Olivera Lekic

Monday, Apr 18, 2011  |  Updated 1:31 PM CDT
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Olivera Lekic

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When I first saw the story about the mothers day makeover contest on NBC a few weeks ago, something clicked. Not only have I been wanting to enter an essay contest about how great my mom is since I was a child, I thought this would be the perfect mothers day gesture for her right now! As cliché as it may sound, I can honestly say I don’t know of a more deserving mom than my own. She is my Superwoman, a nickname I gave her when I was 11 and she was working her full time job as a Secretary at my elementary school by day and helping my dad run the family business (a flower shop) by night, coming home to make sure we’d eaten dinner and finished our homework, just to do it all over again the next day. Life wasn't the easiest for her.

My mother, Olivera Lekic, brought my sister and I to the U.S in 1986 from Yugoslavia when we were very young (I was three and my sister was a year and a half), a tremendous feat as she was a baby herself at the time. She was only 22 years old, flying alone across the world with 2 small children to a country where she couldn’t even speak the language; my father had to come to Chicago a year earlier to secure a home for us and raise airfare money for our flight.

 Raising a family in a foreign country proved to be very challenging for my parents. My sister and I picked up on the language quickly, but it was much more difficult for my mother and father. Despite the difficulties, my mom made sure we had happy childhoods; she acted it as if it were her only duty to make us happy, and still carries that on to this day. She has done everything in her power to ensure that we had the best possible upbringing. I cannot even begin to count the number of times she has gone well out of her way to put our happiness in front of her own. From all the times she was there for us growing up to the school projects, science fairs, plays, sports, events, dance classes, trips to the park, beach and zoo. She did all the normal mom things, but constantly and unconditionally. Anything we needed, without question. Her energy is never-ending, I am awed by what she is able to do on a daily basis. She has 3 daughters now  (we are 28, 27 and 16) and we have our share of issues she has to help us through, in addition to the full time jobs she holds at a bank and single mom to the 16 year old.
The past few years have been very difficult for my mom. She went through a painful and expensive five-year divorce/custody battle with my father, and suffered the loss of her own mother last July. Recently, my mother has been afflicted with the additional stress of having multiple health problems relating to her digestive system and resulting vitamin deficiencies. Because of this, she has lost a vast amount of weight in a short amount of time and has minimal energy. Due to her health concerns, she has had to recently cut basically all the foods she loves out of her diet, calling for an all-over lifestyle change. All of this has naturally left her very down and depleted.

 A makeover would give her a new outlook on life, and really brighten her spirits and allow her to approach her new lifestyle with a positive attitude and more confidence. Not that I feel she NEEDS a makeover; she is a great looking woman. But this contest is for those who DESERVE a makeover and I don’t know of anyone more deserving of being pampered for a day as my mom. She deserves a new look for her new beginning, and this is the best way to do that. This would really help her smile, something I haven't seen her do enough of recently. She deserves to be the one taken care of now, like she continues to do for her family. She needs a days rest from the busy life of playing mother hen for everyone else. I can‘t even remember the last time she took a vacation.

My mother is endlessly selfless. My only wish for when I have a family of my own is for my children to love me even half as much as I love my mom, and to be able to do for them as much as my mother has done for me. My mother has just become a U.S. citizen and has inspired me to follow in her footsteps. She truly is a Superwoman and I am honored to be her daughter.

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