George F. Lee / firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Pavlicek, center, won the International Women's Leadership Conference essay competition with a piece about her mother-in-law, Eloise Teves, right. With them is Pavlicek's daughter Shayla Teves.
Mother-in-law’s daily devotions inspire career-oriented woman
Melissa Teves Pavlicek's essay on her mother-in-law has won a competition sponsored by the International Women's Leadership Conference.
Pavlicek, an attorney, lobbyist for small-business owners and executive director of the Hawaii Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management, answered the challenge to recognize a woman who has inspired her.
Her prize is three registrations to the conference, which is hosted by Gov. Linda Lingle and scheduled for Wednesday at the Waikiki Sheraton. One registration is for her, one for the woman who inspired her, and one for a woman she hopes to inspire.
Speakers include Cristeta Comerford, the first female executive chef in the White House, and Capt. Vernice Armour, the first black female U.S. combat pilot.
Melissa Teves Pavlicek
As a career-oriented new-millennium woman, I could not fathom my housewife mother-in-law when we first met. She gave up her job at age 40 to take care of her dying mother and her newborn son (now my husband), after thinking for years she might never have another child.
I (with all the arrogance of youth) felt that her selfless attitude, her daily cooking, cleaning and chauffeuring family members, was of a bygone era, not at all measuring up in my definition of success.
With the birth of my own son, I began to see her innate strength. My son was born with a heart condition, which meant I'd have to quit working as a lawyer or put him in day care. My mother-in-law stepped in to help with child care, home-cooked meals, prayers and moral support (and the occasional glass of wine shared over pupu), allowing me to not only work, but to start a thriving business that has grown to six employees.
My son is healthy now and I have a daughter who, growing up, will have the choice to be career-oriented, family-oriented or both.
My mother-in-law is the 24-hour caregiver for her sick husband. She is our family's bedrock. She taught me that success comes not just from a bank account, but from those whom you help achieve their own dreams.
She is 80 now and her accomplishments are unsung. Heroes are not only those who do dramatic interventions, sometimes they are the ones whose daily devotion elevates us all.