Dear Mama

Have you ever sat back and thought about how far your family generations have come? For me, speaking for my mom’s side, it’s phenomenal.

Quick history lesson:

My great grandma was the daughter of sharecroppers in Alabama. As a young girl she fled north to Ohio to escape an abusive relationship and give her two children a better life.

My grandma may not have been the model child, but she had a serious comeback story. You see, she had her first child at 15, was married by 16 and had four children around the same age that I was off to Vegas for Memorial Weekend (don’t judge). Although she never finished high school, she would go on to get her GED and learn to drive by the time she was 30. She would lose her first husband suddenly (first to infidelity, then to an accidental death) and remarry who I knew as Papa. Unfortunately, she would lose Papa as well, but not before moving across the country to help her only daughter raise her first child.

Her only daughter is my mom. Although she finished high school, college wasn’t top of mind, and at 22 was in denial the first 3 months of her pregnancy with me. As my religious grandparents would have it, my parents were married in a courthouse shortly after I arrived. Unfortunately, my dad wasn’t quite ready for all that, but Angie said “I got this.” She would leave Ohio for a better job opportunity at 25 and receive an undergraduate degree before 30, all while raising me.

You see the progression here?

Because of them I was able to earn not one degree, but two.

Although I can never repay any of the women that came before me, I have to say how grateful I am for them, especially my mom.

Thank you Angie.

For giving up your 20s and 30s.

For making Christmas happen with two gifts under the tree.

For opening the window to our apartment so Santa could get in.

For reminding me that the word “family” is not defined by having a mom, dad and siblings under one roof.

For working two jobs and still finding time to study for a degree.

For building every playhouse, every piece of furniture and setting up every electronic we owned.

For killing that big ass spider in the sink and every other bug I can’t bear to look at.

For leading by example and expecting nothing less.

And for every coworker, friend or acquaintance who calls me a hustler, over-passionate or wonders why I defend my work and my character so hard -- see above.

I got big shoes to fill.

Happy Mother’s Day!