got the word – again.
Her job at the company was being eliminated.
And now, she has found herself back out in the marketplace.
I can’t do much right now but give her a big hug and reassure her that everything will be OK.
It just doesn’t seem like enough.
The one thing working against my mom in her job hunt is the fact that she never got a two- or four-year degree.
I tell her over and over and over – what’s that little piece of paper worth anyway?
Who wouldn’t take 18 years experience over some degree?
A degree doesn’t prove the person is more qualified than her.
She’s been on the front lines and proved time after time that she shines even in the most stressful and demanding situations.
My mom is just one of many people I consider good friends out there searching for work.
Darn good people who deserve their second chance … or third or fourth.
I pray that someone here values their expertise and looks past what they may not have.
They’re damn good people, and they deserve more.
Take my mom, for example.
She hasn’t had an easy life.
She hasn’t been given anything in the corporate world.
She’s worked hard for all that she’s accomplished.
And I couldn’t be more proud of her.