It’s true—my mom is my biggest fan. When you walk into her kitchen she has an 8 X 11 sized photocopy of my VA business card taped to the refrigerator. On her desk, she has two (practically identical) graduation photos placed next to one another. “Katie, your smile is slightly different in this one.” Next to her bed, in a cheap wooden frame, sits a letter I wrote to her in eight grade: “Dear Mom, thank you for being the best mom ever! I love you sooo much!”
The letter is a little embarrassingly generic and at the time I didn’t know how to appreciate who my mom was. I mean, what 13 year-old really does? Over the years though, it’s become much more apparent that my success as a daughter, friend, girlfriend (this is debatable), an Iraq War Veteran, honor grad student, and coworker is because of her.
I was raised by a woman who has drilled a few things into my head. Our conversations about life would go like this:
“You don’t ever give up,” she’d say. “You’re stubborn like me! And your grandfather.”
Roger that, mom.
When I hit my late teens the conversation veered away from never giving up in math class to taking chances.
“Do what you want to do first. . .no regrets,” she’d say, “None.” She’d pause for a few seconds and chime in with, “And don’t worry about getting married and kids yet. You’re still young.”
My mom has followed all her own rules. When she graduated college, at the age of 22, she took up a job with an engineer consulting firm and bought her first car. She held her own as she was the only woman in the office and refers to this time as “the best years of my life!” Two years later, she began to work for Page Airways at the Albany County Airport. Here, Miss No Regrets, learned how to fly air planes. She was an avid jazz and tap dancer (and singer—just ride in the car with us for five minutes and she’ll belt something out). In the early 90’s she ran Saratoga County’s Meals on Wheels program. We would hop in and out of the car delivering hot meals to seniors. I still remember the smell of the food and the smile my mom put on people’s faces. At the age of 35, she gave birth to me and has kept me smiling since.
Regardless of what life has thrown at my mom she has always kept that Diane Hoit attitude and refused to ever give up. She just keeps pushing—and pushing me to never regret.
My mom supported me when I decided to join the U.S. Army. She showed up to my basic training graduation in a bright red suit and an American flag scarf tied around her neck. She supported me as I packed my bags for Iraq. She emailed me almost daily while I was overseas just to tell me that she loved me. She screamed and cheered and cried as I walked across the stage at my college graduation. She watched as I packed a single suitcase and headed to D.C. to take my first real job. She is the reason why I’m here today.
So, mom. Let’s try this whole letter thing again. Fifteen years later, not only do I still think you’re the best mom ever but I now know why. You’ve taught me how to life live—with no regrets, take chances (no matter how small or big), smile on the worst of days, appreciate what and who I have in life, and never ever (ever!) give up. Failure is not an option, right? Thank you for being you.
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.