Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Sixth Sense

Life is what you make it.  I've learned that through so many lessons and in so many ways over the years.  Most of those lessons i've learned have been from the women in my life.  Some have been my ride or die homies who have mothered me through whatever emotional or physical trauma I was experiencing to the random momma stranger on the street who's momma .  It was these moments that made me understand the importance of my circle of women.  

I'm so thankful for the many times I was emotionally rescued by these surrogate mothers in my life also known as my friends, my sisters, my aunties, my co-workers, my son's friend's moms, my friend's moms, and at the top of that mom .  Women who had no obligation to my healing.  They simply were expressing their mother-nature, an extremely challenging emotion to avoid.  It's like an impulse...much like child birth when it comes time for a woman to push, it is an impulse that women cannot stop themselves.  It just happens.  There are no questions of weather she wants to push, she just needs to...impulse.  The impulse to mother weather a woman has physically given birth or not is simply an additional sense...touch, smell, taste, hear, see, nurture...I believe it is the sense that makes a woman.  

So imagine that extra sense in action when a woman does become a mother.  When the universe bestows on her a child(ren).  The sense of nurture becomes the dominant sense to the fives senses which are now tools used to strengthen or sharpen the nurturing of a child.  Making sure that all spaces the child comes in contact with is safe to touch, smell, taste, hear and see...making sure to keep the child away from anything that could adversely affect the "sub-senses".   

In my space of thankfulness...I acknowledge myself for showing up when it was super challenging but knowing that my heart was full of love and nurture for my son.  I chose not to stop.  I chose to nurture and him and shield him from the negativity that he has touched, smelled, tasted, heard and seen.  I, his mother, chose to be just that...his mother and boy am I blessed because although it has been 16 plus years, I am still amazed that I was the one chosen to raise him, I was the one chosen to guide him, I was the one chosen to love him, I was the one chosen to be his mother.    In that acknowledgement, I also know that in choosing to mother him, I must also remember to allow myself to be allow someone else to use their sixth sense to help me heal and be my strongest self so that I can be the best mom to my boy.

Ashe...Happy Mother's Day!

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Denying Thy Self

Who are you?  As we embark on the journey of motherhood so many of us find ourselves merging our childhood, teenage, young adult dreams with the dreams that we now have for the being that we've birthed from our loins.  This representation of all things beautiful, free, innocent and right about you.  So your focus, ok, my focus is now place squarely on this gift releasing any dream distracting you from the gift.  

Funny thing is, that gift i've fallen on the sword for...that gift I've selflessly starved my desires and dreams for...that gift that was born of me...specifically chose me, which means releasing my wishes and desires...the same desires and passions that helped form this gift is actually you denying the gift...this representation of all things beautiful, free, innocent and right about you is denied the opportunity to meet their maker...really know their affirmed by their maker.Moral of the story mother...don't give up who you are by letting go of those dreams and desires that  inspired this gift to be birthed through you.  Motherhood is not only about nourishing and nurturing the lives you've been charged with raising...Motherhood is about nourishing and nurturing self not denying self.

Mabel aka My Mommy

I love my mother so much!  She has been my rock and my salvation.  She has been the person who understood me the least but comforted my in ways that no other being could satisfy.  I love my mother.

Ms. Mabel...

Like many folks, I really didn't start getting to know the woman whom I called mom until later in life.   She was always just mom.  It didn't help that she was also very guarded as are many african women, so wearing her emotions anywhere on her person was not a thing, unlike her daughter whose emotions should be tattooed across her face...Just sayin'.

My mother's name is Mabel.  She is the second youngest child out of six.  She was raised in Zimbabwe with her parents and siblings (3 sisters and 2 brothers) on a farm.  My grandmother was a midwife and my grandfather farmed but also was a musician.

My mother has always been driven; so much so that she left the home that she new in Zimbabwe at sixteen to come to the US as an exchange student.  Did she fly from warm Zimbabwe to Florida, Atlanta, California, The Carolinas?  No, she flew to Green "Damn Winters Are Rough" Bay Wisconsin!   She was one of the only people of color in Green Bay so of course she ended up in the newspaper.  Anywho, she finished high school there and decided to move to Chicago where she attended DePaul and became a nurse.  She met my dad, who was also from Zimbabwe and going to law school at the time, on a blind date.  Not to long after they met, they were married and then them had me.  They weren't married very long.  Dad moved back to Zim and mom stayed in the states and raised me. These are all the facts of her life.  This is how she always presented herself to me and the world.  The fact of the matter is my mother was alone in another country, raising her child by herself, trying to keep a roof over our head, finishing school.  She was also dealing with what i'll call emotional issues as I don't want to get to deeply into that.  She struggled.  I believe by the time she was 30, her vision verses her reality were very different, so I think she started to isolate herself.  Her life was now all about work and me.

It wasn't until I had a child that I started to really ask questions of my mother.  Who are you mom?  Why did you come to the states?  What do you love?  What were your dreams?  How many came true?  What are your fears?  So many questions I asked her and soon realized that so many years sat between her past dreams and her present reality that she really had few answers for me.   That broke my heart and made me realize how much she truly sacrificed for me and my future.  She released her dreams to make room for mine or at least make room for her dreams for me...Like i said, my didn't completely understand me growing up, i know she loved me.

Being the age now that I was when she was really loosing control of her mental state, i'm amazed by her.  She somehow managed to deal with my teenage angst and keep her job at a prominent hospital for many years.  She was a great nurse despite her mental state.  She also tried dating and almost married a man from home, but he was violent with her.  She survived that too.  This was all around the age that I am now (forty something).  So much trauma yet she still stood.  I'm definitely not as strong as she was at this stage in her life.

Fast forward to the present.  My mother is in her 70s and struggling through physical pain, memory loss, being overly medicated and not living in a place that she feels good about.  She smiles so sweetly when she sees her grandson or I touch her and look deep into her eyes and tell her I love her. She hugs me so much more than when I was growing up.  She even says she loves me without me even soliciting.  Her mind sometimes take her back to her youth when things were more simple and will share a nugget or two about her you with me.  Those are the only time she really remembers anything outside of working and raising me.  Those details are starting to blur more too.
I know her heart wants to reconnect with her sister back home, but she always says "it's not God's will".  She is so loved by everyone who meets her because her spirit is so incredibly sweet.  She looks at me with so much love and light and pride...she also looks at me with sad and helpless and hopeless eyes, but only until she starts to see me as her daughter and not a woman in her space who is listening and loving her.  She is generous in love and material things, even when she has nothing to give, she will give her last dollar if it means making me or her grandson happy or at least smile.

Words I never thought I would say: I pray to be more like my mother in her strength, resilience, and loving heart.

My mother is my moral compass, my strength, my gold standard, my light.  I thank you God that she raised me.  I thank you God that she loves me so much and so hard that I learn to love myself.

I thank you God for the woman I have been blessed to call mom.