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‘Her Way’ Long Island Sound How My Mother Constantly Inspires and Encourages Me
Like many people, I have my mother to thank for most of what I have accomplished in life. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to honor her. Whatever I have accomplished in my life has been based largely on the basic life lessons she taught me and the encouragement she gave me. Though I think she is a little bashful about appearing in a newsletter, I hope she will forgive me for extolling her virtues. My mother grew up in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania. Her father was a dynamite expert in the mines, setting charges to clear the way for the machines and workers. It was a dangerous job, but he took pride in doing it well. Her mother managed the home and the household finances and took care of her and her older sister. As a child in that rural community of hardworking people, she developed a practical no-nonsense approach to life and a straightforward manner of speaking. When she was a teenager, she moved with her mom, dad, and older sister to Brooklyn. It was a big change, but she loved it. Almost immediately, she fell in love with the big city hustle and bustle. New York seemed to be teeming with so many kinds of fascinating people and there always seemed to be so much going on. It made her feel energized.
She was glad to leave behind the bucolic surroundings of that small, rural Pennsylvania town. Years later, when my father, who was originally from the Bronx, suggested vacations out to the clear-aired mountains, she would tell him she had already “been there, done that.” Robert Frost said, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” My mom always made me and my younger brother feel that our home was a place where — whether we succeeded or failed — we would not only be taken in, but supported and encouraged. That helped give me the courage to try things even if I knew I might not do well. However, she was blunt when she thought we did something wrong or did not live up to our potential. She always comforted me when I failed, praised me when I succeeded, and criticized me ruthlessly when she thought I could do better! She wanted us both to have happy, balanced lives. She would often tell me to take a break from studying and go play with my friends — or tell my brother to stop playing with his friends and go study. When I first decided I wanted to be an audiologist and pursue my dream of helping people live more fulfilling lives by overcoming the challenges of hearing loss, my mom had no idea what an audiologist was. Still, she
Dr. Larry with his mom on his wedding day
encouraged me to pursue my dream and to keep at it. Today, we often chat about whatever new biography she has been reading. One of her favorites was about Frank Sinatra. Back in the ’40s, she was fortunate enough to see him perform at the Paramount Theatre in Manhattan. Maybe I got my appreciation of music from her. I definitely think she identifies with Sinatra’s classic song “My Way,” and with good reason. Throughout her life, she has carved out her own path with confidence. It is impossible for me to express the value of what I have learned by watching her fierce, dauntless spirit, coupled with her unshakable kindness and compassion. I am endlessly grateful for all that she has given me.
–Lawrence Cardano, Au.D.
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