You know, as I think about Mother’s Day, my mother and my childhood, I have so much to be thankful for. I sat here and thought about the woman I am and how I have gotten this far and through it all, I was a handful for my mom… a divorced single mother of two daughters, working for the Navy, making it look effortless.
Growing up, she was superwoman to me.
And there I was trying her.
I grew up constantly being reminded by family and family friends, of the statistic that affects daughters of single mothers. Reminded of how my mother was a single parent and the expectation of “failing” or “being a statistic.” By the time I was 18, I was already told that “we thought you would be the first one!” said with such amazement of me being 18, in college, working full time, and part of my college’s competitive cheer leading team… *inserts side eye* Gee, thanks close family and friends.
So I used that as fuel to do my best, to show them, to one up them, to prove to myself that I am not a statistic. But most of all, I did it to make my mother proud of me. Being a young mother, she did not want that for me. She wanted us to have and experience more out of life before settling down and having a family. No lie, she had me repeating the phrase to in response to her question, “Marie, how are you going to be when you get married?” To her friends amazement and entertainment, “THIRTYYYY-ONE!” I would happily exclaim!
Little did I realize how (somewhat) true this would be.
“I wanted more for you than this little girl from Compton. I wanted to see the world and I wanted you to have a different outlook on life and not feel like you had to marry right out of high school” my mother would remind me. “I want you to be able to eat at a $5 table or a $500 table” my mother would tell me as she enrolled my sister and I into etiquette classes while we lived in Hawai’i, learning how to be a “lady.”
As many times as she said she hadn’t the clue what she was doing, it was all part of God’s plan for me, one that I finally see, in retrospect. One that is the reason I write this today.
I sooo am my mother’s daughter.
One that challenges the norm. One that you can never tell no too. One that always and constantly pushes herself to do and be more and one who “Never lets them see you sweat.” I mean, I could never really go to my mom when I was sad about whatever situation… she would always challenge me to hold my head high and push through.
Maybe this is why my uncle still jokes with me about the “no” thing. He would always remind me of how growing up, if you told me no, I would always find a way around it to get what I wanted. Maybe being the eldest grandchild helped me here, but I always would answer “why not?” to any challenge and I KNOW, I got this from my mother.
So with her influence and drive, career became my focus and goal, until it didn’t. Then my blog and its evolution into a business became everything for me until about last year January! A time where I finally realized that I am ready. Or that I thought I was for that next chapter in my life- marriage, family, and all of that jazz. I mean, do not get me wrong, I have had my fun with dating and relationships with the many lessons learned and all, but now, I wanted something more.
But this Mother’s Day, means a bit more to me… now that I am in this chapter of my life, across the country from my mom. One that, as I clean, wash, and do my own thing out here in Atlanta, I see MORE of what my mother said, taught, and did for my sister and I.
My mother, the single mother, was indeed superwoman, raising two little girls who never knew of a glass ceiling, who always challenged their own limits and who despite all odds, turned out okay.
My mother, who served 23 years in the navy and then rocked a part time bartending job to ensure my sister and I had a few nice things, never let my sister and I see her sweat.
My mother, who made PB&J sandwiches sound and feel like a feast, who swore we were barely making ends meet, filled our childhood with her love and hilarious memories, who strived to give us more than what she had, she did that.
My mother, who I now see as an adult, whose pain, scars, and weariness she attempted to hide, now revealing itself unabashedly, as a strong, flawed, and interestingly layered woman- I am humbled and blessed to call you mom.
This Mother’s Day, as I cannot be with you in person, given the 2500+ miles, I write this note to you to say thank you. Thank you for you sacrifices, the kick in the ass, the discipline, the advice, the recipes on how to make a kick ass steak on the grill, the obsession with board games! Thank you for the never-give-up spirit you’ve instilled in my sister and I. Thank you for never allowing me to wallow or self-sabotage my dreams and for always reminding me to live life fully.
I am all of who I am because of you and as the daughter of a single mom, I salute you and I can never say thank you enough.
I LOVE YOU MOM!