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Mother’s day comes every year in May, and every year I realize I have no idea what to get for my mom. What do you get for the woman that has everything? My mommy, the lady that loves me unconditionally, how can I ever repay you for deciding to be a mother again and dealing with a baby girl as inquisitive and stubborn as me? You did it by yourself, 24 hours a day – rain, sleet, or shine. You went to work, late nights and early mornings, bus rides, and soggy days caught in the rain. Many tears shed so tired, but never stopping, you are a queen. Never fitting the classic narratives of the white housewives on Mother’s Day cards, you were always strong, the rock, and always teaching me to be a strong, black Jamaican woman that takes on the traditions and heritage of the powerful women of my past, and uses it to pave my future.
My stepmother, always a source of strength for me and a trusted confidant; she helped me step into womanhood with style, grace, sass, and a certain sway in my hips as I did it. Always a go-getter, and another fine example of a strong, black Jamaican woman. These women never fit the cookie cutter molds that I saw in the media of the housewife or the underprivileged women of color. We never had it all, but we definitely had enough. They juggled the jobs of woman, mother, and worker without a mopped brow, and instilled in me a hunger and zest for my dreams. These women were nothing like the mothers on TV with their book clubs and perfectly manicured lawns. My mothers were present always acting like a guiding light when I was lost, but enabling me to make mistakes and grow into the young woman that I am today.
Many days spent in the kitchen cooking and baking, many life lessons learned while creating amazing Caribbean dishes. The kitchen also became a teaching ground where I learned many hard life lessons and had some of my biggest disappointments. The little I do for Mama’s day every year is nothing compared to all that my moms have done for me for the past 22 years, and for this I salute you. My mama’s are queens. If I can grow up to become even a fraction of the powerful and successful women that they are, then I will have accomplished far more than I can imagine.
These women nurtured me as a child, and welcomed me into womanhood with open arms. On Mama’s Day and every day I thank them.