When I’m wanting her to listen to me or give me something I want or have her stop telling me something I told her I already know, “mama” is what I call her. Mamas just have a flavor about them. When I’m laughing with her, laughing at her or giving her my perspectives on the world and just shooting the breeze, “momma” is how I see her. She’s the same lady that called me one day and asked, “Is your phone — that 229 number — still working?”
Me (curiously): “Um, yes.”
Momma: “We’ll, I’m just checking ‘cause it just rings and rings AND rings…”
Me: “That’s ‘cause I didn’t HEAR it so I could pick it up!”
Momma: “Oh, okay, well I’m just checking.”
She is a verified hot mess. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. My mom is one of my best friends. She gets me and I get her. I learned from her early on how to carry myself with grace, poise, intention and also enjoy life with plenty of humor and tons of wit. She is one of the wittiest people I know! She is the Queen of Wit. Man, she is sharp and brilliant and loving and so wonderfully amazing. She’s been a great mom to me.
Not everyone can raise a daughter as a single parent with God’s guidance the way she has with me. Every accomplishment, success, endeavor and privilege I’ve been afforded took place from the lift she gave me to climb upon steps she laid in advance for me. She sacrificed her needs to make sure I had mine met.
My mom was one of the first two African American civilian employees to integrate the City of Atlanta’s Vehicles for Hire division in the 1970s. She’s an Advanced Toastmaster and can lay it down with her oratory and sharp communication skills.
She’s served as the president of her homeowner’s association for several years and leads with style as an usher at her church. Oh, and the woman can bust a baaaad Michael Jackson moonwalk-ish routine when Thriller comes on. I have the video evidence to prove it. Incriminating? Maybe. Hilarious and will I plan to keep it to show my kids one day? Absolutely.
As I get older I’m thinking not just about the family I desire to build in my life but also the ways I plan to care for her and bless her as she gets older. When one of my books come out and it’s best selling and good things begin to happen, I can’t wait to give back to her plus so much more all that she’s blessed me with through her love and sacrifices. I am the woman I am today and in all the days that will come because of my mama.
We have a regular time to connect each week and chat about life, usually Sunday evenings. I missed last week and was trying to find a time this week to talk. She was picking Friday and Saturday night and I was like, “Mama, I am young and single. My evenings are busy…I’m am not sitting around with nothing to do.”
Her reply: “Well alright then Mel (in a slightly little huffy voice)! When do you want to talk???”
Me: “In the morning!”
We both are a mess.
I don’t know when I knew to call her auntie but I was young enough to know that’s who she was and who I needed her to be. My mama’s younger sister. The woman whose birthday is just two weeks ahead of mine. The breast cancer survivor. The one who shares a similar gentleness and heart on her sleeve as I do for the world around us. The lady who wants people to know about Jesus and uses opportunities to keep telling the world about him.
The lady who has the same eyes and smile as my mom. The one whose kitchen cabinets I would crawl in when I was very little and play in after I’d go around, ask for and get the fuzzy fuzz lint balls in my Uncle Randy’s pockets. The woman I respect as my aunt but love as my “Auntie.” Aunties just have a swag about them.
She’s the same lady that told me once, “All these men who are downloading…this is just horrible Melody, downloading and all this stuff.”
I believe she meant to describe men who were on the “down low” hiding their bi-sexuality from the women they were sleeping with. But I knew what she meant and I was not going to say anything different.
Mamas & Aunties. They are some kind of amazing.
Originally written August 30, 2013.