I have recently been listening to the recorded class of Enneagram guru Suzanne Stabile to help kill time on I-20 as I make the trek from Augusta to my hometown Alpharetta, Georgia. If you’re unfamiliar, the Enneagram test analyzes the human personality based on emotions, fears and beliefs. Stabile opens her study with Enneagram Type 8; these people are the challengers, or the protective, decisive, passionate leaders. While describing them, she states, “Eights are people who kind of give extra all the time … so we feel pushed by them. You almost feel like you’re just not doing enough when you’re with an eight because they seem to be doing more.” Suzanne advises us not to assign numbers to other individuals, but if that doesn’t encapsulate the essence of my mother Renee, I don’t know what does.
Those who say Kris Jenner is the hardest working mother in America haven’t met my mom. Throughout my childhood, she worked five nine-hour days a week while leading my parents’ practice, and her “boss lady” cap didn’t come off when she came through the door at home. After a productive day in the dental office, there was never a night where she did not prepare a Martha Stewart-worthy meal for the family and tuck my brother and I into bed before dashing off to finish analyzing day sheets or work on payroll. In her spare time, she runs at least 30 miles a week.
My mother’s drive to always do the most has pushed me to accomplish the same. And while, quite truthfully, both of my dentist parents had no influence on my decision to pursue a dental career, their capability to excel in their roles as parents and professionals has inspired me to do the same, regardless of my occupation.
When I envision what it will be like to practice with my mother, I am daunted yet motivated to live up to her career accomplishments and excited to work alongside my greatest mentor. My older brother, Colin, is a graduate from the Dental College of Georgia, class of 2019, and is a practicing dentist with my parents in Alpharetta. When asking for his input on practicing with my mom as an associate, he says, “Working with mom is an active learning environment that pushes me to be the best that I can be, just like she always wants. We can also feed off of each other. There is a lot of responsibility that comes along with being my mom’s son because patients expect a certain quality of experience that is representative of mom’s character and excellence.” Similarly, my mother has been excited to have the opportunity to teach us her clinical and experiential knowledge she has acquired while learning from new blood.
Dentistry aside, my mom is my biggest cheerleader whether in sports, academia or life. I am thankful for her comfort during heartbreaks, her grace when I don’t deserve it, her forgiveness after I raid her closet, her love for fine wine when I need a pick-me-up, but most importantly, her friendship and unconditional love. I am thankful to have a mother who is committed to every aspect of her life: God, her family, her friends, her profession, her word, running, etc. They always say, “You become your mother with age,” and if that is true in my case, I will be proud of the mother, professional and woman I will become. Thanks for being my person then and now. I love you, Mom, you crazy eight.
~Sydney Stone, Georgia ’22