I can show you better than I can tell you. My mother was a firm believer in this. You get a one-time courtesy of her using just words. I have always did what I wanted to do, I have always tested the limits. My mother being the hard working single mother she was, would tell me not to leave my air on in my room while I was at work or school all day (I was about 19). Typical Ericka fashion I did what I wanted who wants to wait for a room to cool, definitely not me. To my surprise one day when I came home from work I walked into my nice cool bedroom, with a hand written note laid on my pillow. The note was actually a hand written bill on line paper my mother created! The note read: “Since you don’t want to leave your air off, your bill for the day is $25.00, please have it in my room when I get home from work.” Even though it said please have it in my room, there wasn’t really an option of not paying her. Needless to say I never left my air on again. This was one of her classic sayings or Ludea-isms as we would call them- “I can show you better than I can tell you!”
God bless the child that has its own. At an early age my mother stressed the importance of being able to take care of yourself. She grew up in a time and place where men were in absolute control and she lived in a home where her mother didn’t have much, if any say so. As a little girl she was determined not to emulate what she saw. When I was a young girl my parents were married and my mother worked but was more so devoted to the home. When my parents got divorced my mother got a job and assumed all responsibilities of the house never asked for a cent in a child support. When I turned 16 I got a job, which she didn’t protest lol my mother brought me to the bank to open an account. As we waited in the bank lobby she explained how important it was to be able to take care of yourself. Independence can be your key to freedom and living your life on your terms without a man controlling you. To this day I take pride in being able to take care of myself. This doesn’t mean I don’t want or don’t believe in companionship, but it means companionship is a choice that’s not determined by finances. I have never felt obligated or felt stuck with a man because life without him financially seemed too difficult or impossible. My mother “broke the curse with her own two hands.”
A piece of mind is priceless. Before I was born my mother worked in corporate America. I don’t ever remember her working in corporate America but I saw the pictures of her in the office and family that I later learned had started off as friends of hers from work. When I was growing up my mother was a crossing guard and later on a care taker. Neither of those jobs paid as much as corporate America but my mother absolutely loved both of those jobs. Not only did she love those jobs but the people she worked with and for adored and treasured her. I always remember being out in the stores or somewhere with her and people would be so happy to see her- The Crossing Guard from Garden Street. My mother was a hood celebrity that everyone loved because she didn’t just cross kids across the street she connected, joked, cursed out and loved on people. In the same manner as a care taker not only by her patients but their family loved her and would show appreciation with all types of gifts that were permitted. One day I asked my mother why doesn’t she work somewhere that pays more money? At this time I am now an adult and she looked at me and said “Baby money isn’t everything it’s nice but a peace of mind is priceless.” She told me she enjoys going to work even though she may not make as much money as she would in another job position being able to get up every day and enjoy going to work gives her a piece of mind, and a piece of mind is priceless.
Love is an action. My mother is from the south, south Florida somewhere called The Muck. A place in the south was really not a place where Black people were affectionate and gentle due to their living circumstances. My mother was not a doting person that kissed all over you daily. If you’ve ever read any of Maya Angelou’s books you would know who her mother Vivian was. Vivian reminds me a lot of my mom beautiful, independent, and tough. Love isn’t just kissing someone on the forehead or giving them hugs. I remember my mother working at night but being up before me making sure my clothes were ironed my oatmeal was made my tee shirt was clean. My mother made food from scratch, that is why I cook the way I do to this day; time and quality is love. I went to a predominately Caucasian school in another town where there were birthday parties we couldn’t afford to get gifts for, long rides no one wanted to take. My mother always made it work even if the gift was nothing but a poster with a fancy tie and I was the very last person to get picked up from the party LOL, I never missed out. Birthdays were the best, very simple spaghetti, homemade cake, family, and friends every birthday. To this day we still have spaghetti for our birthdays. At the time it never occurred to me it wasn’t much. When I had my son there was no limit for the things she did for us. She actually was the one that taught him to ride a bike, use the potty and his abc’s. My mother didn’t have tons and tons of money but everything always felt incredibly special with her. As a result I believe in actions. There are so many ways to show someone you love them whether it’s telling someone to put on a seatbelt, sacrificing your time or money, making sure they eat. Don’t tell me you love me, show me because love is an action.
Learning the ‘good’ in goodbye. Now my mother didn’t sit me down and have a conversation with me about this but when my mother left I had to find the good in goodbye. No there was nothing good about my mother dying, but her dying did teach me that there comes a time when you have to say goodbye to someone, something, a situation or circumstance. I never thought I would really have to live without my mother or I would even be capable, but I learned that I actually could get out the bed and live, not the same life but just existing was not an option. With that it made it so much easier for me to say goodbye to people and situations that were not healthy or didn’t feel good. Fortunately and unfortunately I discovered if I could live without my mother I could definitely live without you, him and her. I woke up and realized I will not stay at the same job I had been complaining about for years, within about 6 months I got a new job that I love. Learning the positive in saying goodbye is essential in life. After I lost my mother I vowed never to stay anywhere to long again. Have you ever noticed the most successful people are okay with saying goodbye? They can leave the job and all the people they have worked with for years, they can get up and move to another state and say goodbye to their family, they can wake up and realize this relationship is not good and leave instead of wasting years of their life. Learning the good in goodbye has been of the most life awakening lesson I have learned as an adult.
Wishing you no pain unless it’s Champagne!