Tammy-Lynn McNabb’s success is measured in teardrops and milestones.
Fifty-three years ago, I was born to a teenage mom who was 17 and a wild child father who was 21. Though both were excited at being parents, there would be years of adversity and challenges to follow. We grew up poor, though I never really, entirely knew it. When we left Manitoba in 1972 for British Columbia, my parents looked at the move as an opportunity for something bigger and better for their small family. A chance to break free and start again. Only being able to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the West End of downtown Vancouver, my dad built a bunk bed for my brother and me in the apartment’s broom closet. We thought this was the best fort that a dad could ever make a kid and was typical of my parents forever turning lemons into lemonade.
Years of living in social housing, I learned the value of a dime and what hard work meant. There wasn’t a day that my parents didn’t work hard. Probably the saddest memory dad shared was losing his job and taking a temporary gig at a local carwash. He washed the car of someone he knew, and the humiliation had him crying the entire walk home.
We could have fallen into the trap of poverty, which is to become complacent and not strive for more. My parents chose another path by going back to school in their 30s and 40s. To see them complete their GEDs and then go on to college set the stage for me to always challenge myself, at any age, to be better than I was the day before. Growing up without was never a feeling I could get used to, but this feeling sparked the entrepreneur in me. The feeling of not having has been the driving force of my desire to work harder, faster, longer and better.
All these years later, as an adult, I understand the heartache, stress, anxiety, and fear these two young parents went through. I admire them for never giving up. For taking less and giving more. That in moments that are meant to break us, we come together and push through. And in moments of defeat, we come to those we love to recuperate.
I look at my life today and the desire to always do more, make more, see more, travel more, experience more. I do it so that my mom and dad know that everything that almost broke them wasn’t in vain. They experience my life and travels and business ventures as if they were their own. I include them in everything, so they know what FANTASTIC feels like.
I know my love of life and my determination in my business pursuits are foreign to my mom and dad, but deep down, they know that everything I do, I do because of them.
So…..Mom and Dad, today I dedicate July 22 to the two of you. Thank you for every moment in making me the woman that I am today. For all of the lessons taught and learned. For every tear, every smile, and every achievement. As life begins to get shorter, we now know that it has all been time well spent.
I love you both.
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