Scholars, politicians, media outlets, and public opinion imply and suggest that the Black community is in conscious disarray as a result of the overwhelming number of single Mothers raising children. While the lack of presence of the Black Father in the community does leave some households at a disadvantage, the recent barrage of negative press towards Black women creates a negative connotation towards the strongest and often understated figure of the Black community; the Black Mother.
Going back to my days in Brooklyn, my fondest memories are all connected to my Mother & my Grandmothers; the strongest women I know; the women that held down several jobs, fed hungry children, loved unconditionally, gave when they didn’t have to give, sacrificed beyond belief. All the while, smiling with pride of her creations, and quick to punch you in the chest, if need be. That dichotomy of beauty and strength is what personifies a Black Mother. The ability to withstand prejudice, racism, societal disregard & degradation is what makes the Black Mother so powerful.
In my own life, my Mother has been a constant life giving force. Her positive energy has been an example to me and she is responsible for molding me through love and force, into the man I am today. I would know nothing of manhood without my Mother. Her Godly and guiding spirit has been steady in my life for 33 years, and I am blessed to have her in my life. She has overcome the kinds of pain and loss that either makes you or breaks you. Needless to say, she made it and continues to do so with grace, humility, and style. Everything you are, makes me everything I am. And I thank you.
My grandmother…my Mom’s mom is no longer with us on Earth. Her spirit watches over me like she did when she was here. My Mom is who she is because of my Grandmother. Unlike my Mom, Mavis Thomas had a more stern and strict shell. She didn’t smile too much…but when she did, it made the sun jealous. Everyone held a sincere respect/fear for Ms. Thomas. She was quick to spit out a couple Jamaican curse words your way…with love, of course. My grandmother had an uncanny ability to read people. She knew about a person before they could speak. As the first grandchild, she loved me with all of her heart. All that she had, she poured into her “Mikey.” I remember her playing “Blessed Assurance” on the out-of-key piano where I first learned to play. Her memory and spirit stays with me always.
My Mudds…My Father’s Mom. Her spirit also watches me everyday. Our time together was cut short due to distance and years of strained family relationships, but her presence in my life was just as strong. Mudds’ presence was as big as her heart; standing over 6 feet tall. When she “asked you” to do something…you better have it down before the sentence is over.” She is yet another example of a black woman that sacrificed for her entire family; moving her 8 children from Trinidad to Brooklyn with little more than the clothes on their back. She was a living example of dedication and sacrifice. Her entire life was dedicated to her children and her grandchildren. She loved us all, but much like Mavis, all it took was one look, and a raise of her eyebrow, and you knew what was about to happen. I loved how Mudds smelled. I loved hearing her laugh. I loved the accent of her voice. I loved the stories she told. And the Roti she would make just for me! Her long salt/pepper hair flowed down her back. We used to watch her get dressed for Kingdom Hall. We knew she was ready to go when she put her lipstick on. Mudds worked hard to keep her family together and sacrificed endlessly so we could be successful. That’s what Mothers do.
And for my finale…I reflect and look upon a new Mother as she innately channels the energy of the Mothers before her. My wife Danielle, from day 0 of Motherhood showed the love and sacrifice that is embedded in the hearts and souls of all Mothers. It is the most magnificent feeling to know that our son will have the powerful feelings of love and connection that only a son can have with his Mom. It’s heart-warming to see the love that we created in our marriage transfer toward our son. I have nothing but respect and admiration for my wife. Handling a demanding job; working 50 hours/week; tending to her husband, all the while giving 150% to Ellington…with such grace…is inspiring, to say the least.
To all of the Mothers out there…the good Moms…and to the Moms that don’t recognize their power yet, please know that… we see you…we recognize you…we celebrate you…not only on the 2nd Sunday in May, but early and often throughout the year. Peace and Love,