It is very hard for me to write this article as I know how black people feel about their mamas, especially black women. As they should be, black mothers are revered in the black community as they are pillars of strength, style, tenacity and grace. While I appreciate and recognize the beauty in my mother, I would be remiss if I did not mention how our relationship has changed over the years. And being totally fair and transparent, our relationship has changed because my mother has her own personal struggles. Based on various emotionally traumatic things that have happened between my mother and I, I cannot help but to have mixed emotions every Mother’s Day. This has been the case for me since 2016.
I know it is hard to believe, but our mothers are more than our mothers but women who had and still have hopes and dreams before they had children. I realized my mom was a woman and not just my mother when I was 26. I had just moved home after completing graduate school, and it was a very tumultuous time for her. She had just ended a relationship of more than 10 years, and finances were not the best. Not to mention, she had just turned 50 and was wondering where did all of her time go. During that time I witnessed my mother cry, try to figure things out and ride an emotional roller-coaster. I empathized with her completely as I can recall piecing myself back together many times after enduring personal turmoil. The only difference with me is that I have time on my side. I understand that there is no age when it comes to reinventing yourself; however, I would be lying if I said that I do not envision myself in a certain position by the time that I am 50. This was the case for my mother. While I understood what my mother was going through at that time (and even now), what I do not make excuses for is her hurtful words and reckless actions towards my emotions at times.
I know I probably sound like a horrible person but do not get me wrong. I love my mother with all of my heart. I appreciate the sacrifices she made for my siblings and me by honestly doing the best she could with what she knew. I am just confused at where the line of deference ends and accountability begins with black mothers. I have excused a lot of things my mother has done out of respect for her while I remained in shambles. I always find myself being cautious of her emotions while she does not respect my own. One day, I realized that I am not only her daughter but a woman as well. A woman worthy of respect and one who now demands it.
The relationship that I have with my mother right now is far from perfect. Do I love her? Yes. Do I require space? Even more so. Our relationship is a constant work in progress full of triumphs and regressions. It is definitely not linear. There are days when I hold my tongue and days when I do not, times when I admire her and others when I resent her. Nonetheless, this is a relationship that I will try my best to work on, but it is just hard when a day of honoring your mother (regardless of how commercial it may be) forces you to evaluate your less than perfect relationship and wonder if there is something wrong with you due to the fact. All I can say is that I am trying.