This is Victoria Khanimov she is a woman who wears many hats. This is her story through the eyes of her daughter.
This is my mother, and this is her story. Born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Victoriya Khanimov grew up in a simple family, living a comfortable life. Back in Samarkand, her family didn’t practice religion as much, but lived more of a traditional lifestyle. At the age of 10, her and her family of five decided to leave their country for a better life, and immigrate to America. Although, it was a long process of flying through Austria and Italy, they arrived and finally settled in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
She attended Yeshiva R’tzahd for elementary, then Merkaz Bnos for high school, where she became super popular with friends, and graduated at the age of 16.
She was able to pursue her artistic abilities in many ways, decorating our beautiful tables at home, painting murals on our walls. She put together gift baskets and flower centerpieces, planning party decorations, window designing, face painting/Hena designs and so much more. She always views the world as an artist. Everywhere we go and in everything she does, my mother finds beauty and she incorporates it in her future works. By embracing different creative outlets throughout her life, my mother was fortunate to discover her passion for art. However, it took her many obstacles to come to where she is today. After high school, she wanted to enroll into an interior designing program in FIT, however because her family wasn’t exposed to this career field, they persuaded her to find a degree leaning towards the medical, law, or architectural field. Knowing that these field didn’t interest her, she attended CUNY Hunter College to acquire a bachelors in computer science and psychology. She met my father Sam and they dated for 3 years. In June 2000 she graduated undergrad, that summer and they got married.
She starting working as a system analyst at an automotive company and moved to the financial department working as a financial analyst. She has been there over the 20 years. She is extremely well respected and loved by many of her coworkers. Over the years, she had been busy with raising five children, working a full time job in the corporate world and of course pursuing her passion for art.
Within the first 5 years of marriage, my parents had 2 kids and were living in Brooklyn. During that time my mom decided she wanted to go to law school, she studied for the LSATs, worked at SMP full time and also worked part time in the evenings at her friend’s law firm. She was scheduled to take her test and had to postpone taking it. She rethought law practice and decided it was not the lifestyle she wanted for her family. Many attorneys wouldn’t leave their offices until late at night.
Many women ask for diamonds and lavish vacation for their birthdays-my mom asked my dad for classes to flower school of design. She took 8 weeks of extensive classes on how to design flowers. She thought that maybe she would open up her own florist shop. Due to long hours on holidays and weekend, she decided that she didn’t want to start up her own business. In the evenings and on the weekends she wanted to be there for us. Many people told her to open up her own thing, but she refused to have us be raised by nannies.
My parents purchased their first home; and a year later she had another daughter and now we were 5.
TURNING POINT IN LIFE
They lived a nice peaceful life and seven years later, decided they wanted another child. Mom got pregnant, but unfortunately miscarried (this was her second). Emotionally it wasn’t easy for her but she stood strong for all of us. Soon enough she got pregnant with her fourth daughter and this pregnancy was none like any others.
At her 3 months pregnancy mark, there was an eye opening experience for my family, affecting each and every one of us. One night, our family of five (and a half), had experienced a terrible occurrence, where we witnessed our house catch on FIRE. Not knowing how to act at first, we instinctively ran out without anything, but ourselves. This night changed our family dynamic forever. Realizing that we have experienced a G-d given miracle, with everyone coming out safe, we’ve come to realize the precious value of time and appreciation for our loved ones. At the time, we moved in with my grandparents, it wasn’t easy but the outpouring love and support and all family, community and friends was overwhelming. Because she was pregnant and living in a different space many times she felt worried and down. The story of our fire changed all of us because it made us realize not to take life for granted and to live every day to the very fullest. My mom said she will live with her fullest potential and strive to become her best self. We can all look back at this event as a horrific tragedy that occurred however now that we overcame it, we look back at it and realize that it was a blessing hidden as a curse. It truly shaped all of us as a person and showed us how life can be taken away in a second. In life we don’t get to decide what comes into our way, but it is our decision whether we want to extinguish our personal flame or let it rise. To redirect her energy into positive my mom began to focus on her artistic abilities. In the aftermath of the fire, my mom aimed a lot of her focus on art and would find joy in sketching and painting, and began to rekindle her creative passion.
She then had another child and when we moved back we were now a family of 6. Starting a new life in a new home was exciting and scary at the same time, we made the best of it! A few years after that my parents had their 5th child and thankfully we are now a very busy household.
One day, one of her friends Enessa offered for her to do a sip and paint party for her daughter, where she would be provided supplies and paints. She then realized that she had a love for sharing her art with the world. With that inspiration, came about another career. She started to expand into party planning events, massive sip and paint parties for shuls, schools, salons, bat mitzvahs, remote, anniversaries, and more! As a self-taught artist, she was constantly looking to expand her creativity in the art world. She would focus on creating her own art pieces, using diverse techniques such as mixed media, acrylics/oils/watercolors on large canvases, painting with coffee, doing sand art, burning engravings on wood, doing face painting, doing henna at parties and so much more. She recently began a new style of painting known as “paint in the moment”, where she would sketch and paint the feeling and presence of people at a celebration. This is her new venture that she wants to grow in. Who wouldn’t want the painted canvas of their wedding day with the pieces of original Chuppah glass in their home. After moving back into our home, my mother was able to create her own personal art studio where she would paint and be able to expand her work. Our basement is filled with her art pieces, which she hopes one day to present in an art gallery. She also recently began teaching art classes to kids of all ages on weekends or after her 9-5 job. Being able to express her passion in many ways is very inspiring for me and my siblings. Because our mother knew the importance to chase after ones passions, she was able to support any of her children’s dreams. By exposing and directing us to all that the art world has to offer, my siblings and I have found passions in the arts. In each and every one of her children, she was able to promote creativity in us. Whether it was sports, dancing, cooking, fashion, painting etc.., she never turned back from supporting our passions, just as she didn’t with her own.
This fire truly changed not only my mom but our entire family. Every single day, a person will decide his or her own destiny based on how they themselves react to certain situations.
My father and mother have amazing families and great friends! When they were married, my grandparents on both sides always supported my mom in all her decisions. This of course gave her the boost and the confidence to grow and progress in all matters. We, too always support our mom and learn so much from her.
After the fire, we had become much more observant with Shabbat, holidays and kashrut. It was important to us to unplug from the crazy working schedules, school technology and spend that time enjoying everything my parents work so hard for. The value of a family and a good home is extremely important to us.
Thank you to all who nominated for my mom, as in my eyes she truly exemplifies a strong woman who perfectly balances life, family, career and her passion drive and leadership to always create with her ARTISTIC MIND!!!