Growing up in my neighborhood on any given day was like the movie, Friday. Don’t focus on them hiding from the drive by LOL more so everyone knew each other and there was always something happening a story for the day, per se. I remember when I was about 10 years old a teen girl, I don’t remember her name, but she lived in a blue house down the street was missing. She had run away from home. Her mother was frantic and crying and everyone in my neighborhood was asking each other have you seen her? Everyone was looking for her in all the places kids would roam and play. (Y’all remember how we was never inside the house outside was LIFE). Later on, that evening while getting ready for dinner we heard something in my older sister’s bedroom. Low and behold the teen that ran away broke into our home thru the basement and hid in my sister’s closet. That’s the beauty of being a kid because obviously someone was going to find her. But she ran to a place she considered safe. There were so many crazy stories on any given day from my childhood. This day always stuck with me because I couldn’t understand why she ran away to our house. My mother was the strictest mother I had ever come across I thought she was the meanest lady as a child LOL. I could not for the life of me understand why someone would choose our house to run to. It left me perplexed and in a state of confusion as a child. This girl was not even one of our closest/best friends, but one of the many neighborhood kids we interacted with daily. That was the god given gift my mother had I still to this day can’t truly understand it. People loved her enormously but did not fuck with her. I don’t know if I would say they feared her but as one girl recently said in my facebook comments about my mother- “She was not to be played with”. Some how that didn’t stop people from being drawn to her as a haven physically and emotionally.
Strict, But The Hip Hop House
When I was about 19 years old, I would always ask my mother to borrow her car to go out, I would try to negotiate with filling the gas tank. Her response would be always be– “Hell no! My car aint no hip-hop car!” It was so funny to me because growing up that’s exactly what my house was “The Hip Hop House”. All our friends would come to our house whether it was the weekend, after school, after camp each room in my house was filled with one of us and our different group of friends. If you were at my house my mother treated, you like you were one of her kids. She loved you, fed you, and cursed you out if need be. The routine in “my mama’s house” as she would frequently remind us was music- gospel or old school blasting starting at 6 or 7am. Followed by each door opening with her announcing “I’m going to feed y’all then when we gone clean this house from top to bottom!” If you were there you better believe you got your own assignment washing or drying the dishes cleaning the bathroom, shoot even washing a wall. Again, I could not understand why my friends wanted to come over LOL I would try to get my best friend out early. When she would go home my mother would call her mother LOL. Back then it was a village, so my best friend’s mom would say Miss Lu said bring yaself across the street to clean the bathroom. As a child my best friend couldn’t go anywhere if I couldn’t go. “Did Miss Lu say Ericka can go?” My mother was the sternest mother so any mama knew if Miss Lu said yes, it had to be okay. When I was teen I still had to ask my mother could I do or go anywhere! Thank god for my best friend (that’s my sister you’ll rarely hare me say friend) when everyone else could go somewhere I hardly missed out alone.
Down South Love
I can’t begin to name all the people my mother had a special relationship with and loved on in her special way. There have been different cousins even friends that have spent summers at my house. Street people showed her respect and somehow, she became their 2nd mama too. My best friend as well as my sister’s closest friend knows every family member on both sides, because they came everywhere with us. When my mother passed I was reminded of all the kids (who are now adults) lives she impacted by just being herself and being everyone’s mama. People told stories how she would catch them skipping school and would make them go even driving them, how she sat at the side of the bed after working 3rd shift when someone was in the hospital, when someone thought services was coming for them when they went outside it was my mother waiting for them, how she inspired someone to be a woman that never depended on a man, in her last days she couldn’t even walk but insisted on going to my cousin’s graduation, a mother and her now adult kids that shared holidays with us talked about how special it was to get unconditional love and talks , mothers said they sent their kids to her house because it was safe a lot of stories I never even knew. My mother was affectionally called Ma 2, Mama Lu, and Miss Lu. Everyone’s parents loved her as well, somehow, they never felt like she was doing too much they loved sharing their kids with her.
No Second Mama
I have never really had a second mother. My mama was so great I never considered a second mother. I have been incredibly close to my mother my entire life and when she passed, I was 31. I went to my mother’s house or spoke to her every day since the day I moved out. I say all of this to say I feel like I still need her. Some days I get so angry, frustrated, lost and cheated. I know that I am an adult, but no second mama, auntie, or play auntie has ever called me to check on me like my Mama. You need anything, you want to go to lunch, I am just calling to check in on CAM. My best friend’s mom makes sure my best friend is there for me like it’s her job LOL and tells me she loves me constantly. I am not angry, No one owes me anything but its just an observation. I never thought about having a second mom or mom like figure until now. One day I was sitting and thinking, I am so grateful for the mom I had but as far as another generation I am out here alone. I was saying this out loud to myself or maybe for my mom to hear me, I am not sure. Within in 40 minutes my uncle my mother’s brother came to my house unannounced and said “hey baby you need anything?” I said “no uncle I am good” he said, “you sure you don’t need $40 or something?” Normally that’s what I what called him for in the past. I said “I am not going to turn down money” lol. He gave me the $40.00 and said “Baby if you need anything I am always here.” I can’t recall any other time my uncle checked on m for nothing. It was as if my mother went and told my uncle go check on my baby. I can tell you endless stories like this. Even though my mother is not physically here she literally shows up in some way when I need her. She literally is the best Mother even in death. I always joke she didn’t coddle me this much when she was alive. LOL
My mother is literally apart of every day I have, I talk about her often to keep her alive. I was laying in the bed the other day and BET Fresh Faces were playing as I was determined to stay sleep. Some girl (I cannot figure out who she is or the song) was playing. In the song it was a sample of Teddy Pendergrass’s ‘I Miss You.’ For about 5 seconds I thought I was a teen laying in the bed hearing my mom blare her music “Cuz this her house” ready for her to call me down stairs for fish and grits.
“I’ve been missing you for 10,00 hours I cannot let go of 10,000 memories.” -Jhene’ Aiko
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful queens and
Thanks for stopping by!
Wishing you no pain unless its champagne!