Saturday, May 12, 2012
My Single Mother on Mother's Day
A few years ago, when my mother and I were still on speaking terms, we drove by the home we use to live in. The house of my childhood looked like a mansion when I was little but as a grown man the house was smaller than I remembered it being. Through bad choices and tough breaks my grandmother lost our home my junior year of high school. Everyday, for the rest of her life, I told my grandmother that losing our house was not her fault but since we were removed from the land that had been in our family for generations and we were removed from their on her watch she never forgave herself. My mother had not been to our home in close to twenty years. I had seen my mother cry before but how she cried that day was different. The tears of regret are more bitter, more obscene, and more painful than the tears that are shed when one is sad. My mother had regrets. I am sure she still does. As a man I have no clear concept of what she faced when she tried to raise me, a son. I do not know how many times she thought of my absent father when she combed my hair or read me a bedtime story. As a person who plays a very active role in the lives of his children it would be easy for me to judge my mother for all the missed opportunities she had, the missed birthdays, and missed holidays that passed by her after she left me. If I were to judge her today I would not be any more different than the people who judged her when I was a child. The people in my community who always asked, "Where was my father?" "Why does your son look like a hot mess?" "Honey, when are you going to feed that boy?" It seems to me that my mother, as a single mother, had to answer more questions than mothers who had a husband or a boyfriend. God bless single mothers because they do the work of both mother and father at the same time. Single mothers, who often arrive late to a function because a pair of pants that her son or daughter wears rips as they head out the door still show up to that function. Single mothers are remarkable individuals because they see fully what their children can become even when the experts and scholars tell them otherwise. When I was eight years old and my mother could no longer raise me she did the best thing she could have ever done: she left me in the hands of my grandmother, another single mother.