My Rock, My Mama G.

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am

I owe to my mother”   -George Washington

Growing up, people used to always tell me that I looked like my mother. At the time, I  didn’t see that as a compliment; my mother was forever tired from running around with my brother and I so I refused to see what they saw. She was always an attractive woman, looking younger than her years, but it wasn’t physical beauty that most people were speaking of. Right around my 19th birthday, she had to have a very serious surgery which thankfully she made it through. When she was laying in her hospital bed struggling to get her mental and physical faculties back together, I finally saw it. While I’d seen her at vulnerable points before then, I had never seen her at such a crossroads of vulnerability and strength. I was forced to pause and take a good look at the woman who was responsible for me. In her eyes I saw love and peace, in her skin I saw grace, and in her hands I saw the feminine dogged determination and strength of a nurse. For the first time, I really saw my mother. And I cried. I crumbled, humbled by her strength and awestruck by the fact that she saw what she was going through as a reason to rejoice. At the sight of my tears, she reached to her bedside, picked up a tissue, and wiped my eyes like she had so many times before that. I’d cried in anger because of her punishing me for doing wrong, I’d cried because of puppy love, and I’d cried over the sista girl drama of the day. That one action of her mothering through her pain let me know that I was blessed. She wasn’t always what I wanted, but she was everything I needed.

I got it. That day she went from only being my mother to being my mother and my best friend. I’m so blessed to have her in my life to this day. I find myself sharing my joys, my anger, my sorrow, and even my everyday junk with her and that’s okay. I’m a full grown adult who still calls home just to talk to mommy. 3 AM, noon, no matter. Frazzled nerves? Pissed at the boss? It’s okay. Sometimes only a chat with mommy can fix it. I saw that day in the hospital a woman with faults, with weaknesses, with strength and beauty. I got it.

One of the first things people say when they see my mom and I together is that we look so much alike. “You look just like your mom” is no longer received begrudgingly on my part, but rather with pride. It is my hope to one day truly look like her from the inside out.

Pardon the stream of consciousness rambling of this post; there just aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to describe my feelings about her. She’s my rock, my Mama G. And I’m a damn lucky daughter. I know one day she won’t be here anymore, but my life will have been better for her presence.

I love you, mama. Happy Mother’s Day.

-Your baby girl

More Stories From Mama G.

My mom thought it would be cute to regale D with some stories from my childhood when she called this past Sunday. Wait, who the hell am I kidding? She was telling stories simply because the day ended with “y”. I think it’s part of motherhood to have an innate ability to tell the worst stories about your kids. Anyhoo, this is one that D refuses to stop laughing at and has since told a bunch of his friends, who have in turn decided to tease me mercilessly. I really wish I didn’t remember this in such detail, but since half the state of Maryland has heard it, I may as well share it here:

When I was about four or five years old my mom, my brother, me, and my mom’s boyfriend (RIP) went to the movies. Standing in front of us was a very large man wearing Wrangl.er Jeans. You know, the kind with the “W” embroidered on the back? See here:

This was a big azz man so of course his pockets took up maaad space on his behind. DOOOUBBLLEEE-YOUUUU and shyt. My smart, Kindergarten-educated self didn’t know that the “W” represented a brand. Ohhhh nooo, not me. Nevermind the fact that I knew what Levi’s and Sassoon’s were (I’m showing my age with the Sassoons). Nevermind the fact that my brother refused to part with his Lee’s (ol’ New Edition wannabe azz), and all of those brands had their own back pocket designs. Nope.

Me (loud as hell): MAMA!! Do the W’s on the man’s booty mean WIDE??

*mom gives me that ‘I’mma need you to shut up rat now’ look*

Me (still loud): WHAT!!?? Does it mean WIDE?? (Brother’s name), does it mean WIDE or what? Why is mom looking at me like that!!?

Brother (through gritted teeth): Shut up. Shutupshutupshutup!

Me (loud, not seeing the need for the hostility): Is that his SIZE? WIDE? LIKE HIS BUTT?

Brother: Jesus.

Mom’s Boyfriend (kind of whispering): No, that’s the brand. And that’s not nice!

Me: So you’re saying W is a brand? I’m not being mean! His butt is WIDE!

Brother: Jesus.

