Mama Said as Mama Sighed...

Happy Mother's Day!

I was raised by three women, three very strong women, and three very strong, different women. Not to say that my dad wasn’t around, but they handled the day-to-day duties of raising me from a boy to a man. My mother had me at 14, so I was essentially raised as my grandmother’s fifth child, my aunt Danielle is only 5 years older than me. In fact, I called my mother Tracey for the first few years and call my grandmother mommy until this day. Later on, the distinction between the two became “Ma” for my mother and my grandmother remained “Mommy”.

My great-grandmother was the head of the family. She was the spiritual lead of our clan, the matriarch. Everything began and ended at her house. Sunday dinner, Bible study, holidays, birthdays, cookouts, Uno, fried fish on Friday. She took the entire family to church, made sure we were all there for Sunday School. My grandmother was the fire of the family. She would tell you what was on her mind at a second’s notice. She was a single mom, raising five kids, working a job or two, collecting welfare; she was hustling to make sure we were straight. She always pushed us to be our best, don’t take nothing from anyone and to look our best at all times.

My mother is a combination of the two, she’s religious, spiritual, fiery, supportive and beautiful. She’s raised two children, who I must say have turned out okay and made a way for herself in the world. It wasn’t always easy, not just because she was a teenage mom, but the cards we were dealt weren’t always the best to play against life. Yet, she mastered computer software, climbed corporate ladders and put her children in a better position to take on the world. Isn’t that what parenting is supposed to be about?

Coming up, I don’t recall ever wanting for anything and not getting it. My mother and grandmothers made sure I had what I wanted, my aunts made sure I got to where I needed to be, my grandfather built a pool and cooked ribs. I lived with my grandmother until I was 12 and we would watch basketball and baseball all night long, mixed in with movies. Danielle, do you remember when Mommy used to pick us up from school on Friday; we’d go get subs and then go to Easy Video?

My mother is the most supportive person in the world. Anything that my sister and I have been involved in, she’s been right there. Sports, academics, theatre, shoot, my friends and I started throwing parties and she was right there on the dance floor. We've repaired the strains in our relationship developed by distance and my selfishness, but every day I know how much she loves me and I know she sees how much I appreciate all she’s done for me. All she has ever asked of me is that I do my best at whatever I do and I know there have been moments when I may have disappointed her, but she’s never shown it. In fact, she just pushes me harder. I like to think we do a good job of keeping her proud.

The three women who’ve influenced my life the most have pushed everyone in my family to be better. That’s what we do; we pull the best out of each other. We don’t have a large family, but we have a strong family, built upon the foundation my great-grandmother set, my grandmother improved on and my mother perfected.

Leave a respond