Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Song For Mama


I miss my mother. Everyday I think about her at least once: her beautiful smile, the way she would laugh until tears poured down her cheeks, her fierce determination to raise a strong family. Everyday the fruit of her nurturing emerges in the essence that is me.

Sometimes her memory fills me with so much joy that my whole day is made better. Other times I pick up the phone to dial her number and then I realize there will be no one to answer it. And please don't let Boys II Men's A Song For Mama play on the radio. I'm completely done for the rest of the day. You might think my mother has been gone only a short while. It's been eight years; it feels like eight months.

My intention is not to make you sad for the rest of the week. Quite the contrary, I want you to enjoy your loved ones and bask in the glow of their love. Allow them, also, to bask in the brilliance of yours. I want you to live every moment like it is the single most important moment of your life...because it is. It is!

I learned as a young girl that giving birth is not a necessity of motherhood. A mother is a woman who dedicates her life to your care, safety, and growth. She ensures that every important need of yours is met and she will lay down her very life so that you can have one.

My mother did not give birth to me, but she loved me like I was her very own. I remember that I wanted so badly to call her "Mom," but something inside me would not let me do it. I used to think that it was some misguided loyalty to my birth mother that prevented my actual mother her rightful place in my heart. I now know that wasn't the truth, not the whole truth.

I couldn't call her "Mom" because I associated that word with hurt. Moms leave you alone for days a time, forcing you to beg a neighbor for a few slices of bread to feed your younger siblings and yourself. Moms give you away to relatives and never bother to call and ask if you're okay. Moms never come back to get you. Moms don't love you. Oh, they say they do, but they don't. Not really. So, you see, if I called her "Mom," she would then have to live up to the image I held in my head and heart. But as long as she was just "Grandma," she would love me for the rest of my life.

And she did. Even though she's not here now, I can still feel her love residing inside me everyday. She didn't have to love me; she chose to love me and I am such a better person for it.

If your mom is still alive, cherish every second you have with her. She may drive you crazy, she may criticize your every decision, she may be absolutely insufferable, but she's the only mother you have. She dedicated her life to your care, safety, and growth. She would lay down her life to save yours. She loves you exactly how you need to be loved. Pay attention to what I just said. I didn't say she criticizes exactly how you should be criticized. I didn't say she judges exactly how you need to be judged.  The word I used was love. Sometimes we're so angry at what someone says or does to us that we forget that what they're really trying to do is express their love. Do you know what I would give to have my mother criticize me one more time? I don't have that option, but some of you still do.

Pick up the phone and call her. Buy her a beautiful "Thinking of You" card and mail it to her. Spend some time with her. And when she inquires as to when you're planning to dump that no-good boyfriend of yours, hug her and say, "Oh, Mom! Thank you so much for loving me!"

Until next week,

Feed on love; subsist on peace.

"Mama...Mama, you know I love you.
Ooooo, you know I love you, Mama.
Mama, you're the queen of my heart.
Your love is like tears from the stars.
Mama, I just want you to know
Loving you is like food to my soul."

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