Mother’s Day is every day. It is more than just a one-day highlight for all the sacrifices mothers make 365 days a year. There is no such thing as a day off for a mother. Sure, this year’s official celebration in honor of mothers have come and gone, but a mother’s job is never done. Even on what is supposed to an official day off for her, she is still working.
If she is a spiritual soul, there’s a matter of getting up early, getting breakfast ready for her children before dashing them off to church. While she’s patiently waiting for brunch or dinner at a crowded restaurant on Mother’s Day, mom is still working. My wife is guilty of this crime, checking out School Loop for any missing homework assignments or school updates on her iPhone before chowing down.
Even after a relatively uneventful day, by nightfall, mothers are frantically putting together school lunches, stuffing backpacks and integrating children into baths and showers before enforcing bedtime curfews.
When R&B songstress Karyn White sings about Superwoman, I think of my mother. When I hear the late Tupac Shakur eloquently talk out loud on the splendid Dear Mama, I think of my mother. You get one mother. That’s it. There is no redo when she leaves this earth. Motherhood is a fraternity that not everyone can become a member. Being a mother is a lot more than meets the eye.
Sometimes being a mother means toiling endless hours at two and three jobs to make ends meet for 11 knucklehead children while your husband’s career employment permanently ends and is disabled, courtesy of a freak accident at the workplace.
Sometime that means deciding trying to keep all of your children under one roof rather than risk having them deported to the foster care system, even if it means staying at home to live with an abusive husband.
Sometimes being a mother means getting up before dawn or staying late at night praying for your children so that they can stay safe and avoid some of the harshest pitfalls that life can bring. Sometimes it means sacrificing your own dreams and ambitions so that your children can make something good of themselves.
Sometimes being a mother means acting as a nurse to one of your children when he decides to go bonehead and literally run right into a wall, knocking himself unconscious. It means being the at-home, 24-hour psychologist who must find a way to soothe the emotional wounds of her children who have suffered for years at the hands of verbal, mental and physical abuse.
Sometimes being a mom means deciding to check out your kids out of school, treat them to a fabulous lunch and take them on an unexpected field trip to one of your favorite places in the world just to make them feel special. It means infusing confidence in that child to believe in him or herself even when their peers mock, ridicule and bully them.
It means standing up against the wiles of bigotry and in-your-face discrimination as that mother fights for the right to place her children in the neighborhood she wants to raise them in. It means telling your children to walk with character, to carry themselves with integrity, even when the four walls of life seem to cave in on you. Sometimes being a mother is being that nurturer your children need to guide them in the right direction they need to go in.
That’s my mother. There is no amount of money in the world that can match the countless sacrifices my mother has made for me and my 10 siblings. About a month ago, I nearly lost my mother to a massive stroke. I remember going to my mother’s hospital bed and seeing her trying to speak…after my father’s passing, it was hardest moment of my life to accept.
To see this once vibrant woman with all of her brilliant intellect and fluid dialogue in moment reduce to a shell of herself in the next reminding me of all the life lessons she’s taught me. One of those lessons was never giving up. My mother is a fighter. She fought through abuse. She fought through the dangers of childbirth to give life to 11 children. She’s fought through poverty. She’s fought through losing a husband.
And here it is again, she’s teaching me how to fight. Despite her ailments, she’s fighting through the stroke and heart bypass surgery. She can sit. She can talk. Perhaps not the way she used to, but my mother can communicate with her children with the same zeal she’s always had. She’s taken that stroke and pushed it behind her, determined to reclaim her life. This is why my mother is my hero. She never gave up on me, so I don’t have the right to give up on her.