Amy “Wanda” Wang: The Most Amazing Woman in the World
By: Abbey Wang
Creative Nonfiction, 2019
Sometime between my fourth and fifth year, I retained my first tangible memory with my mom. We were in our local grocery store, a dingy, old shop with very little options and the tackiest elevator music. My mom and I were minding our own business, strolling through one of the few aisles the store had to offer when a lady approached us. “Amy! Hi! It’s so nice to see you. Oh! And this must be your daughter. You two look so much alike!” she said with an eager smile. I remember hearing that a lot as a child. For as long as I can remember, people always told me how similar my mom and I looked. I never saw the resemblance, and neither did she. However, I always took this generic conversation starter as a compliment.
My mom is the most naturally beautiful person I have ever known, but she does not know it. For as long as I can remember, my mom has been very insecure about the way she looks. Like my mom, I grew up in a society where you had to be skinny to be beautiful. Unfortunately, she was raised in a family where big thighs and a little extra chub here and there ran in their genes. However, this did not effect her beauty whatsoever, not to me at least. My mom has some of the most show-stopping, jaw-dropping, head-turning features. She has the most piercing blue eyes; I am talking Frank Sinatra, “O’l Blue Eyes” blue. They shine like sapphire diamonds - which happens to be her birthstone - in the sunlight. The term “kind eyes” is most definitely something I would use to describe them; they are so inviting and comforting. This is one of her traits that I did not acquire, but wish I had. My mom also has the biggest, brightest smile with the straightest, whitest teeth you will ever see. Her grin is so contagious. If she is smiling, everyone else in the room is too. She has these laugh lines on her cheeks, kind of similar to dimples, three on each side of her face. That is how I determine whether her smile is genuine rather than fake. Her smirks is almost always lined with a deep red lipstick; she never leaves the house without it. The contrast of her pearly, white teeth against the dark lip color makes her smile stand out even more. She prefers the way she looks with her bold lips, however I think she is even more beautiful without it. She has never needed any kind of makeup to be good-looking.
When I was a child, I would spend my days at the babysitter’s house down the street from the post office where my mom worked. As I grew up and became more independent, I was awarded the responsibility of walking up to the post office to pick up the mail. I remember how special I felt getting to walk into the back of the office where the magic happens. I knew all my mom’s employees, and they would let me sit and watch them do their jobs while they humored me with generic conversation. I loved being in the post office with my mom; it was something I always looked forward to doing - and still do. Watching my mom interact with people outside of my house was strange. For me, she was always just “mom,” but to everyone else she was a friend, co-worker, and post master. To these people, she is still the strongest, kindest, most selfless person. However, they had very different relationships with her than I did. Hearing the things people have to say about my mom makes me so proud to be her daughter. From little things like how awesome she is at her job, to talking to her closest friends about how she would do anything for anyone, I have never heard a bad review from anyone. I aspire to be like her some day and I can only hope that people will say similar things about me.
My mom is the type of person that cannot go out in public without stopping and talking to nearly everyone we pass; literally, she knows everyone. Even the people she does not know, she will approach and start a conversation. She is one of the most outgoing, friendly people you will ever meet. She will do anything for anyone. My mom has always had a problem saying “no,” so she will always be the first person to volunteer to do things others do not want to do. She has never done anything half-assed in her entire life. My mom is the textbook definition of a hard-worker. I don’t think she has relaxed a day in her whole life. Each day my mom goes to work from seven in the morning to five at night. When she gets home from work, she cooks dinner for the family, does paperwork for my dad’s business, takes care of the bills, does laundry and any other miscellaneous jobs around the house. If my brother or I offer to help, she simply says, “No, I have it all covered,” and continues doing what she is doing. She has such a strong work ethic that she has trouble asking for help when she needs it.
Also, my mom is a natural born leader. As mentioned before, she works in a local post office. She has, and still continues to work hard to be promoted in her line of work. Starting as a mail carrier, she has worked her way up from a clerk to her current position, post master. She was also selected to be the president of the Indiana sector for the National League of Post Masters. She runs state wide conventions and attends national conventions representing the state of Indiana. To add on to her busy schedule, she teaches classes and seminars all over Indiana that help people trying to move up in the postal field. She has a whole army of people that look up to her and respect her for her hard work and dedication to not only her local post office, but offices all over the state. Outside of her work, she shows off her leadership skills by being a part of many organizations around our community. Specifically, she takes initiative in our local 4-H chapter and is the leader of many of the projects and clubs. Her strong work ethic is recognized by many, and I am incredibly proud to call her my mom.
