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Happy Birthday, Mommie

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Today is my mother’s birthday, and if she were still living, she would be 75-years-old. Wow, I can’t even begin to imagine my mother at 75. She was only 36 when she passed away. Yes, she was YOUNG. It really hits me just how young she was when I see photos of people like Halle Berry, Gabrielle Union, Tamika Sumpter, and so many other actresses in their thirties and forties. I often wonder what kind of relationship my mother and I would have today if she was still alive. I know this much, she would be spoiled rotten! I would give her the world.

My mother, with me and five other children in tow, struggled financially, emotionally, and physically most of her life. But in spite of her challenges, she was a great mom. She could cook like nobody’s business, and I used to love the bread and Lemon Meringue pie she would prepare—all made from scratch. She was awesome with a sewing machine. She made most of our school clothes. Some of my fondest memories include her getting on the floor to play jacks with us. I loved it! One of her favorite sayings was “You’re slow as molasses!” She would tell us this when we were getting ready for school. I used to wonder what molasses were! Of course, I know now, and it brings a smile to my face every time I think about it.

I also remember my mother being very loving. One time I wasn’t feeling well and she immediately noticed. She came over to me and looked at me with a face coated in motherly concern. She hugged me and asked me what was wrong?  I told her my stomach hurt. The next thing I knew I was sitting on the toilet with a hot water bottle. She was giving me an Enema. I hated it, but it did make me feel better. Another thing I detested was the spoonful of Castor Oil we had to take. Yucksville! But the sucker she gave us afterward made it all worth it. I guess that’s why I’m rarely, if ever, sick today.

My mother was a striking woman who turned heads left and right. I remember the day she came to my class. All jaws dropped to the floor when she entered. “Whose mother is that?” echoed throughout the classroom. I was so proud to say, “That’s my mother!”

I also remember my mother’s last birthday.  She had just turned 36. We didn’t have much. Somehow I was able to gather a couple of dollars and I bought her a card. I can still see her sitting on the heater in our small living room, reading it. She looked up at me with her big Betty Davis eyes and her warm smile and said “Thank you.” In that moment I wanted to give her so much more. I wanted to give her the life she deserved. A life where she was healthy in every way. A life where she was protected and loved. A life where she was nurtured and supported. A life wherein she could live out her dreams.

She’s been gone for thirty-nine years now. Almost four decades. I know she’s in a better place and I believe one day we’ll be together again.

Happy Birthday, Mommie.

 

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