To me, my mother isn’t just Wonder Woman she is the whole entire Justice League. Any crisis she keeps calm and knows exactly what to do. When I was stranded in another state, car broke down in the middle of the road, got dumped by my boyfriend, stubbed my toe..it didn’t matter. She was always there for me. And through all the years where she struggled alone to provide for us, I never saw her ask for a hand or a handout. But despite her strengths, it was sometimes her weaknesses that taught me the most about life. And now that I am soon to be a mother myself, I carry these three important lessons into my journey.
If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else. As the sole provider of her house hold, my mother did everything for us. I would watch her (and still do) wake up before the sun rose to head out to work two jobs while keeping our house immaculate at all times. I teased her often for her diet of boiled yams and canned soup. But soon I realized that at the end of a long day, thats all she could muster to cook. Which prompted me to then learn how to cook so that the both of us could have a decent meal to look forward to. Putting her needs last had not only become a habit, it became a lifestyle. There were a few times in my life I saw her hospitalized from sheer exhaustion. This taught me a valuable lesson. No matter how hard things get, always remember to take time to take care of you. Self love is the first step in learning how to care for others. You cannot give what you don’t have.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Like I mentioned before, my mother NEVER asked for help. It was beneath her to beg anyone for any kind of assistance. She assumed that people judged for being a single mother, so she went out of her way to prove that she was not weak and could stand on her own. And we suffered for it. I don’t resent her for putting us through all that, but now that I am older, I see that a lot of what we went through was unnecessary. Family, friends had shown us time and time again that they loved us and wanted to help. But my mother, being independent since the age of twenty, didn’t see it that way. Her stubbornness taught me to appreciate when someone offered me a hand. And to not be ashamed of asking or receiving help. In my opinion, the beauty of life lies in these interdependent relationships we form with each other.
Have faith. Some people may think it’s foolish to pray and believe in a “invisible” God. There were many times I couldn’t understand why she kept dragging me to church, and why she kept giving her tithe when we could have used that money for something else. But she clung to her faith like a well worn coat. It was missing a few buttons, the stitching was coming apart, but you better believe that thing kept you warm. And it was going to keep you warm for a few more winters. She would always tell me that all we had in this world was each other… and God. I would wake up in the middle of many nights to the sound of her prayers into the early morning. She prayed for the house, the finances, but most of the time she was praying for me. Just knowing that there was someone who cared enough about me to lift me up in prayer, taught me a lot about selflessness, and hope. Faith was her assurance for a better and brighter tomorrow. And in the end, it got us through.
My mother is my best friend. And because we only had each other, we had no choice but to be this close. This relationship was hard earned through years of joy and pain, shared between the both of us. Our experience together has shaped and molded me into the woman I am today. But out of all the things I learned from my mother, the most important thing that she gave me was her love. An unconditional love that will be passed on through me, to my child and to generations to come.
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