It is more often than not that we neglect the things we most appreciate and only when they are taken from us do we begin to value their true importance. The same expression is especially true with the people you most care about. Growing up as a man in such a masculine based region that is Egypt, it’s always been difficult for me to place myself among society given that I was always so different.
I was never into football or cars as most of my friends were; I was always a big reader and loved to write. I always felt there was something missing, that I needed to be different in order for me to become a part of this society. That’s why I always looked up to the male role models in my life. My grandfather, the sweetest and kindest man who has walked this earth. My father, one of the strongest people I know, both emotionally and physically. My brother, one of the most annoying people I know, however quite inspiring.
Now let me tell you about the most important woman in my life, my mother. Not only is she the most caring and kindest person in the world, but she is also one of the strongest and most determined people you will ever meet. Once my brother and I were born, she gave up her career as a banker to raise us both. A few years into our development, she started pursuing sports as a leisure activity, only what began as a leisure activity soon carried on to become a grand achievement that the country is still talking about to this day.
When she was younger she used to play basketball, and while she played on the national team, it was never a full time prospect for her because of all the work she had piled on. Later, after we were born by a few years, she began running, and by running I don’t just mean small jogs - no, I mean full on marathons. What started as a small 5K race ended up with my mother running a full 42K marathon every year for the last 20 years. And that’s not even the greatest triumph I was referring to earlier. Aside from her running, she also played tennis, taught Aerobics and Zumba, and at the same time she never made me feel neglected the same way I made her feel at times. A few years back, when we thought that she had finally reached the peak of her career, she once again managed to surprise me.
She was introduced to the world of triathlons, one step up from the sport of running she was so used to - involving a race composed of swimming, cycling, and running altogether in one continuous form. She managed to achieve 2nd place in her first and has been achieving amazing results ever since. It was so impressive to watch her, because my mom was not a cyclist, nor a swimmer, but that wasn’t enough to stop her, she persevered to the extent that you could never tell of any deficiency in any of her three sports. Following her triathlons came her biggest feat, the Ironman. The Ironman is a professional race, which I can only awe you by the distances that these masters endure. The race consists of 4K swimming, 180K cycling, and a 42K run in the end.
My mother’s first attempt was a half ironman in Spain around 2 years ago. Unfortunately she was disqualified towards the end because she failed to make the time limit. Now for most, this would be the show-stopper, the point where you had made it all the way up to a point where you could go no farther and you had to come back down again. Wrong!!! This was only a small hill in her way, I can’t not acknowledge or fathom the way she had trained in the year following that to actually achieve her goal. For the entire year, she would go out for practice at 4am only to return sometime around 1pm after she had finished her training. In that following year she had completed both a half Ironman and a Full Ironman. The full race had taken her 13 hours of pure effort and exhaustion and I among many others still can’t believe she managed to pull it off.
Years of dedication, hard work, and hours and hours of effort have led to the creation of one of the strongest super moms in the country. It is so difficult to express how proud I am of her because words are an unworthy tool in respect to the way I felt at the list of her achievements. She is not only inspiring to me, but also inspiring to fellow athletes. Ever since her domination of the trial that is the Ironman, I have witnessed several other members set out to conquer and complete this mountain. While some have tried and failed, others have attempted and conquered, and since then I have seen such promotion in sports around Egypt I’m starting to doubt which country I’m in.
The lesson behind this is not about sports, nor is it about family. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen friends and myself quit after defeat no matter how trivial. It is often human nature for us to shy away from prospects that we cannot face. This is not the answer, as my mother had showed, there is nothing that stands in your way except for the psychological barrier which says that you can’t do it. Once you push and break these barriers only then can you reach that true potential and it does not even stop there, you can keep pushing and improving upon yourself and soon nothing will stop in your way. I hope my mother’s story has inspired you the same way it has inspired me because as of that moment I decided I knew who to look up to on my path to adulthood. There are some people you tend to neglect even though they are the greatest gift God will ever grant you, don’t make the same mistake I made.