Another round of thankfulness? I mean, it is Thanksgiving season, is it not? And my mom and grandma are coming to see me for the holiday! I am super excited. Y’all just don’t know how much I love them. When you meet them both you met two halves of me.
My husband likes to tell me now that I’m turning into my mother. I know the spirit in which he says it; he thinks he’s being funny, like it is something I ought to avoid. But the older I get, the better I understand the woman who raised me–who shaped me into her own legacy and light.
I remember growing up watching her, wanting to be as strong and pretty and put together. I would marvel at how she could take less than $40 and create an outfit worthy of the runway. I wanted my hair like hers, used to pray for a miracle coke bottle shape instead of my personal stick with a bootie self. I envied her ability to say just what she meant no matter who was standing there. I wanted to be effortless, centered, comfortable in myself like her–not the sensitive, prone to tears, quiet, sometimes unhappy person I was. She was everything that I wished on the inside to be.
It took me…GAWD, years to understand the costs of her being the person I wanted to emulate. The disappointments she faced that I never looked upon. The bitterness she swallowed that I never tasted. The tears she cried that I never saw. The anger she bit back that I never felt. How she made hard decisions–many for my benefit–to not be selfish and do what she was capable of. Pouring all her best into me and my brother when she could have done so much more.
Someone once told me that people never rise above their mothers–that I would never rise above my own. At the time, I took it as the insult for which it was intended, a barb to hurt me. But now? I know better. I have no choice but to rise higher than her; she has spent my entire life holding me up above her when she coulda just forsook me.
So when I hear that I am becoming my mother, I feel proud. Who else would I be and be successful? Every good thing I know that the people around me benefit from comes from her. Tenacity. Perseverance. Work ethic. Discipline. Structure. Integrity. Grit. And the will to look good doing it.
I’ll always love my mama. The more I love her, the more I love me.