“I AM WHO I AM, BECAUSE YOU ARE, YOU ARE.”
No, I am not responsible for the above lyrics. They are from an iPhone/Sprint web commercial in honor of Mother’s Day. I am not much for commercials, but I am an admitted sap, and when I heard those words, well, my heart warmed with familiarity and love. The thing is that my mind churned over an upcoming post (this post) for my dear Mother. As of late, my life has been a flurry of stressful news, but on Thursday, I remembered that Sunday was Mother’s Day. I could not let the day go by without expressing my gratitude to my mother.
I am blessed, and I know it. I know countless members of my family and friends for whom the day brings nothing more than bittersweet memories because their mothers have passed. At the same time that I ache for their loss, I am infinitely grateful that my mother sits a mere three doors away enjoying one of her favorite television programs. Over the years, I’ve learned a great deal from my mother. Like most of us, I did not realize that when I was growing up. I thought that she had little to teach me. As I grew older, I began to realize the wisdom of her quiet teachings. The positive traits within me were gifts from my Mother, and for which I am deeply indebted. I treasure them as much as the woman who handed them down to me.
With that said, I introduce to you, the woman who I am proud to call my Mother:
- A mother and child’s relationship begins from the womb. Studies show that even from the womb, babies can sense their mother’s emotions. I imagine my prenatal self, moved by my mother’s SELFLESSNESS when, even though she was 18 years old with a bright life ahead of her, she chose to give that up and have me.
- She taught me STRENGTH and GRACE in the face of an obstacle when my father abandoned us and left her with three small girls to raise. At the time, she was a stay-at-home mother with no outside employment. She wasn’t even left with any clothes for us.
- Instead of bemoaning her fate, she jumped into ACTION to find a job to care for us. Her HUMILITY, FORTITUDE, DETERMINATION, and DRIVE led her to a job cooking for the Archdiocese of New Orleans where she remained for 42 years.
- Throughout her life, she has sought to maintain her INDEPENDENCE so that she would never be forced to solely rely on anyone for her well-being.
- Over the years, her TIRELESS WORK ETHIC has been epic. From as far back as I can remember, Mom worked up to three jobs to put food on the table, keep a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and to give us a Catholic school education to prepare us for a better life than she. As we grew into adulthood, she continued to work multiple jobs. Hurricane Katrina forced her to slow down. Later, even after a stroke and a broken hip, she is usually washing and folding clothes, cooking delicious meals and cleaning, as best she can.
- Even though we were poor, my mother stressed PRIDE in our appearance and decorum.
- My mother has many tragic losses in her life, including the loss of my brother. Through it all, she maintained her fervent FAITH, TRUST, and BELIEF in God.
- After she had a stroke and lost much of her independence, she displayed a level of calm ACCEPTANCE that allowed her to forge a new path in life.
- She has always chosen to LIVE IN THE MOMENT and eschews being bound by the past. Of all of her qualities, I envy this one most.
- Although she doesn’t use these words, she lives by the edict that “IT IS, WHAT IT IS,” and refuses to let circumstances out of her control, control her.
- She has COMPASSION and KINDNESS for all, including those with less than she. Her GENEROSITY led her to make plates of food for neighborhood people in need and to offer ready help to those who needed it.
- She is DEDICATED to and LOVES her family and many friends.
- Her FEARLESSNESS led her to live for decades across from a housing project, which, for a while, was named the most dangerous in the country.
- She personifies HONESTY.
- Her LAUGHTER echoes throughout the house.
So on this special day set aside to honor our mothers, I say to mine, “Dear Beautiful Mother, I thank you and I love you most. Your decision to have me changed the direction of your life and for that, I owe you my life. As I grow older, in my eyes, you grow taller and taller. Little by little, the blinders that have obscured the whole of you, fall from my eyes and I recognize you in me, and that makes me smile. I think back to the time when I thought to myself that I never wanted to be like you and here I am relishing the fact, that the better parts of me are from you. You’ve been my cheerleader, benefactor, promoter, referee, banker, teacher, coach, doctor, savior, chef, counselor, shoulder to cry on, friend, offensive coordinator, warden, mentor and more. I am grateful for these roles that you’ve played. Yet, all pale in comparison to the Mother that you’ve been to me. I am blessed to know you and be your daughter. It is my hope that I have given my children a fraction of the goodness that you’ve given me. I love you, love you, because you are, you are. With love and gratitude, your daughter, Lydia”
Happy Mother’s Day to Moms of every stripe and color, be you a step-Mom, GrandMom, Father/Grandfather in the role of Mom, Guardian, foster Mom, co-Moms or what have you!!! You are serving a vital role in our society and you deserve our gratitude every day.