Maureen looked around her, speechless. "This is for me?" she wondered.
"Yes, Mama", Sheldon assured her.
They were standing in the living room of a beautiful house surrounded by an immaculate
Maureen shook her head, thinking this must be a dream. She walked slowly to the window and
looked out. She saw herself in another house--more like a shack in a poor neighborhood
riddled with poverty and drugs. It seemed like it was only yesterday when she stood in her
kitchen looking out the tiny window, tired but pressing on.
She had to have supper ready for the kids when they got home from school. She wouldn't see
them until the next morning. By the time they got home, she was on her way to the next job.
A widow with five children, she had to work two jobs to keep food on the table and them in
school. She was determined that none of her kids would starve or sell drugs. Their
education was important. It was their ticket out of that hellhole. She worked hard so that
they would have a fighting chance at a decent life. Love for her children and faith in her
God kept her going.
"Mamma, what're you thinking about?" Sheldon asked as he joined her at the window.
"I was thinking about how life used to be after your father died and we had to find somewhere
Sheldon sighed. "I know, Mamma. Life was hard. I remember watching you cook and clean and
try to make ends meet. You always made sure that we were well taken care of. I remember the
Christmases we had. You used to set money aside so that you could buy presents for us to
open on Christmas morning. You wanted us to have a good Christmas. I remember how nice you
used to look when we went to church. You made sure that we looked our best because you said
that we were visiting God in His house."
Tears came to Sheldon's eyes as he turned to his mother. "Mamma, thank you for being such a
strong, loving and wonderful mother," he said, going over to her. "You alone raised five
children who turned out really well." He took her by the shoulders. "This house is our way
of saying 'thank you'".
Maureen reached out and touched his face, her own eyes moist. "Son, my gift is seeing the
way you and your siblings turned out. I didn't raise you on my own. I had God to help me.
He got us through some hard times. I thank Him everyday for you all. Michael is a partner
at a top law firm, Sharon is an English professor, Norma is a pediatrician, Greg is an
architect and you...you are this year's MVP." Her voice broke. "I worried about you, you
know. I worried because of the friends you used to have. I was afraid that they would get
you in trouble with the law but..."
"...but I got smart and stopped hanging out with them. I didn't want to disappoint you,
Mamma, not after you worked so hard to keep me out of trouble. And I had a great basketball
coach who encouraged me. He always believed in me and I was happy that he lived to see me
make the team. Now other kids can benefit from the scholarship in his name."
Maureen's heart swelled with pride as she gazed up into her youngest child's face. "I am so
happy to see that fame has not changed you. You remember where you came from and are not
ashamed of it. You go back to the old neighborhood to encourage the kids. You even coach at
the local community centre as your busy schedule permits. You are helping kids to reach for
the stars while reminding them how important education is. You are not only a blessing to me
but to your community and to your God."
Sheldon smiled. "Thanks, Mamma."
She slipped her hand in his. "So, how about showing me the rest of the house..."
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