for a Woman's Heart
late-summer day during my eleventh year, my mother and
I spent a morning on a whirlwind shopping spree for
This was rare event. Mom had a chronic illness and didn't
often feel well enough
to spend a day shopping. On this particular day, though,
she seemed energized and so was I.
Mom treated me to lunch in the department store's restaurant.
As we entered the dining area, I noticed elegant models
sauntering from table to table, wearing the latest fall
fashions. Since this was prime buying season for school
clothes, I wondered aloud why there were no preteen
and teen models.
Impressed with my idea, my mother encouraged me to talk
with someone. By the time dessert was served, she convinced
me not only that my idea was great but that I should
be one of those models!
I felt excited and scared. Her encouragement gave me
confidence, and I actually began to believe in my idea
and in myself. Mom's enthusiasm did not stop there;
she persuaded me to talk to the store manager. Even
though my stomach was churning, I was ready to apply
for my first job!
Now, I should tell you, I wasn't a willowy, preteen
version of Brooke Shields. No, I was short, a little
chubby, bespectacled and freckled--maybe cute, but definitely
not classic model material. Yet Mom's reassurance had
convinced me I was beautiful and capable in that moment.
As the elevator doors, closed sending us up to the manager's
office, I hesitated again. "Do you really think this
is a good idea?" I asked.
In that moment, my mother spoke words that come back
to me often--words that have changed the course of my
life more than once. "What have you got to lose? you'll
be no worse off if he says no. And maybe, just maybe,
he'll say yes."
So, refocused and inspired, I proceeded. When the elevator
doors opened, I marched straight up to the secretary's
desk and asked to see the store manager. The secretary
hesitated, then let the manager know I wanted to see
him. Before long, we were ushered into his office. As
I sat across from him at his desk, I confidently explained
that he had an opportunity to create more sales by showcasing
back-to-school preteen and teen fashions this time of
year. He listened politely and with interest. When I
said I wanted to model, he gave me a job application,
saying he would consider my suggestion.
While he never did call me, the next summer the department
store ran a search for teens to model in the restaurant
for back-to-school fashion showing! In truth, I didn't
really care that I was not selected. I had my reward.
Mom gave me gift that has endured a lifetime . Although
she died a few years later, when I was fifteen, Mom's
spirit is always with me when I scary life situations.
Mom taught me it was safe to take risks, to believe
in myself, and most important--to ask for what I want!