August 10, 2017, I shared the following as a status. Today, I memorialize it here. Don’t ever believe that your own hard work is why you are where you are.
Here you are, thinking you got here on your own.
That you worked long days and late nights
and you stretched your mind, body, and brain to its max
and to exhaustion. So you deserve what you achieve.
You deserve praise and bright-eyed well wishes.
What is true is that you worked hard. What is also true
is that your mother raised seven children,
and never missed a soup at your bedside
or a hand on your feverish forehead,
never missed a bedtime story or a horse show
and never asked for praise, only asked that you come home,
that you sit with her and hold her close, ask her for advice,
as you both age, and what’s also true is your father
worked to feed seven children,
starting his car at 4am to get to work
and pulling his car in the driveway in at 11pm,
and he never asked for praise,
only asked that you come home, and sit with him,
that you hold him close and ask him for advice,
as you both age. What’s also true is your parents
worked half as hard as homeless families with three jobs
and two kids, who never slept but smelled of kitchens
and long subway rides in the exhaustion of 12-hour shifts,
as they only wished to come home and sit with their kids,
and hold them close, to ask them for advice,
as they both aged. What’s also true is tonight
many people are fighting the hardest battle of their life,
and they won’t get praise if they win it.
What’s also true is you didn’t get here on your own,
which doesn’t mean you don’t deserve praise
but this is a prayer for those who deserve the praise
as much as you – praise the mothers, the fathers,
the car mechanics, the people loading vans in the dark
so you had your frozen meals on the nights
you didn’t have time to cook because there you were,
working hard. They say nothing works if you don’t.
But what’s true is that nothing works
if they don’t.