It took a villiage to raise me. I know we have all heard the saying, but in this case it is actually true. What I am today is the result of various women putting their hands on me and trying to guide me the way they saw fit. Through out my teenage years, their efforts were often in vain. However, now that I have settled into my life, I believe I am actually a pretty decent person.
My mother was an independent woman. She and my father divorced when I was four, and she was on her own for quite some time. Uneducated, she worked in various gas stations supporting two daughters. I remember my mother working second shift and my sister taking on her role as she made dinner for me and saw me to bed at the proper time. What I remember most about the brief time that my mom had me, was her laugh. My mother always laughed and joked around. She seemed to enjoy life, no matter the hardships she faced. My mother taught me to smile through the tough times, because they are only a moment in our lives.
My Sister Saundra
My sister has always treated me as her daughter. When I was little, she would yell to me to not forget my deodorant as I was heading out to play with friends. She nagged me to clean my room so my own mother wouldn't have to. Saundra was a royal pain in my butt while I was growing up. When I was in second grade she nagged me so much that I was forced to run away from home. I ended up on our front porch. But, just like a mother, she has always been protective over me. Even more protective than my own parents ever were. I see alot of her personality in my oldest child. My daughter Shelby has the same mannerisims as my sister. She is sensitive, caring, and a mother hen. Saundra is also the one in the family that rarely ever took anyone's side. She is the level headed one that can maintain her temper when the rest of us is ready to scratch someone's eyes out. My sister taught me that every story has at least two sides and that I should never be quick to judge based on the one side that is presented to me.
My Grandma is the strongest woman that I have ever met. During her 79 years on this earth, she has buried three children, a grandchild, and a great-grandchild. She also watched loved ones succumb to cancer and the effects of alzheimer's. Grandma endured these hardships with the grace and strength that only comes from God. She was there to take me in on a moments notice without any extra money given to her for my care. Grandma provided a life for me when no one else wanted to. She spoke to me about the hardships of her life; not to lecture me, but to show me the consquences of her bad choices so I wouldn't make them myself. My grandma taught me how to work, how to survive, but most of all how to hold my head high and face tragedy with God by my side.
When my Granny died in 2003, I believe Heaven was overjoyed to receive her. Granny was everything that most people try to be. Proverbs 31 describes a woman that is "clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs who no fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule when she gives instructions." This was my granny. Her name was Marie, but people called her Sango. She stood all of 5'4", but was scared of nothing. She loved without condition. She forgave without remorse. And she spoke without hate. She loved her family, God, and everyone else around her. She would help anyone and everyone that needed it. When there were those in my family who were disproving of my marriage to a black man, she invited him into her home. At night, when I was little, I would kneel with her and pray. She would read the Bible to me. My Granny taught me that I had much to strive for in life. She taught me that without God's help, I would never be able to fill her shoes.
There are others that have influenced my life along with these notable women. My aunt Maria taught me to always speak my mind. She also taught me that the truth does not always set you free. And there are the women who hurt me growing up as well. I will not name them here, but I do want to thank them. You have to endure the bad to appreciate the good.
I hope everyone has a happy Mother's Day. This Sunday I will celebrate by catching up on my DVR.