The Daily Illini

A mom’s sacrifice

Photo courtesy of Ashley Rayan

By Ashley Rayan, Staff Writer

“I’m not that smart. But dad can help you,” is something my mom said repeatedly throughout my childhood. With a lack of educational experience, she separated herself from me and my studies. 

My mom doesn’t like to talk about her college experience much. From what I can piece together, she spent two years at an all-girls college in India. When she was 19, she got married and moved away from her family. When she was 23, she had me, closely followed by my two younger siblings.

It probably would have been easy for my mom to stay at home with her three kids. It was a full-time job, raising us and no one could doubt that. But she wanted to do more, and she picked up a job teaching cake decorating at a nearby hobby store.

Even in the little things she did, my mom was the best. And if she wasn’t the best, she’d work until she was.

I might be a little biased, but if you got to see her cakes, you would believe me. She would work on gum paste flowers and piping techniques until she could do them with her eyes closed. Anything that she did, she made sure to do them right.

I sometimes imagine that, in another life, my mom would have become a doctor. She has a profound love for the human body, medicine and method. Her passions are simple. She only cares about two things: her family and her religion.

When I was in fourth grade, I switched from a public to a private elementary school. Tuition prices for my siblings and I increased tremendously, and my mom got a part time job to help pay for it.

For a little while, my mom attended our local community college in order to get her medical billing certificate. She was a student and a mom with a part-time job. Her life was all about school, kids, cooking and cleaning, but she did it with a smile.

She eventually became a medical biller at a local doctor’s office and continued to work while we were at school. She loved her job and she was great at it. She was hard-working, organized and determined and rose quickly through the ranks.

Recently, my mom made the decision to take a course to help further her career. It’s not easy, but she wants to be able to do different things and I don’t blame her. When I go home for breaks, she is constantly studying.

But apart from the studying, she cooks, cleans, runs errands and everything in between. Sometimes we study together, and although I always end up sidetracked, my mom is constantly focused and motivated.

It can be weird taking school advice from my mom who’s going to school at the same time as me, but I wouldn’t change it if I could. When I think I have it hard, balancing school and a social life, I remind myself that my mom is balancing two full-time jobs as a biller and a mom while also being a student.

I am so proud and so grateful to have such a wonderful role model to look up to. I’m so happy that she has finally been able to focus on her career and studies; not everyone is lucky enough to have that experience.

Ashley is a freshman in LAS.

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