*man walks toward the theater*

Brother: Do you see? He moved away because of you.

Me: He’s getting popcorn.

Mom: It’s a brand, child! Wrangler!! Wrangler!! Now stop talking. We need to get popcorn.

Me: How is that? Wrangler starts with an “R”, mommy! His butt pockets are spelled wrong!

Brother: Jesus. I’m going to play a game. I have quarters.

Mom’s Boyfriend: Wrangler is spelled W-R-A-N-G-L-E-R. It’s right.

Me: I don’t like it at all

For whatever reason, I wasn’t pleased with Wrangler Jeans for spelling their brand that way. My mom says after the movie, I asked if I could get help writing a letter to the company to tell them they need to spell the word R-A-N-G-L-E-R instead because the silent “W” wasn’t working for me. I don’t remember all of that, but knowing me…it happened that way.

The Day My World Went Black…

Growing up, I had a huge amount of respect for my mom. After all, she was a single mom raising her kids and doing a pretty good job at it. There was also the fact that she’s 6’1″ and I was a lot shorter than that, so I had to literally tilt my head backward to see her whole face as a kid. Umm…yeah, I still tilt my head back since I’m 5’7″. Even in heels, I’m only to her eyebrows. Being that much shorter than someone makes you have additional respect…and fear.

Even though I had lots of respect for my mom, I still got to acting a stone cold fool when I was 14 or so. I had my first real boyfriend and he had a car, so you couldn’t tell me nuthin. I was as good as grown in my own eyes. I even had the nerve to sneak out the house a few times to go sit in the park with the boyfriend who’d also snuck out his house. Nothing went down in the park, but just the fact that we were there — after midnight, *gasp!* — with no one knowing was good enough for us. I’d always been a pretty good student and I continued that, but I started getting sarcastic with teachers and random adults.  One day my biology teacher said something about me not totally understanding what I’d read in the textbook, so in response I snapped back, “Well maaaaaybe I need to learn to read again. Hmph!” When mom dukes caught word of that, she grounded me faster than Usain Bolt can run a 100m race.

This is where things go bad. I was NOT appreciative of being grounded and having my computer, TV, and phone taken out of my room and I felt the need to protest. Loudly. To my mom. Lawd.

Me: You CAN’T take those things from me. And you will NOT ground me!!!

Mom: *whips around to look at me* What!?

Me: You heard what I said, mom. You’re NOT grounding me. And that’s that.

Mom: *through gritted teeth* Li-tt-le girl… (I should have known better by that statement)

Me: Who are you calling little girl? Bitch!

Suddenly from the corner of my eye I saw a hand came flying at me from my left and there was darkness. Fade to black. When I woke up I was in my bed with dried tears on my face. I have no idea how I got there, nor do I have any idea how long I’d been there. However, there was no computer, no TV, and no phone to be seen.

When I got myself together enough to get up, I went to find my mother. I found her sitting in the living room with a glass of wine watching TV like nothing happened. “Hi. Woke up from your nap?”, she said. Touché mama, touché. My heart wanted to protest again about the unfairness of my punishment but I reached up to my face, felt the sting, and thought better of it. Not to mention my pride was bruised. “Yes ma’am. Sorry about earlier.”, I managed to squeak out.

She accepted my apology and left me grounded for a week. For a good two weeks I swore she knocked me unconsious but it turned out that she just backhanded me so hard that I stood there stunned and started bawling so she carried me to my bed where I sobbed myself to sleep. Boyfriend and I broke up later in the week because I wasn’t about to sneak out the house again to hang out with me. Not with the incredible hulk mama sleeping a few doors down. I may be a lot of things, but completely stupid ain’t one. I realized that 14 isn’t exactly grown, and learned perhaps the most important lesson of all: Do not in any way call your mama out of her name, no matter how old or how grown you (think you) are. I’m *cough*hoveringatagethirtyforever*cough* and I’d still never try that mess. The memory is too fresh. Anytime after that when I wanted to cuss my mama out, I just did it in my head. Even then I’d be scared that she could read my mind so I would start reciting scripture in my head instead, Jesushelpme.

We don’t talk much about ‘the incident’ now, but every now and again when I’m getting too big for my britches in her eyes, she’ll say, “Wake up from your nap?”. Yeah. Ouch.