How I am Become the Fruit of my Mother’s Labor

by All-American Jane

Once Upon a Time …

Fairy Tales were not my Mother’s favorite things to read to us, I was born the oldest of three girls to a single Black Woman. My mother had been educated to be a nurse.  She was a firm believer in being a realist… a really, really realist. Her view of life was “Life is hard and if you don’t know who you are things can be even worse.”

So instead of Cinderella, Snow White or Rapunzel she would tell short statements of truth, we called Mother Wit.

Mother Wit

My mother unknowing used teachable moments.  The time when a lesson was applicable generally..painful and heart-wrenching.  The time the girls at my school called me fat and made me feel like I didn’t deserve to breathe the same air as them.  My mother without coddling simply would say “Can’t miss what you didn’t have.” that’s it …NOTHING else.

My first crush and bad break up of which I was sure I was going to die.  She simply would offer while folding laundry “Every shut-eye ain’t sleep and every goodbye ain’t gone.”  Funny every man I thought I could not live without…came back sometime in my future to tell me how they wished they would have chosen me.

Probably the most life-changing wisdom my Mother impress upon me like a Steel Magnolia was not with words alone but with her way of living.  My Mother was devoted to her girls, and as an adult I learned she fought her demons and won, we shared her wealth with her simple, powerful rules.

“The condition of your home is the condition of your heart.  Messy home…messy heart”

“You can’t love anyone until you love yourself.”

“A watched pot never boils”

So many of these sayings are wound into the fabric of my being…I don’t know where they start or end.  

When in college attending a women’s lecture by prominent campus Feminist…I found myself laughing audibly as I could see my mother had hewn a feminist with her wit.  

If I were to sum it up it would go something like this

I am a proud Black Woman, and neither Black or being a Woman will stop me from going where I want to go, being who I want to be, not only me but anyone.