Creating a New Reality
There are Pinterest boards for all things motherhood. Boards for gender reveal parties and birth plans. Boards for Halloween costumes and back-to-school lunches. Boards for birthday parties and graduation parties.
Unfortunately, there aren’t boards for what to do when you lose your job. Or boards for what to do when your husband goes to visit his family and decides not to come home.
Single motherhood is difficult. It’s difficult to find support. It’s made even more difficult when you lose the job you love. All the motivational quotes and inspirational memes on social media won’t help you get out of bed in the morning when the only things that keep you moving are your children’s wellbeing.
You can either fold under the pressure, or you can create a new reality.
Ana Rabicoff Lim, faced with the loss of her job and single motherhood, didn’t fold under the pressure. She scrimped and saved and fought for her children and herself to create a new reality that has, in turn, created a community of people who help support each other.
Ana grew up in Longview, a small city deep in the heart of East Texas, with parents who felt the need to give back to their community. Her mother was once the unofficial mayor of the town, and both parents served in all sorts of local organizations. With a group of friends, her mother saved the Texas Eagle, the Amtrak service that runs between Chicago and San Antonio. Amtrak wanted to cancel the service from Chicago through Texas to save money, but her mother’s friends lobbied and cajoled and raised funds to make sure that East Texas didn’t lose their train service.
“Mom jokes that she’s a ‘Committee of One,’” Ana said as we sat by the Trinity, sipping coffee one morning recently. “Mainly because she can get things done on her own. She’s a giver and a doer.”
After leaving East Texas to attend Hollins College (now University), Ana always stood out. “I was the only person wearing all black while everyone else was in pastels at Hollins,” she said. “I had friends in most groups, but I wasn’t a part of those groups.” After a year abroad in Paris and spending the decade after college in Atlanta and Seattle, Ana settled in Boston, where she built up a business as a highly successful independent conference organizer and married.
Ana had just found out she was pregnant with her older son, now 12, when the economy tanked in 2008. She and her husband decided to move back to Texas to be closer to her family before the baby arrived. “With the economy like it was and the cost of living in Texas being a lot cheaper in Texas than it was in Boston, we decided to move,” Ana said.
Friends in Texas advised the couple to steer clear of Austin; it had gotten popular, and housing prices were crazy. They advised looking at Fort Worth. Ana and her husband decided that Fort Worth would be a good place to raise their family. Her business continued to grow, and their second son was born in 2013.
Those first years in Fort Worth proved, unfortunately, to be the calm before the storm. Ana’s biggest client decided, after 14 years of successful conferences, to change direction in 2018. “My whole world shifted,” said Ana. “I poured my heart and soul into that client. Now, my family’s main source of income was gone, just like that.”
Ana’s husband became the breadwinner for the family overnight. A talented carpenter, he quickly became overwhelmed with the responsibility of being the main source of financial support for his family. Ana theorized that pressure provoked a fight-or-flight response. “In 2019, he went to visit his family in the Philippines and just never came back,” Ana said. “I had to figure out how to tell my boys that their father wasn’t coming home. I had to figure out how to survive.”
Fortunately, her younger son was accepted into a FWISD Program of Choice school lottery. In an attempt to make ends meet on a severely restricted budget, Ana pulled her older son out of his private school, so the boys could attend the same school together. As positive as that seemed at first, it quickly became another trial for Ana.
“[My older son] was struggling with ADHD and the divorce and the loss of his friends. His old school’s method of teaching is very different from his new school’s, and he was dropped into fifth grade, into a teaching method he didn’t understand, and into a group of kids who had been together since at least first grade. His frustration and anger affected all of us,” Ana remembered.
While Ana was talking about this series of events that would bring most people to their knees, her face was serene. She was matter of fact, and she didn’t play for pity. She recounted her story with a calmness and an acceptance that is the result of being dropped at the mouth of Hell and making it out the other side, perhaps smoking a bit, but with her children and her family intact.
Ana moved her boys to Benbrook schools. “That was the start of making life happy for us,” Ana said with a smile that lit up her face. Her older boy is now in honors classes. Her younger son is thriving. “Everything you hear about Benbrook schools is true,” Ana said. “Not having a sense of normalcy for so long was hard for my kids, and the move gave them that back.”
To support her family, Ana started multi-level marketing, but for a woman who organized conferences, who was a professional innovator and troubleshooter, it wasn’t the best fit. And then she got hungry for a lobster roll.
“When I lived in Boston, summer meant lobster rolls,” Ana said. In July of 2020, she woke up craving a lobster roll. After trying to find a decent lobster roll in the area, she came across the website for Cousins Maine Lobster Truck. “I thought, ‘Hey, I could book the truck for my neighborhood – introduce my neighbors and get a lobster roll for myself!”
SW Food Truck Gigs by Ana was born from the simple urge for a lobster roll. Well, that and a lot of work.
Ana’s neighbors loved Cousins Maine Lobster Truck. Ana asked if they wanted to continue having food trucks come to their neighborhood, and when then answer was a resounding “YES,” she got to work finding more food trucks. “There were no interesting food options near our neighborhood,” Ana said. “And all my neighbors who owned restaurants were suffering from the pandemic.”
“That was my lightbulb moment.”
Now Ana has built a community of food trucks who rely on her to find them work. Fort Worth ISD uses her to bring food trucks to schools for “Food Truck Fridays.” “I would see an event coming up, and I would reach out to ask if they needed food trucks.” So now she has a community of people who rely on her assistance. Ana started a Facebook page, and “the business blew up. I knew there could be a way for me to tap into my love for food, love for events and love for bringing my community together…and I feel blessed that I think I have found it.”
“The world is small,” said Ana. “With the pandemic, it’s been bad, and we need happy people and good food and positivity.” In recognizing that she could use her talents to not only support her family but feed and nurture her community, Ana Rabicoff Lim, daughter of a giver and a doer who clearly inherited those genes, has created a new reality for her family, for her community, and for herself.
Lee Virden Geurkink is a jack of all trades, master of none. She has been a bank teller, a chef and caterer (both in restaurants and in private service), a bookkeeper, a trainer, a legal assistant, and a writer. She is a graduate of Sewanee with a degree in Early European History. (She planned to be a professor but realized in the nick of time that professors have homework, which she never did when she was a student, so what made her think that she would do it as a professor?) While she has not used her degree in her, er, varied employment history, she is fabulous at cocktail parties. Most importantly, Lee is the proud mother of two amazing children and stepmother to three incredible bonus children.
So proud of you Ana..You are an innovator and if there is a will thete is s way..you are your parents child for sure.
Congratulations to you. So proud of your giving back. It completes the true individual.
Pat George Mitchell
Ana, you have NEVER quit…not at Hollins, not at work, not at being married, not at being Mother. Never. You are an inspiration!!
Ana! I’m so impressed with what you’ve endured and built in the middle of many obstacles. You’ve always had such a positive and upbeat attitude and never afraid of much. Congratulations on launching your own business which not only helps you and the boys but also many other entrepreneurs!
Way to go ANA!! The Rabicoff family never ceases to amaze me – you are all so special!! Congrats to you for seeing the opportunity and jumping on it!! You have so any amazing talents and the community, and businesses you bring to them, are so lucky to have you! 🙂
AWESOME ANA!!! Congratulations on your new adventure! I know your family is so excited for you 💕