During my journey as a Single Mother, I’ve met some amazing Parents. When I say amazing, I mean they are the “gift that keeps on giving.” So much where there is no time for themselves. Many of these Parents have not only become Friends of mine, but Family to Me and my Son. I call them My GOD-Given Family.
I met one of My GOD-Given Sisters; Linda Thi Green-Luckett, when I moved to California in 1987.
After five (5) months of working there, I secured a position with the federal government and Linda was hired to replace me. I was responsible for training her before my departure. Though, I had begun working with the federal government, I continued to work at PPS as a second job. The more we worked together, the more we began to learn and know about each other. We became friends and our friendship grew outside of the job.
Linda and I have a great number of differences. I was born in America and Linda was born in Bien Hoa, Vietnam. I am of one race (Black) and Linda is bi-racial (Cambodian and Black). I am monolingual (only speak English). Linda is trilingual; speaks Cambodian, English and Vietnamese. I was a single parent (never married) and Linda married at 22 years old and still currently married today. I only have one (1) Child and Linda has five (5) children.
Linda came to America with her Mother, Brother and Sister, when she was almost 7 years old. I was intrigued with the stories she told me about living in Vietnam, transitioning in a new country and a great deal about the Cambodian culture.
I learned that Linda loved to cook and as most of you know, I love to eat! She invited me to her house for dinner one day and we became family. I guess you can say she captured my heart through my stomach!
When I met Linda, she was a new Mother to her 8-month-old daughter, Renee. She got married in 1990 and had two different weddings; one (American-style) that she organized and one (Cambodian-style) that her Mother organized. I stood as her Maid of Honor in the one that she organized.
Our friendship has endured 30 years and we have supported each other through our life’s triumphs, trials and tribulations. I’ve found Linda to be a beautiful-spirited and trust-worthy friend whom I’ve grown to have Sisterly Love!
Linda has been working for the County of Alameda for 15 years and is currently a Supervisor. She is working to turn her passion (cooking) into a career and has started her own catering business, Heavenly Delights; which has a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Heavenly-Delights-243622802732045/).
During one of our many “being the gift that keeps on giving” conversations, we defended our decisions to allow these roles to rob ourselves of the opportunity to take time for ourselves. It can be a challenge for a Mother to “turn it off” and stop focusing on others. I explained how I understood it could be easier for me to do; because I’ve had a lot of experience living away from my Family. I explained how I, additionally, decided to move away from my Son and his Family; to force myself to stay in my lane and focus on me.
This was Linda’s current challenge. I wanted to encourage her to do the same. She could not fathom the thought of doing so and I understood her challenge in being able to embrace the thought. Because she still lives close to her Children and GrandChildren, I continued to encourage her by saying, “You have to TAKE the time; not wait for the time.”
In an effort to inspire her to TAKE time for herself, I challenged her with the idea for us to agree to make regular appointments to get together and engage in an excursion; with just us as GrandParents. I further explained the necessity for us to be committed to these appointments; like going to church. It will be our time to recharge, rejoice and rejuvenate.
When Linda agreed to buy into the challenge, we decided to begin by setting realistic goals. Because we were just beginning, we set an inaugural goal to meet bi-monthly.
We thought about the possibility of other GrandParents that may needed assistance with TAKING TIME FOR SELF; so we decided to form our efforts as a support group, which we have named GrandParent’s Hands.
We started California Chapter in Northern California on my birthday in July 22, 2018. Right now, the support group only contains the two of us, but we are loving it!
We will continue to keep you posted on our excursion experiences in our GrandParent’s Hand journey. If you are interested in joining us, please let us know.
We have a Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1181798015260441/
We would love to have you!