I’ve been thinking of writing this post for at least a couple of months. I wanted it to be really sensitive and thoughtful. Something people would read and say, “Oh my God! How profound, and what a wonderful mother she has.” But as I sit here on Mother’s Day morning still pondering what I should say about my mama, I realize that’s just not who she is, or who I am for that matter. My mother is the atypical mom. She’s not very sensitive. She ‘s not affectionate, and she doesn’t like attention. She’s the truest form of introvert, a homebody that loves MSNBC, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, and if you buy her $20 in scratch-offs you are G.O.A.T! Add a nice, hot cup of coffee to that, and she’s good! She doesn’t need to talk on the phone everyday, not even to her children. She just needs to know that one of us has spoken to the other, so that she will know we are alright. That pretty much sums her up! So writing something about her that’s super sappy and saccharine would be disingenuous. Not my cup of tea.
Don’t get me wrong, my mother doesn’t lack personality. She’s funny (Lord, please don’t let her talk about 45)! She’s passionate (Have you seen me watch a football game? I get that from her). She’s intelligent (She will debate anybody, and she watches National Geographic like it’s the soaps). She’s talented (Ticks off fingers-sewing, drawing, singing…need I say more). She’s confident (Never, EVER walks with her head down! And, she hates to see people who do). She’s protective (She walked me to the bus stop until I was a 17-year-old senior in high school! Even then she knew that sexual predators where real)!
More than anything my mother wanted the best for us. She worked two jobs sometimes to make sure that we had everything we needed and sometimes the things that we wanted. My sisters went to summer camp, took piano lessons, and enrolled in gymnastics classes. I, for one, never saw a book fair that I didn’t attend or a field trip that I didn’t go on! By the time I graduated high school, I had been to San Antonio, California, Washington, D.C., and the Bahamas. I think that is pretty dope for a kid who is quite aware that many people judge her based on the neighborhood she grew up in. I think my mother knew that. She felt it. But instead of allowing that type of judgment to stop her, she dreamed of a better world for us, and she did her best to give us the tools to help us succeed.
However, she’s no superwoman! Her village was strong. While my mother worked, my grandmother was on duty, and ruled with a firm hand! The 1.) Be-in-the-house-before-the-street-lights-are-on, 2.) You-can’t-go-over-to-their-house -and-play-unless-I-know-them, and 3.) The church-all-day-on-Sunday-with-stockings-and-a-slip type of FIRM! My uncles, Billy, James, Buck, and sometimes Marvin were our babysitters and sometimes our lunch money givers. My mother had a crew, a small crew, of friends that knew her kids and helped to keep a close watch on all of us. And if they said you did it, you did it! (Except that one time my friends and I threw mud on Miss Nosey’s house…long story for another post).
Today, Mother’s Day, I’m reminded and encouraged by the fact that my mom is different. Today, I know that I won’t give her a hug or kiss because she doesn’t like that. I won’t share these super sensitive heartfelt moments with her because she isn’t like that. But, we will spend time together. We will watch tv. We will share a meal. We will laugh. We will talk about 45 and cringe together. We will gossip a little (she only gossips about her kids…CRAZY)! And to me that’s cool. Because that’s who we are; that’s who she is. You see, my mother taught me to be yourself no matter what anybody thinks. She taught me to be proud of where I came from. She taught me to be honest and giving because that is who she is. She didn’t use a lot words; she showed me by how she lived her life. And because of that, I must honor who she truly is-a hardworking, generous woman, who is really okay with the simple things in life.
I know this post may not make sense. That’s ok. Please know that as you read it, it is my heartfelt desire to tell you that if you are a mom and you are struggling, it’s ok! You’re working hard, trying to make ends meet. You yell at your kids too much. You struggle to cook a meal, so fast food is the norm; and, daily chores are still undone at the end of the day because you are dead TIRED. I just want you to know that it’s OKAY! That wasn’t my mother either. I do recall that stuff, but I don’t remember it. It’s not what I value most. Now that I’m older, I, more than anything, value the walks to school, the contributions of her village in contributing to my childhood, that she taught me to be hardworking, honest, generous and praying woman. She taught me to be tough, smart, independent thinker that can survive in a world that is designed to crush you. That’s all that matters. She’s not the perfect mom; but, she was, and is,the best mama she could be! She is what me and my sisters needed. I’m not the perfect daughter. I’m impatient. I get frustrated. I’m selfish. But my mother knows, that I try my best and she loves me for it. We are perfectly imperfect! And it’s the best thing ever.
If you have you days where you think, “I suck!” Don’t beat yourself up. Know that you are what your children need. They will recall the washed clothes, the fast food, and a clean house. But more than anything, they will come to value the time you spent with them, the sacrifices you made, the lessons you taught them about being a person of integrity. They will reminisce on your unique personality and gifts that you brought to your family and the world. So don’t try to be perfect; just do your best. One day your kids will get it and love and APPRECIATE you for the mom YOU are; not the mom you think you should be. You’re kids aren’t perfect. We know that some days you are thinking, “These kids are bad as shit!” Don’t give up. Keep planting seeds; one day they will morph into perfectly imperfect people that you love to life! So chill out and have a Happy Mother’s Day.
Shout out to my mom, Patricia K. Cass, she’s a real one. (FYI…she’s probably going to say, “Don’t be writing about me on no Facebook or whatever that is!” Then we will talk about LeBron and why he is NOT G.O.A.T. because he left Cleveland…she holds a grudge like no other).
This is my favorite pic! I was probably about to get a whooping! 😂 #shesabadass #cokebottleshape #groceriesonherhips #mymama!