Growing up I led a very sheltered life, but, not sheltered in the “she had everything she could ever want” way. Rather, I was sheltered from the that is life, like one would shelter themselves from the rain.
In my mother’s mind, I was a blank slate, a white page that she wanted to keep as white and as pure as long as she possibly could. On my 26th birthday, as I reflect on my “younger” years, I couldn’t help but reflect on the lessons she taught me about life, death, jobs and relationships.
1. On Life & Death — Put a Positive Spin on It!
At the age of 6, my father committed suicide and what my mother never focused on was the ‘what’ or ‘how’ or ‘why’.
The ‘what happened?’, ‘how did he die?’ and ‘why wasn’t he here?’ were never important (realistically that must be awful to explain to a 6-year-old). All that was important is that he loves me and he had the best seat in heaven where he can make sure I was safe. So rather than thinking that my father abandoned me, I saw my father as my guardian angel who couldn’t be with me in the flesh but who was always there in spirit.
“If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death.” – Samuel Butler
P.S — clearly my mother also has mastered the art of deflection to avert from such questions for so long!
2. On Jobs — Your Attitude is Everything
When I was around the age of 10, my mother lost her job. My single mother had lost her only source of income in a country that was still relatively new to her, with very little family and fewer friends.
Strangely enough, this period in time never impacted me greatly because I never really knew. No emphasis was placed on this phase of our lives and therefore nothing in my life changed! After taking to me school on mornings, she’d go job hunting and then go to the library to read (why stay at home wasting electricity that she couldn’t afford to pay), and then she’ll be waiting for me at school to take me home like any other day of the year.
Nothing ever defeated my mother and every single day, she got up and she went out and she got shit done!
“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” – W. Clement Stone
Oh and save – not just save for lavish trips and clothes, save for “rainy days” because if she had not, this story would have taken a very different turn!
3. On Relationships — How a Man Treats His Mother Tells You Everything You Need to Know!
Never a truer word was said until I met Steven.
I spent weeks, maybe months watching Steven and observing how he treated not only his mother but his grandmother and his sister – three of the most important women in his life – and this told me everything I needed to know!
“Watch how a man treats his mother, this is a pretty good indicator of how he will treat you.” – Unknown
I’ve seen him be the epitome of kind, respectful, loving, caring to each of these three women. I’ve seen him hold his sister’s hand to make sure she’s not the one closer to traffic – and no she’s not 5! I’ve seen him fix his grandmother’s phone and Internet and watch youtube videos with his grandmother (and not complain once), just because she gets such great joy from watching DIY videos. And, I’ve seen him wake up at the crack of dawn to attend church functions because he knows it will make his mother happy – and he doesn’t complain!
So, it’s no surprise that he treats me in like manner – and I’m truly grateful!
In the end, listen to your mama, because mama she knows best!