My Mom Didn’t Pass Her Crap Down to Me

“The more spacious and loving a woman is towards herself, the more she can offer that to her daughter. A mother cannot give her daughter the support, love, guidance, and empowerment that she herself does not have. If a woman does not have that healthy model of self-love in her mother, she has to seek those models elsewhere.”

I just read The Most Insidious Forms of Patriarchy Pass Through the Mother and reminded me of how awesome my mom is. To recap:

My mom was molested. When she told her mother, the story goes, my grandma basically told her that it wasn’t important because most women suffer sexual assault. I don’t think my grandmother said this to be mean. I think it was her reality. When my mom realized I had been molested (I didn’t tell her because we had already left), she sprung into action. She called the police and encouraged me to tell them what happened. When I said that I didn’t want to testify at trial (I was a kid), she supported my decision. She made me feel like none of this was my fault and she supported whatever decisions I wanted to make.

My mom graduated from high school, met my dad, and ended up pregnant with me. She used to tell me that she loved me before she even knew she was pregnant. I was wanted. I was loved. She raised two kids by herself, for the most part, and I knew she regretted not being able to provide for us financially. She went to college when I was in elementary school. I went to undergrad and grad school. I started a business that I’ve run successfully for the last nine years. She always encouraged me to build my skills, increase my education, and build the kind of life that I wanted to live. There was no competition and no pressure. She genuinely wanted me to have a happy life.

My mom would have loved to travel internationally, but she never did. She died when I was twenty so we never got the chance to take any wild trips (I did with my grandma though) that I’m SURE would have happened if I was a little older. She wanted me to know that the world was mine though. She’s drive around nice neighborhoods to show me the possibilities. She made sure that I went to school with affluent kids. She would get us dressed up and we’d head out to museums, and musicals, and plays. Now, I’ve been to 18 countries on 5 continents. My son has been to 7 countries on 3 continents. My mom would be so proud.

My mom was married four times, I think. I like to say that if there were 99 AMAZING men in a room and 1 bum, my mom was gonna find that bum! Lol I think she really had some stuff that she hadn’t healed from. My mom would love my partner. They would talk shit during sporting events and giggle at random silliness. I know them both, so I know this is true. We’ve been married 8 years, this year, and I hope that this will be my only marriage.

My mom knew that she didn’t have all the tools I’d need to flourish. Instead of pretending she did or acting like it wasn’t important, she got me what I needed: 3 big sisters from the Big Sister program. My first Big Sister, Martha, was a Black woman in the military. I don’t remember every moment with her but I remember feeling loved. When she was shipped out, she gave me a little wooden house money bank with a little mouse on the porch and little rocks glued to the front. I kept it for years. My second Big Sister was a white woman that owned a beauty salon. I think she was only doing community service for a ticket or something. Her idea of us spending time together was taking me to her business and letting folks give me manicures and pedicures. It wasn’t that exciting, but it was her business. My last Big Sister was a young woman in college at the time. She was married to a man that used to call me a Crumb Snatcher. Lol This is the one that stuck. I’m almost forty years old and we’re still in touch. She’s seen me through everything from first loves to grad school applications. When I considered getting a doctorate, I called her. When I got married, she was invited. We try to visit often and her kids adore my son. My mom was unselfish in her love for me. She made sure that I got what she didn’t have: wonderful women role models.

Most days I get to do what I want to do. I have a great life and I like to think that it honors my mother. She’d be very proud of the life I’ve created. I hope my kids can say the same about me.

 

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