Dream Big and Work Hard

US Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby and Foundation Ambassador Florence Ngobeni-Allen on Capitol Hill earlier this year.


In honor of Mother’s Day and for all mothers everywhere, Foundation Ambassador Florence Ngobeni-Allen writes about the fears and joys of parenting.

My children have made me the happiest person on earth, I feel blessed and loved. I feel important and my life has a purpose. I feel whole. In my children’s lives, I see trust and hope for the future. Being a mother is not easy, but I encourage every parent to keep trying. Most of it is trial and error, but parenting reminds us not to give up, because your kids will never give up on you.

Being HIV positivemeans that I always ask myself whether I will live long enough to see them grow up, but I also worry about some unforeseen disaster. Recently, I travelled to New York City and there was a bad storm. It was so bad that I was convinced that I was not going to make it back to my kids to hold them in my arms again. I feared for my life, but to be entirely honest, I feared for the lives of my children more than that of my own. I was not ready to leave them behind.

I do not fear death. What I fear most is leaving my children behind, young and vulnerable. I feel entirely helpless about the subject of death, but the only thing that can be done is to pay enough attention to their needs and try to be the best parent that I can be, and do this without holding back. I love playing with my kids; I look in their eyes and I see myself and I see their father, and I am reminded of the miracles of life. They make me so happy and inspire me to strive for more-– more good health and more days with them. My children do not care much for the material things, but they want to know that they are loved and cared for. This is what motivates me to be a better parent.

I love being a mother, and every day when I swallow my tablets (my anti-retroviral medications (ARVs)) it is all for my children. I try to eat healthy and take care of myself so that I can see them grow into young men. And I believe I will have a chance to be with them as they grow because today HIV is a manageable, chronic disease. I am already proud of them and I hope they will be proud of me. I want them to learn to persevere, dream big, and work hard. Most of all, I would like them to know how much I love them, and wish that they can love themselves regardless of what life throws at them.

Florence Ngobeni-Allen is a Foundation Ambassador. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.