Unsung Inspirational Women by Dr. Niamh Clune

Friday, 18 November 2011

Meet Melanie Saxton

Unsung Inspirational Women...

Meet Melanie Saxton: Inspirational mother, writer and educator.

Melanie Saxton is one of those superwomen – determined,
focused, and talented with exceptionally high personal 
standards and self-expectations. She is a magician with a 
sleight of hand juggling act who balances being a mother 
with several demanding careers. Yet she manages to 
remain a thoroughly decent and inspiring human being.

She is a tour-de-force within the writing/editing world
- a teacher of English - a lifter of others (especially 
emerging authors) with her supportive spirit and generosity 
of soul.

When asked about the most important things in life, 
her first and foremost pride and joy is, and always 
will be, her daughter. Fifteen years ago, baby Emily 
came into the world and lit Melanie’s soul. At the time, 
Melanie was in her mid 30’s. She had always wanted 
a daughter and can't quite find the words to describe 
her joy at becoming a mother somewhat later in life. 
Melanie is still amazed to watch Emily morph into a
talented, hard-working, and beautiful young woman.

Emily is now a sophomore. She loves high school and has recently tackled driver's ed. Melanie must now adjust to the fact that, next summer, her daughter will be driving alone. Turning her out onto 
the highways and byways causes Melanie the usual anguish that all those of us who are mothers must suffer. Fortunately (the timing was serendipitous), she interviewed Victoria Osteen, herself a mother of a young teen driver. Victoria told Melanie, "God gives us
grace for every season.” Melanie needed to hear these words. They contained within them the power to help her accept the inevitable - that which every mother must face, albeit some more gracefully than others – the next stage in her daughter’s personal development.

To understand the close relationship between Melanie and her wonderful daughter, it is important to add that since Emily was seven, Melanie has been a single mother. Post-divorce, Melanie discovered a fierce maternal strength. She focused completely on her child. She made certain that Emily's young life was filled with all that any mother hopes for her child. Circumstances would deny her
child nothing of true value. Melanie re-entered the marketplace to earn a living and give Emily the best possible childhood.

Melanie hadn't worked outside the home for nine years! She wanted to minimize the disruption in Emily's life while still earning enough for them both to live on. It wasn't easy. In fact, single motherhood has been the greatest balancing act that Melanie could ever have imagined. First, she had to ramp up her writing career, a difficult job in the first place, let alone trying to earn enough from it to support a child. Writing is, however, a career Melanie excels at and loves. It has given her the freedom to wrap her schedule around her daughter’s, as though it were a pair of loving arms. Emily did not attend day-care. Her mom was right there with her throughout all her growing years, volunteering at the school and keeping a close eye and involvement in all her child’s concerns.

She watched Emily progress through dance classes, sports and orchestra. In turn, Emily watched and admired her mother finishing a college degree, which she had first pursued in 1980 and finally completed in 2009. Melanie did so in order to tackle teaching certification whilst Emily considered career choices and high school credits. Melanie is acutely aware that she is her child’s role model and compass. If Melanie is pointing north and following her dreams, Emily knows she is empowered to do the same.

Melanie still flashes back to those early years when she learned to navigate the all-consuming and unrelenting demands (and rewards) of single parenthood. After the divorce, the little family moved to a smaller town on the outskirts of Houston where they could be near Melanie’s sister. "Mommy, I feel like I'm tumbling!" cried the then seven-year-old child, reeling as she mourned her absent parent, adjusted to a new neighbourhood and navigated an unfamiliar school.

"I feel like I'm tumbling, too," empathized her mother. "Good thing you are in gymnastics! We both know how to land on our feet!" Melanie knows the key to single parenting. She taught her child to cope. She taught her to be emotionally competent. She gave her daughter the threads to weave her own healing. She kept a sense of humor. She believes this is a great gift for any child. "This is the hand that was dealt us," she told Emily. "So let's work the deck and play those cards!" Always, she has taught her daughter to be self-determining…"We can't choose the past, but we can choose our future."

The fruits of Melanie’s labour lie in the fact that she has raised a child of whom she is proud. Emily has grown up actively looking for opportunities. She began working at boarding kennel just four days after turning 15. What’s more, Emily loves it! She is considering pursuing a career in Veterinary Medicine. What a wise choice of work experience. This will surely stand her in great stead when interviewing for college!

With the advent of high school, the little family runs on jet fuel rather than gasoline. Emily's teen years are adrenaline-filled. Melanie drives the fifteen-year-old to and from work and activities. Then there is always a school project, always a new adventure. But the end results are well worth it and there is much joy in the journey.

Melanie balances commuting to and from her clinical teaching assignment in another town, and traveling back home as quickly as possible to spend time with Emily, grade papers and plan the next instructional day. She stays up late editing and doing her creative work. She writes for six magazines (and is also a contributing editor). She specializes in high profile and celebrity interviews and feels privileged to have featured former First Lady Barbara Bush, A.J. Foyt, George Foreman and many others. She has her own editorial business and edits and proofs books for emerging authors. She gets very little sleep and - amazingly - has more jobs than she can handle! “Thank heavesn,” she exclaims, “For other editors like Kristy Stevenson who can take my overflow work.”

Melanie’s life revolves around Emily and her career(s). Although, I haven’t mentioned her pets yet! She has two dogs and (gulp) two cats plus two kittens (one a Scottish Fold) – all rescues, and all a source of amusement. Melanie is obviously softhearted and finds it difficult to say, “No!” to an animal, child, or friend in need.

Melanie will catch up on sleep and devote herself to writing full-time next summer. She has two novels percolating and plans to publish them in the near future. The next blessed school year she plans to return to the classroom, energized. It is a blessing that in a down economy she has more work than she can handle. She loves her life and feels fortunate to have entered single parenthood relatively unscarred. Melanie feels she has done her job and done it well, as long as her daughter is thriving, her students are learning, her client's are hiring and her articles are published.

As for dating . . . Emily will never worry that her mother will abandon her to a Friday night attraction or bring strangers to the doorstep. When Emily begins dating, so might her mother. Until then, Melanie is happy being an inspirational mother, writer, and educator.


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