By Myckelle P. Williams
Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me. For so many years, I couldn’t put my finger on it, but now I think looking back on my life, it all started with my relationship with my own mother.
Do all mothers really deserve celebration just because they gave birth? I know this may sound rude, and possibly controversial…but there are some of us that grew up without hugs, kisses, affection, love, feelings of worth and acceptance. Some of us who had mothers who were in the clubs and in the streets, and on drugs, and allowed all sorts of vile things to happen to their children. Some of us who were not protected by the ones who were supposed to protect, or held by the arms designed to hold. Some who never looked out into the audience at a play or game and saw their mother sitting there, proudly smiling and cheering them on.
…Some of us to whom Mother’s Day has a whole ‘nother meaning.
My feelings always conflict on Mother’s Day.
On one hand, I am happy because it gives me a chance to spend time with my children, feeling their love and appreciation for the time, energy and effort that I spent with them throughout their lives by making up for what wasn’t given in my own life. On the other hand, I struggle with hurt because it causes me to reflect on the fact that my mother chose to distance herself from me all of my life. As she continued to keep men and money the central focus, and left me on the sidelines. I don’t remember any hugs, kisses and sweet touches. I had to learn to do these things on my own children by practice, and by watching my husband with them. The last time I saw my mother, I asked her to make a choice between me and the boyfriend who wants me and my children out of her life. She told me that she chose him, hugged me and my children goodbye, and promptly dismissed me. After two years of caring for her day and night after her brain aneurysm, this was the final straw. I just have to face and accept the fact that the mother I always wanted, prayed, and wished her to be. She never will. It’s a fact a lot of us have to face as we hear and see commercials talking about loving mothers who shaped their children’s lives, and instilled love and morals and made them better people. We just have to make a decision to become better mothers for the next generation.
We have a chance to give our children what we weren’t given, so WE can be celebrated on those days.
And so, I have decided to make Mothers Day a celebration of the ‘Momma Two’s’. To celebrate the Fathers who raised us, the Grandmothers who hugged us, and dried our tears, the Aunts who showed up at the plays and cheered us on, and drove us to church when we needed it. Mentors who allowed us to stay at their homes, and treated us like their own kids. Best friends who took us in and comforted us when we ran away from home. Those are my chosen heroes this month.
They deserve celebration on this Mother’s Day, and always, because when our mothers could not be the mothers that we desperately needed, these ‘Momma Twos’ stepped in and shouldered the responsibilities. It saved us, and kept us from breaking…and partially healed our hurting hearts. It may have been a teacher, a mentor, a lady at church, but God sends people into your life to ‘replace’ those people who didn’t come through for you. These people seem to come out of nowhere and fill a void that is left by the ones who naturally should fill it, but for whatever reason couldn’t, or wouldn’t. To this day, all of my kids’ friends call me ‘Momma Two’ because I made it a priority to make sure that none of them felt like they were without the love and encouragement (or discipline) they needed while in my home. I love the result: watching the loving, responsible, funny young adults they are all becoming!
Who can just see a child who needs a family, and turn away?
The last time I saw my Grandmother, my ‘Momma Two’, she was laying in a hospital room, dead.
I have a vivid memory of her hands, because I stared at them for so long. I remember the nails, the color and the way they sat on her chest. She looked like she did when she took a nap, on the many times I stayed at her house to play. I was her only grandchild, so her house was set up with dolls, toys and art supplies. She encouraged my love of writing, and made me feel special each time I showed her a new project. She called me ‘Sweetheart’ and I called her “Honey”. When I looked at her hands, I thought of the cookies she baked with those hands, the times she sat up on her sewing machine, making me dresses with those hands. The times I watched her feed the birds outside every morning with those hands. I recall the times she showed me how to wash dishes, and cook, and fold, and make beds, and allowed me to comb her waist length hair, and showed me how to braid with those hands. I remember the way she even cleaned the entire apartment building steps on her hands and knees, and cut the roses outside the building to make the environment nice for everyone living there. She fed all of the neighborhood cats and I would watch her stay up late to take care of an injured one. The hands that held the steering wheel as she dropped me off at camp, helped me do crossword puzzles, and play dress up. She even showed me her art before she died. I never even knew she was an artist! She believed in speaking ‘Proper Kings English” and therefore made me speak with manners. I was not allowed to use slang, etc. She took me to restaurants to show me how to eat, and which fork to use. She held Christmas and Thanksgiving at her home, and brought the family together every year. That was until she died.
714-774-1685…was her phone number. Twenty-five years later, I still remember it. She loved cats and Koala Bears, and anytime one came on TV, I had to call her up, and we would excitedly talk about it.
After her death, her items were all sold in unpaid public storage auctions. All the 1950′s Barbie’s and accessories I played with. All the beautiful things she owned. Her antique car was given away, her cats destroyed. Her art went missing, her china split among her daughters. I was a child, and could do nothing but watch in horror. And last April, when my own mom’s home burned down, the last of my grandmother’s things was destroyed; Family pictures, mementos, and records that went back five generations.
Is Honey just a memory that I have? It feels like I have nothing left of her, but my memories of her hands. Who but me will know how she laughed, how she cracked jokes, her favorite TV shows?
That kind of stuff will all be forgotten two generations from now. I don’t want her to disappear completely… she was so much more than a distant memory! I want her life to matter.
In becoming the woman that I think she would have wanted me to be… I think it will have.
…And now it seems that
It was but a lovely distant dream
As time goes on and memories fade…
Your touch…your smell….your smile
The way you held me tenderly
All I have left of you now is what you left
Inside of me;
Laughter, hugs, thoughts, dreams,
And lessons taken time to teach
Are now (selfishly it seems)
Forever mine to keep.
Is it better to have Loved and Lost
Or never to have loved at all?
The question hangs in bitter irony
On my hearts internal wall
But even so, I’ll always have
The memory of our last night
With your arms gently wrapped around me
As we watched the day turn into night
Amazingly, even the sunset in all it’s splendor and golden light
Was nothing compared to the beauty
That reflected in your eyes.
And I didn’t know it then
That what I thought were sparkles in your eyes
Were tears that you were holding back
By what you hid inside
And I realize now that in my ‘ignorant bliss’
I never really thought you’d leave…
In painful retrospect of final hours
That I refused then to believe
Had I known it would be the last time that
You held me in your arms
…I would have told you
Just how many times you truly kept me safe and warm
…I would have clung to you for dear life
Till my hands began to bleed
And begged you not to leave my side
And kill the best in me
…I would have let you know
That no one ever loved me more in life
Never have, before you…and never since
The day you said goodbye.
They say that time will heal all wounds:
Erase the pain away
But time ain’t changed a thing for me
The agony remains.
And now all I have to hold onto
Is the Love you left with me.
So…till we meet again, my sweet
In Memory of Patricia Lyle Smith
My Momma Two
Myckelle P. Williams
B.L.O.G. Magazine Co-Founder
Myckelle P Williams, co-founder of B.L.O.G. Magazine™ and creator of the Heartwood Project™ for Women, lives in Tennesse with her husband of 20 years. She is the mother of 6 children and one grandchild. Once a teen mother who overcame the odds, Myckelle helps empower women to overcome the traumas of their past, and mentors young women over the country. Her upcoming book ‘The Road Less Traveled.” is due to be released in late 2012. For more information about her upcoming Heartwood Project™ Seminars, you can reach Myckelle at firstname.lastname@example.org