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Headshot of Melissa Lee, 2019 Louisiana Mother of the Year

Charitable Cause: Hogs for the Cause

What is your favorite memory as a mother?

My favorite “mom memory” happened the day I met my then 17-month old son in a small Russian orphanage. The children were brought into a room to meet their new parents, and when my son walked in on his tiny, wobbly legs I simply gasped at seeing him for the first time. I didn’t know what to do, so I did the most natural thing…I walked to him, smiled, and held out my arms. My much-anticipated and loved son responded by holding out his arms and I held him for the first time. He’s held my heart ever since.

What was your biggest misconception about being a mom?

My biggest misconception about being a mom was foolishly thinking it would be easy working and raising a child. Joke on me! Learning how to provide the care and nurturing for a child while working full time was HARD. So hard. Constantly worrying I wasn’t spending enough time with him, providing him enough support, missing out on the every day things in his life. Wanting to be two places at once. At the same time, trying to succeed at doing my job. I’m not sure I’ve balanced the two, but have had fun trying.

What is the most useless or unique talent you have?

My most unique talent is one that is either appreciated by my friends and family, or absolutely drives them crazy: people find me easy to talk to. Total strangers will tell me their life stories. Waiters will pull up a chair and join our dinner. I will have lengthy conversations with someone in line at the grocery store. My son calls it “the Melissa thing”, more than one friend calls it annoying. I find people endlessly fascinating and enjoy hearing what they have to say. Maybe I’m just a good listener.