Mother’s Day/Passionate Present: Protecting Black Girlhood

My mom passed away a few years ago (RIP), so I’m ho-hum about Mother’s Day this upcoming Sunday.  My mom and I had our battles (typical parent/child stuff), but we got along well for the most part . She was my friend. Plus, my mom didn’t play. Heh.  I remember being shocked out of my socks, when my mom’s partner called to tell me that she had passed away. He had found her in the shower. I remember throwing down the phone and screaming/crying.  I had just saw her the week before.  At the time, my mom was living in Arizona and I visited for a short vacation.  I remember she had cooked a huge pot of gumbo and she tried to get me to take some home with me. I didn’t want to have to carry it on the plane, so I declined. I figured I would get a bowl next time…

The following days were surreal. I had to fly back to Arizona to pack up her things. Then I flew back home to make arrangements.  Then I flew to our  original hometown to have the funeral with our family. Finally, I flew back home to…sadness. They say time heals all wounds, and it does make things a little easier. I still miss my mom everyday and wish she was here. Happy Mother’s Day, mom 🙂

Sexy mama...I miss you.
Sexy mama…

I don’t have children of my own, so I won’t be getting a box of chocolates on Sunday. I have to admit this is the one day I’m envious of folks with children. I want a free meal too! I have never wanted to have kids. Even when I was a child, I told folks I didn’t want children. Of course, folks said I would change my mind when I got older. Well, I am older and if anything, it has reinforced my stance.

I don’t know why having children has never appealed to me. Maybe it’s because I’m always on the go. I like movement and freedom.  Also, despite popular belief, motherhood is not universal. Motherhood is much more complex for black women. We live in a society that hates our children. We have to worry if our children will come back home after walking to the corner store or seeking help after they’ve had a car accident. Will the police shot our children, just because they see a black kid running? Will another black child shoot our child because of internalized racism/misguided priorities?

It can be stressful combined with all the regular parent worries. That’s why I give props to black moms/parents/caregivers who have decided to go down that road. It’s not easy to raise black children in this society. So, much love this Mother’s Day.

The reason why I’m being  reflective on the issue of black motherhood, is because I watched bell hooks recent lecture at New School.  hooks and Salamishah Tillet tackled the difficulty of raising empowered black daughters. It’s a good discussion…

Photo from: http://shine.forharriet.com/
Click to watch the video: http://new.livestream.com/TheNewSchool/PassionatePresent/videos

 

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