“No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you’ve got, say “Oh, my gosh,” and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It’s not a question of choice.”
― Marisa de los Santos, Love Walked In
I stood outside in front of the red brick wall and beside my candy apple red two-door Honda Prelude, waiting patiently for the yellow bus full of animated offspring to arrive. As I walked her to board, she took several steps forward, turned around, and gave me a stare – one that allowed me to feel her authentic sense of disposition in that moment. It was a frown, and she was the opposite of agreeable. I waived and blew a kiss with oodles of tears rolling down my face. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on her face that day.
It was her first day of Kindergarten. She wore a blue and white summer dress with yellow stripes on it, matching bow-rats at the end of her long twists, a pair of navy blue keds canvas sneakers with white laces, and a transparent Betty Boop backpack holding all her supplies for the day ahead. That day, I experienced some form of separation anxiety, but what I did not realize was that it was the beginning of something amazing, something vital – something divine; a journey of anonymous possibilities and considerable forthcoming steps.
When my daughter was four years-old, she began taking jazz and tap dance classes with the Show Biz Kids of Washington, D.C. While tackling a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a widespread rheumatologic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder at age 11, she modified her aspirations from wanting to become a school teacher to wanting to become an actress. I imagine my reaction may have been similar to that of many mothers and those whose child changed their sense of concentration each week of the year. However elongated, the most remarkable perspective is that we get the opportunity to ride the cloud of promise with them – knowing that any and everything is indeed possible in their world. Over a series of acting classes, school and community plays, long week nights of rehearsals and theatre performances in the city, what I thought then would be a flash of forethought for her – turned out to be her passion full of purposefulness.
The first year of your daughter’s life is a chock full of milestones: the first time she sleeps through the night, rolls over, sits up, crawls, first steps, first words, or – in my Nia’s case, the first time she threw a tantrum at nine months old because she realized there was no more Haagen-Dazs ice cream left in the container or when she climbed out of her crib at ten months old and after we adjusted the railing to a much higher bar, flipped over onto the hardwood floor, picked herself up, and smiled as if nothing occurred! A number of these moments can be easily documented, however, what becomes fuzzy are the real-time moments when the heart meets the head, and dilemmas, tribulations, and necessary adjustments need to be made.
Motherhood is a blessing. It is a journey of learning how to guide, inspire, nurture, love and commit. It is a bond that covers all boundaries and crosses all borders, streams, and far-away plains. It becomes a time of great reflection, not only in our daughter’s life, but also in our own. We teach them everything we know from how to care for their bodies through the natural processes of life to how to prepare for the business world. They are our offering and we, their pillar. We must respect them just as we demand they respect us. We must honor their space, support their dreams, and nurture their sensitive emotive spirits. Being a mother doesn’t make us superior – it makes us grateful and strong.
Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew; they’re what make the instrument stretch, what makes you go beyond the norm.
~ Cicely Tyson
While I’m having both the pleasure and pain of raising two children of separate genders, both alliances bearing their own set of unique challenges and circumstances, a mother-daughter relationship is a sensitive but solid connection. Through all of the weighty conversations, silent storms, shared breaths of distance and closeness, brief moments of weirdness, and the unyielding admiration, Nia and I have managed to develop a friendship that is loving and quite extraordinary.
My daughter has molded me into the person I am today: courageous, aware, and free. She has taught me how to be patient, unassuming, and considerate, and her devotion has allowed me to become all that I can be…and more. Her wisdom astounds me and her determination to succeed in life, relentless. Aside her being my daughter, she is one of the most grounded and responsible young ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing. Having maintained honor roll from grade school through college, that five year-old pearl headed off to Kindergarten is now a twenty year-old diamond headed off to conquer the stars. A professional actress, conservatory graduate and now communications major, Nia is living up to her divine birth name, Nia Imani, which means purpose and faith.
Remember, the moments you may consider trivial are actually the ones that matter. That three-minute conversation in between preparing breakfast and parting ways for work and school in the morning; the short drive from the house to the supermarket; or even the quick phone call amid busy errands and long-distance relations – are all significant.
This Mother’s Day, flip the script. Instead of your little woman honoring you for being her mother, honor her for allowing you to be her nurturer, her leader, her queen. It is a sacred appointment and responsibility. Your position with your daughter is more substantial than you will ever know. The role you play is one that will stick and stay. After all, they are our gleam of hope, our rays of sunshine, and our shining stars in the big blue sky!
Love and Light for your Tuesday. Happy Mother’s Day Queens!