May 14, 2018

The Borrowed Strength of Mothers

I get it from my momma



When you you're young and you hurt yourself, maybe with a skin of the knee or a bump of the head, your first reaction is to cry and reach for some source of comfort. For most of us, that was mommy. It was for me. Even when she wasn't around, I still knew she would have been a far better solution than a flimsy Band-Aid. As I got older, the ways I got hurt changed. Boo-boos turned into financial emergencies, missed career opportunities, and broken hearts—the kinds of things you don't necessarily want to run to mommy for.

"While there, I thought of how much I loved her, how happy I was she was even here for me to lean on, and then finally, her strength. And that was it."

This past weekend my mom came to New York and I was lucky to have her here for Mother's Day. Her visit also coincided with one of my strangest weekends in recent memory. I had a series of days that were a roller coaster ride of excitement followed by a crash of confusion, followed by a gray bout of sadness. Y'all, it was weird. I was covered by this cloud of feelings even as I pulled myself out of bed to get dressed for our Mother's Day date night.

At the banquet hall, in a room full of exquisitely dressed caribbean mothers laughing loudly, swaying in their seats to reggae and soca, I sat next to my mom, feeling entirely out of place. I wanted to talk to her about my weekend, but there was nothing I felt like I could share with her. Not knowing what words to say to ask for help, I laid my head on her shoulder instead. The childhood familiarity was comforting. While there, I thought of how much I loved her, how happy I was she was even here for me to lean on, and then finally, her strength.

And that was it. I saw myself moping about because of one weekend, a span of 48 hours, less even,  knowing full and well my mom has endured months and years of tough(er) times. I still had no clearer understanding of what had happened, but I knew then that it didn't have to matter. I have seen my mom go through some of the life's most unfortunate situations and come out at the other end still standing. Until I found my own, I let my mom's silent strength bolster me. I didn't feel comfortable enough to spill everything weighing on my mind, but her presence, the knowledge of her life, was sufficient a fix for me.


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