Who comes to mind when you think of unconditional love? For me, it’s my mom and grandma. Growing up with an absent father, my mother and grandmother worked twice as hard to make sure I never lacked or wanted for anything. These two women are some of the most selfless individuals that I know and I’m sure there are countless other Black women who play this role for others.
All Black mothers, biological or not, deserve their flowers this Valentine’s Day, and every day after that.
I distinctly remember waking up in bed with my grandmother every morning, while my older sister and brother got ready for school. When they left with my mom, it was just the two of us for the rest of the day. Not only did my grandma watch me all day, but she quit her job as a nurse to make sure I was properly cared for and didn’t have to go to a babysitter.
It is because of my grandma that I became an avid reader at such a young age. By the time I was two, I was reading books to my grandma and was more than prepared for preschool. Every day, my grandma made sure I watched “Barney” and learned about being kind to others and “Arthur” and his friends while eating whatever she made for lunch. This routine became so comfortable that when it was time for my first day of school, I cried uncontrollably because I didn’t want to leave the comfort of my home.
While my grandma watched me at home, my mom was at work creating wealth for our family. When I got older and began to visit my mom’s job, I realized what an impact she was making not only in my life, but in the lives of others as she was serving her city and implementing plans to make the Black community stronger. Even to this day, my mom eats, breathes and sleeps work, and although it can be frustrating at times, one of the things I admire most is her dedication to making our community better one day at a time.
Like any other relationship, things aren’t always perfect. I sometimes disagree with the things my parents want for my life, but I listen because they only want what’s best for me. Starting college was difficult for me, because the life I had imagined for myself since I was 13 wasn’t happening, and for the first year of college I blamed my mom for my sadness. Looking back on things, I’m extremely grateful that things turned out the way they did and not the way I wanted them to. Coming to FAMU, I’ve met some of the kindest people and gained connections I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
Through every part of my life, I always knew my mom and grandma were only one call away. No matter the circumstances, my parents were always there for me, and for that I am extremely grateful, especially knowing people who wish they had a mom or grandmother that they could call on. Even when their life was hard, they never took it out on me or my siblings, but instead poured into us so we could be the best versions of ourselves.
It is because of my family, specifically my mom and grandma that I am the person I am today. Without them, I have no idea where or who I would be in this world. I would be remiss to not acknowledge all the sacrifices they made to make sure my siblings and I lived a comfortable life. Even when times were hard and money was tight, anything we wanted we got.
Black women play such an instrumental role in our community, and I don’t think they get enough recognition for it. To my mom and grandma, thank you for everything, and for making the impossible, possible. Your love and support is what fuels our family.