What's her secret?: 'It's never too late'

Katrina Driessen-Parker is photographed with her son, Eric Washington Jr., on July 22.
Katrina Driessen-Parker is photographed with her son, Eric Washington Jr., on July 22. Staff photo

Name: Katrina Driessen-Parker

Husband: Jerry Parker

Town: Bluffton

Children: Eric Washington Jr., 17

Occupation: Sales specialist for visual imaging at Best Buy, resident assistant at Bloom at Hilton Head and full-time nursing student

Go-to dinner: Driessen-Parker said she gets together with friends every once in awhile for "Hottie Tottie Nights," where they have champagne or wine with appetizers. The kids get ginger ale.

Biggest pet peeve: Hair on the bathroom sink

Hobbies: Photography and Pinterest

Volunteer work: Driessen-Parker volunteers her time sitting with her "adopted grandparents" as she calls them at Life Care Center of Hilton Head. She also mentors at Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts.

Favorite mommy moment: Driessen-Parker said her son had just started working and had been talking about a $90 pair of Nikes he wanted. He had also been wanting to buy a hamster. She was at work one day when she received a text from him. "He had his first check, hadn't really had an opportunity to spend it yet," she said. "And he goes, 'Mommy, I have a surprise for you when you get home.' ... So I'm thinking this kid just went out and got a snake or a hamster. So I get home, and I'm walking in the house cautiously to make sure nothing comes slithering past me or anything. I go in my bedroom, and he's got the bills laid out ... He had not only paid the current month (of the water bill) but past due. ... I just broke down. I was just a bawling fool. It's amazing to see that he is such a caring and giving person."

Most challenging moment: "I was a young mother," she said. "I had him at 21. I just wanted to sow my wild oats ... In hindsight, I wish I had settled down more and been a better mother in the beginning. ... My grandmother and my mother raised Eric for about two years for me. I look at him and how he's turned out, and he would've not turned out that way without those two ladies helping to raise him."

Stress reliever: Dancing to old-school Motown or southern Gospel music

Advice for other moms: "I wanted to go back to school for a long time, but I had Eric," she said. "Whatever you dream, it's never too late to go back. Just do it."

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