Growing up, I remember being very close with my dad’s side of the family, but rarely seeing my mom’s side. I knew very little about my mom’s life in general; it was something that was never discussed, and no one asked about. That was until about two years ago, shortly after my sixteenth birthday. My mom and I were in the car, halfway through a really long drive. We blindly began a conversation that neither of us thought would turn into one of the deepest exchanges we had ever had. She told me things about herself I never knew before. I listened to her talk about her relationship with her mother, my grandma, Jackie. I always knew there was a tension between her and my grandma, but I never understood why. When my mom was younger, she was forced to look after her younger brother and sister because my grandma was always out at the bar with her friends or working. Because of this, my mom had to grow up and mature at a very young age, thus missing out on her childhood. After years and years of trying to mend the broken relationship between my mom and grandma, my mom eventually gave up; they rarely speak now. She had come to learn that some things are not worth fixing. We discussed her adoption, something I never knew about her. The man I always thought was her father was actually her adopted dad. To this day, she does not know who her sperm donor of a father was, and she does not care to find out. My mom’s dad, my grandpa Jim-who I never got a chance to meet- supported my mom in everything. He put her through college and pushed her to find a job in the postal field, where she continues her career today. Although my grandpa Jim was very strict, my mom and her dad had an extremely close relationship. When my mom was young, her dad and her mother separated, and he married her stepmother. My mom had a very poor relationship with her. She would constantly make my mom go on diets and make her as miserable as she could. This led to my mom and my grandpa Jim becoming distant. They loved each other, but my mom decided she was not going to surround herself with negative people- like her stepmother- in order to maintain a good relationship with her dad. A couple years after I was born, her dad died at a very young age; this was very hard on my mom. Even at a young age, I could see how hard it was for my mom to cope with her father’s death.
Learning about my mom’s relationship with her parents explained a lot to me. For as long as I can remember, I have always called my mom, “Mom;” it was just second nature. I remember as a young child, I once called my mom “Mother,” not knowing how upset it would make her. My mom told my brother and I to call her “mom,” never “mother.” From that day on, I never made the mistake of using the “M” word while referring to my mom. During our heart-to-heart in the car that day, I finally understood why she felt so strongly about what we called her. She explained to me that to be a mother, all you have to do is give birth to a child, but to be a mom, you have to nurture and care for the child and be a parent- and the same goes for fathers and dads. My mom’s mother was never a mom, my mom’s stepmother was never a mom, and my mom’s biological father was definitely not a dad. My mom was always just that - a mom. She always has, and always will, do absolutely anything for my brother and I. She is the most supportive, loving, selfless mom I have ever known.
As a child, I watched my friends interact with their moms in a very different way than I did with my mom. Most of my friends were very close with their moms; they hung out with them and behaved like friends. I always thought about how cool it would be to have that kind of relationship with my own mom, but I knew that my mom and I just were not like that. My senior year of high school I became very sick. I had doctors appointments at least once a week. Due to my condition, I was forced to stay home from school most days. My mom accompanied me to all my appointments and took care of me as often as she could. Throughout this miserable time in my life, my mom and I became very close because we were together almost all the time. We had extremely long car rides full of jam sessions and deep conversations about life. I did not realize it at the time, but looking back, my mom slowly became my best friend. I finally had the close connection I had dreamed of having with my mom. So, while getting sick senior year was unfortunate, I would do it over again a thousand times for the new-found relationship I had with my mom.
Throughout my entire life, my mom has always been my biggest supporter. On August fifteenth of this year, my mom helped me move into my college dorm. Because of the new level of friendship I had with my mom, this was one of the hardest days I have ever had. We carried box after box of my personal belongings up three flights of stairs. She helped me unpack all my things and then took me out for one last lunch together before I went out on my own. On our last day together, we laughed, we cried, and we argued about the decor in my dorm room. It was a perfect end to our last summer together before college. I am so thankful for my mom, my number one fan, and my best friend. I am so blessed to have the most amazing woman in the world to call my mom.