From the moment a woman learn she’s pregnant, she becomes a mother. It’s at that instant she becomes a nurturer, a provider, a protector of her heart in human form and a love that will know no bounds. Many of us are blessed with mothers who will stop at nothing to give us the best they have and everything they didn’t. They push us to be the best we can and rebuild us when we fall apart. We grow in them and they grow with us throughout life, because motherhood never ends! Across the U.S. and many other countries we celebrate the influence of mothers, motherhood, and mother figures on the second Sunday of May, and as we reflect upon Mother’s Day 2K17, I thought I’d share 5 lessons I’ve learned from my Mummy:
Selfless & Caring
With all of her children grown, there’s still nothing she wouldn’t do for us, or pretty much anyone. She is honestly a person who would give you the shirt off her back if you wanted or needed it, and does it with little thought. I’m constantly pushing her to be a little more selfish. Sit down. Relax. Let the dishes be dirty or the floor be dusty for a few hours to do something she enjoys. She’s thinking about us (and by us I mean all of her children including the one’s she has unofficially adopted) always, even when she doesn’t say it. Whenever we’re out late, she never really goes to sleep until we come home. It’s funny because the next morning she will tell you exactly when you came in. Throughout college and most recently grad school, she’s sweating with us through classes we are struggling with. She’s been up in the middle of the night while I’m studying for exams and praying nervously for the results.
People often say mothers will always side with their children, right wrong or indifferent, because they’re their children. Not my mother. Don’t get me wrong, she always has our back, but doesn’t cosign foolishness regardless of who it comes from. This taught us to always strive to do what’s right and that you can still love people while they’re wrong. Integrity isn’t only about you, it’s also how you hold others accountable and how you earn respect.
My Mummy has always been the queen of making a way out of no way. Growing up I never really understood how little we had because it always seemed like we never went without. Anytime my father got laid off she carried a family of 5 on her salary without skipping a beat. For 2/3 of her children who made eating a battle every day, she somehow made spinach edible with toasted hard dough bread sandwiches with cheese. Sounds basic and probably insignificant, but it’s a testament to creativity and effort and caring enough to not only get us to eat, but eat properly—and sometimes enjoy it. She—like many Caribbean mothers—managed to make bully beef (corned beef) seem like a treat, like a real gourmet meal when it was really the total opposite. These moments make me think about how hard times are hard but there’s something to be said for people who are able to make difficult times appear effortless. Not only because you have to get through, but also for the benefit of those you are responsible for.
I remember growing up Sundays were always an unspoken family day. We didn’t go to church regularly, but it was like church to me. We woke up to breakfast. She cooked Sunday dinner and we had to set the dining table where we sat and ate dinner every week. Sometimes we had guests. But every Sunday we had dinner at that table. I thought all families did this, later I would find out that wasn’t true. It was a day for family, for connecting, for relaxing, for rejuvenating to face the week—as a unit. We ate, watched tv (football, mostly at her request), listened to music, laughed, debated topics– whatever it was, it happened together. She taught the importance of family in other ways as well. Growing up we shared a house with my parents’ siblings and their kids. We eventually got our own house and had family come live with us to get on their feet. I’ve never thought of the concept of family in the textbook nuclear definition because that has never been my life. We shared everything; clothes, beds, toys, you name it. This is about winning together, nobody gets left behind or without.
As a child I remember my friends at school talked about their mothers’ girlfriends and I wondered why my mummy didn’t have any friends. She never talked about a best friend or a girlfriend and it made me wonder if anyone liked her. I realized when I got older that my mummy really didn’t have any friends. They were all family. That’s how I saw them. Frankly speaking, around 16 I learned we weren’t related to a lot of our ‘family’. She always shares her family and welcomed others into it. Most of our friends she considers her own sons and daughters, and loves them as if they were her own. I’ve seen her mother many, without hesitation. It’s just who she is.
One of the things I’m so thankful for from my mother is keeping her culture. She made it a point that we knew who we were and where we came from. This is so much deeper than food or music, it’s about the values we honor, the sacrifices we understand, and the efforts we make every day to make worth it.
My mummy is a ride or ride. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her simply because there’s nothing she hasn’t done for me. My mother is present, involved, and overwhelmingly thorough. I’m thankful in part because sadly not every kid is this fortunate. Real talk. That’s why I’ve never had a problem sharing her. She’ll kill me if she finds out I posted these pictures but she’ll live. I think they’re dope.
As a closing note, I’d like to share an abundance of hugs to all of the mothers who’ve experienced loss. Whether you’ve miscarried, struggled with infertility, or lost a child you’ve raised in any capacity, I can only imagine the pain you’ve experienced and continue to endure. Similarly, to those with strained relationships, I hope you’re able to mend them if for nothing but your own peace. And for those who have lost a mother, I hope the memories of your loved ones absorb the sadness.
Mothers don’t get enough credit for all they do, but I’m not sure it’s even possible.
What are your favorite lessons from your mother?