The Souls of Mobile
“I am 28. I have been in the Air Force Reserve for eight years. I went to Xavier in New Orleans on a half scholarship. My mama is a single mother with three kids and couldn’t help. Financial aid didn’t cover all of it so I went into the military to get tuition assistance with the GI Bill. I also met my husband in the reserve. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in business and health care administration in May. It took me nine years to graduate because of money. It would have been easy to give up but I was the first to go to college out of my family. My mama didn’t even have a GED, so I pushed hard to do something different. I grew up in the country and we didn’t have much, so I am giving my kids a little more and the example that they can achieve their dreams no longer how long it takes. My mama came to graduation and was proud of me. She is my best friend and we talk every day.
I love being a mother and doing the little things for my daughter and stepson like combing my baby’s hair before school and taking them to the park. My husband just got back from Kuwait in April. He voluntarily went back for eight months. It was tough working and taking care of the kids on my own, but we needed the money. We do without on a lot of things, but my husband I feed off each other and do what we have to do. I found out six months ago I have a brain tumor. It is benign, but it is rare and I don’t know how it will affect me. I gained a lot of weight and lost my long hair. Losing my hair felt like I was losing my mind. I shaved my head and started over. I had to laugh at myself with tears in my eyes. It took me a long time before I could talk about the tumor but I am staying on the positive side. I am pregnant but they say my tumor won’t affect the baby.
Getting my college degree was a milestone, not the end. I love kids and want to be a teacher to make a difference. I just started my master’s degree in early childhood education. It will take two years with online classes, but I will do it. I work full time and study in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep. I want to open a school and help teach kids confidence and how to transition into life. I also want to adopt kids. I can’t be idle, because if I slow down there is too much time to think about what is wrong. Life is hard, but I keep going and focus on the good.”
(This is the second story in the series “The Souls of Mobile,” with people nominated because of the good they do for the city. Their faces will also be a part of the mural “The Souls of Mobile” that Ginger Woechan is now painting on Hayleys Bar. This mural is a collaboration with the Mobile Arts Council. An Unveiling: Celebrating the Souls of Mobile by Ginger Woechan and block party celebration Is Sunday, December 8th from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. with music by the Excelsior Band and Harrison McInnis.)