If, off the top of your head, you were asked to name someone you think is the Mom of the Year, who would come to mind?
It might be someone who is an amazing role model for her children, of course…someone who teaches her kids through example how to be good people, how to be kind to others, how to feel empathy and generosity and enthusiasm for others.
It might be someone who is a leader in her community, who is always thinking of ways to make life better for the residents of the city or town in which she lives.
It might be someone who is a pathfinder in her profession, who is recognized for achieving incredible standards in her place of work.
It might be someone who puts energy and extraordinary effort into her extended family relationships, placing the importance of closeness with her siblings at the very top of her list.
It could be a person who is an exceptional friend, who is willing to reach out, to make time whenever she can to sit and listen to her friends spill their guts and still find a way to make those friends laugh.
Maybe it’s someone who is excited by the prospect of charity work, with hopes of bettering the lives of others around the world.
I considered all of these possibilities, and then I realized the person I have in mind is all of those things.
I believe my friend Tamara is the Mom of the Year.
She and I have been friends for twenty years now, which makes her one of my oldest friends. I realized, as I poured my coffee this early Saturday morning, that really we have known each other since we were children, because although fifteen-year-old girls don’t like to admit it, they are actually still kids.
I’ve had the privilege of watching Tamara evolve from a shy, insecure and often shy fifteen-year-old girl to the amazing mother and citizen that she is today. She’s the mother of two little girls, each with her own set of special gifts and abilities, as Tamara glowingly described to me over lunch this week. Her love for them is evident in everything she does.
In the last year or so, she has finally discovered her passion for education, and has been teaching a very fortunate group of students in a Community Support Worker program at Trios College. A few days ago, she was recognized at her campus’ annual conference for being their employee of the year.
In association with one of her students, Tamara has a plan in the works to effectively eliminate poverty from the lives of a group of women in Africa by creating a market for their goods here in Canada, enabling them to get out of debt and, in turn, build their communities from the ground up. The Mom of the Year prize would provide an amazing jump start for this program-in-the-making and has the potential to have an impact literally across thousands of miles.
Tamara takes the time to participate in personal growth sessions with her sister and I have personally witnessed her quite literally throw herself into the act of working on her relationships with her brother and sister, both.
She’s also a great friend, and will drive down to visit from her home in Guelph on the rare day she isn’t working at school or spending time with her girls to sit and chat with me, and we get caught up on one another’s lives, enjoying a laugh and the intimacy of a friendship that has evolved over time, through our teen years as we worked together at McDonald’s, adulthood as we lived together in Toronto, and now, parenthood as we raise our kids. She is always willing to actively listen to me, even if my words come through tears. We’ve shared many a bottle of wine in this way!
She takes her sweet girls for walks in the ravine near her home, where they look for and often find deer. Then they go to the frog pond and tickle frogs. (Nate and I have plans to go tickle frogs with them very soon!) She is a wonderful mom to these two girls, even through the challenges her family has experienced over the last year.
I often think about Tamara’s girls and about how lucky they are to have a mom like her. I really can’t wait to see what kind of women they turn out to be. I’m sure they will grow up to be an inspiration to their friends, just like Tamara is to me.
Do you know someone you think should be the Mom of the Year? If so, head on over to Wal-Mart Canada’s Mom of the Year website, where you’ll be able to nominate her.
The Mom of the Year Award recipient will receive $10,000 for personal use and $100,000 to their cause or charity of choice. (I can honestly think of no one who is more deserving of this prize than Tamara.) Seven runners-up will each receive $10,000 for personal use and $10,000 to their cause or charity of choice.
Disclosure: I’m part of the Walmart program by Mom Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own. Mom of the Year Award: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Internet access and valid e-mail account required. Nominations open May 10, 2012 to July 8, 2012 for legal residents of Canada over the age of majority. Entrants cannot nominate themselves. One (1) grand prize available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $100,000 donation by Wal-mart Canada Corp. to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Seven (7) runner-up prizes available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $10,000 donation to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Charity/cause subject to verification and final approval by Wal-mart Canada Corp., at its sole discretion. Odds of winning depend on how the judging panel evaluates each entry according to the criteria. For Official Contest Rules and to nominate an entrant, visit [www.momoftheyear.ca].