My eyes flashed like yellow diamonds and I coldly asked, “Excuse me? Would you like to repeat that?”
Both of the older boys froze. They understood my tone.
“Do you think things get handed to you on a silver platter? Do you think jobs, cars, or a college degree are just handed to you? Do you think that a roof over your head, clothes on your back, or the food in your belly is simply placed there because those things are owed to you? You had better think again if you do. No one owes you anything in this life. The things that you have, the life that you live, the job that you work, the degree that you get, those things come with hard work and determination. No one owes it to you. No one is just going to give it to you.”
They stared at me with big eyes.
“Do you understand how hard Daddy and I have worked to provide you with this cushioned life? This life where the only things you have to worry about are your grades and your friends? No, I don’t think you do. I got up at 5am every single morning to study, so that I could earn my college degree. I went nights without sleeping at all. I got up every single day and was an involved mother to you boys. I cooked your meals. I washed your clothes. I cleaned our house, and I did it all while earning that degree. Do you think anyone just handed me a graduation cap? No. I had to earn it. Daddy gets up and goes to work every single day. He’s in pain, but he doesn’t complain. He doesn’t gripe about how hard it is. He just does it. You don’t have the right to not help out around this house. You don’t have the right to ask me questions like you just did. You don’t have the right to be lazy and selfish. No one has that right.”
Tears began to well up in their eyes.
“Now, get to work.”
I walked into the kitchen and I did the dishes until I calmed down. The boys worked steadily until the family room was cleaned up.
“What have you learned today?” I asked them, my voice was no longer cold, but my stare wasn’t any less sharp.
“That we have to work hard. That no one is going to do the work for us,” they said in unison.
“Good. Remember that lesson.” My left eyebrow raised just a little, and my mouth was set in such a way that conveyed the stern meaning of what I said.
They both looked at me, then came to give me a hug, “Sorry, momma. We were disrespectful.”
“I love you boys.”
“Love you too, momma.”