“IT is not easy being a single parent, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Those were the words of Catherine Knight, office assistant at Jamaica National (JN) Foundation, when she openly spoke of how proud she was of her four children at the Digicel Foundation Mothers’ Day Brunch on Friday.
Knight was among five super moms in their own right, who were feted by the foundation for their dedication, hard work, commitment and never giving up as mothers.
The other mothers — Rosemarie Golden, security guard at Digicel; Rosemarie Fogo, clerk at the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation; Joy Golding, office assistant at The Early Childhood Commission and Bernice Stewart Johnson, office assistant at GraceKennedy — stories are no different.
For each of them it took strength and courage, sometimes sacrifices, to ensure that their children received a solid education and made life better for themselves.
“It was a little difficult. I would have to get up at 5:00 am, get them ready for school, then get myself ready for work,” said Golding, mother of five girls. “Luckily, my boss was not so hard so I could ask for help. One of my girls is now an auditor, one is a teacher, one works with one of the Government ministries. They are all doing well.”
“My son is into farming. I had wanted him to be a lawyer or doctor, but a teacher said to me all the students can’t be that, so if your children are interested in farming don’t discourage them. Someone has to feed the doctors and lawyers. My daughter is now a teacher, and I remember when she was sent to Papine High people criticised her and she said she was going there to make a difference. She left with seven subjects, went to Mico then to UTech (University of Technology), and I am really proud of them,” Stewart Johnson said.
“My son now works in banking and he always said mommy is a single parent and she did what she had to so I have to step up now, and he has stepped up,” Fogo said.
Golden, on the other hand, shared that she has raised excellent children and is now mothering one of her four grandchildren, after her son’s girlfriend died 13 days subsequent to giving birth, due to an allergic reaction to medication.
Moreover, Saffrey Brown, general manager of the JN Foundation, commended the mothers and made special mention of Knight, who she said she met when she was 22 years old, and has admired her parenting skills since then.
“She was really involved in their lives. There was a centre in the community of Southside where she’s from and when they came home she ensured they went there and got all the help they could. It’s really about looking around for opportunities for your children,” Brown said.
Caroline Mahfood, executive director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, commended the mothers for their strength and resilience.
Meanwhile, Jean Lowrie -Chin, chairman of the Digicel Foundation, lauded the mothers for having the willpower to do their jobs and still raise their children, even when the circumstances seemed tough.
“All of us are inspired. You are nation builders. You were willing to sacrifice and go the extra mile so that your children could make it. We salute you and may God continue to bless you,” she said.
Along with the brunch, the mothers were serenaded by Elton Earlington, 2016 Digicel Rising Stars winner, and were catered to by Cafe Nita and served coffee by Deaf Can!, a social enterprise created to employ and empower deaf youth to believe in their God-given abilities.
The mothers left with packages from the sponsors which include GraceKennedy, JN Foundation, Digicel Foundation and the Early Childhood Commission.