Have you ever tried to rationalize with a three-year-old? Apparently, this is something my mother had to do on a regular basis. According to her, the stubbornness started when I was born, 10 days after my due date! I was born in May, so the Taurus bull in me reared its head often. When I was three years old and trying to learn a backward somersault for gymnastics, my mom tells me I would practice over and over again. She said I had bruises on the back of my head because the floor in our house was so hard. She remembers continually asking me to stop and that my answer to her was always, “Just one more”. After two hours of banging my head on the floor, I had the backward somersault! You might be thinking: this does not sound like a difficult child. However, I also insisted on having my mom watch me. I wanted to make sure that once I mastered the backward somersault, she would see it.
I slowly learned to use my bull-like powers for good and not evil! We rarely ate fast food, but once in awhile my Pop would cave and take me to McDonald’s. We were taking a ride through town on our way to get a burger when I saw a woman with two young children sitting on the side of the road holding a sign that said, “Please help, homeless & hungry”. I remember feeling confused. I am sure I saw homeless and hungry people before, but for some reason, she stuck out in my head. She had two girls with her and it made me think – what if those two girls were my sister and I – what if that woman was my mom. I internalized their situation and I had to do something about it. I asked Pop if he would buy three extra hamburgers. He asked me why I needed three more hamburgers if I had just finished eating! I described what I had seen and pleaded for him to buy the hamburgers for the lady. Pop did not like to waste money, but he hated disappointing me more – and I knew that! I got my way, we gave the hamburgers to the family, and every weekend for about five months, we drove around our town handing out anything I could squander from the cupboards in our house. I think my mom was actually planting extra canned goods and boxed food in order to boost my enthusiasm.
Whether you call it being hard headed, stubborn, or persistent, this attitude has helped me in so many aspects. As a Volunteer Maryland Coordinator in the Class of VM 24, this resolve helped me to accomplish many difficult or challenging volunteer projects. As a VMC at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, I called on my bullish nature to do anything from get trees planted to train Girl Scouts about oyster restoration. Through the many projects and programs we were able to accomplish many meaningful volunteer experiences. I am looking forward to being part of so many more!