Last weekend I was in Tacoma again. My little cousin and his wife are having their first baby and I went for the baby shower. She’s a radiant mother-to-be!
I decided to stay in town over night and invited my baby girl to spend the night with me. We did a bit of shopping and then stayed up late talking and eating junk food and of course, there was some silliness.
Twenty-four years ago on January 23, at 12:05am, a 14 year old girl gave birth to a little 8lb 9oz butterball of a baby girl with a head full of soft, curly hair.
I didn’t know then that my life was changed forever.
We grew up and learned to navigate life together.
Times weren’t always easy but I tried to make sure she always knew she was special and loved. I always wanted to make sure she laughed more than she cried and knew more joy than pain.
Through it all, we’ve survived and thrived.
We’ve laughed together, cried together, prayed together and fought together. Your smile has gotten me through a lot of hard days.
I’ve been blessed to see 38 years on this earth so far and the best part has been the 24 years I’ve had the privilege of being your mom.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BABY GIRL!
Recently, I watched a clip from when Janelle Monae was on The Queen Latifa Show. It was beautiful to see her surprise her biggest fan on the show. What affected me most was Janelle being overcome with emotion at the idea that “little black girls would want to look like me”. Are you kidding me? There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
My thoughts went to my daughter and who she looked up to and emulated as a child. My baby was a child of the ’90s/ ’00s and was a huge fan of Taina, Hillary Duff, Raven-Symoné and lots of other age-appropriate things. She wanted to be a Cheetah Girl and loved reading Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants..
But what about her personality? Her morals? What was/ is she presenting to the world? Where is she getting those things from? Oh shit! I should be her example for those things. I freaked out thinking back on all the times that I’m sure I got it all wrong; this whole mom thing. Deep breath…in through the nose, out through the mouth.
After I calmed down, I realized a few things. I did my best. I was a mom at 14 so I know I stumbled along the way but I had my grandmother, mom and aunts to help guide me. I was there. I made mistakes but I was there; volunteering at school, helping her through homework and heartbreak. I taught her to love her light-brown skin as part of the beautiful spectrum of little black girls.
I taught her to love her natural hair in all its wooly beauty. She’s growing dreads right now.
I taught her to love
and value herself.
And you know what?
My little black girl loves music, singing and dancing…just like me.
My little black girl loves books…just like me.
When I asked friends and family who know us both they say that my little black girl is sweet, funny, articulate, kind, giving and gorgeous…just like me.
My little black girl (although she’s a woman now) likes Beyoncé, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott but regardless of all the other influences, she’s always wanted to be like…Mommy.
My biggest blessing! My baby girl JaLisa. We grew up together; I had her when I was 14. There have been two times in her life where I sat in the hospital by her bedside praying for God not to take her from me; at birth and at 15yrs of age. She made 23 this year and I thank God for her. She has been and is a true blessing.
I am so thankful for my mother! Tomi & I got to take her to brunch again which has become our tradition; I think this is year number 6. We did the all-you-can-eat bruch at the LaQuinta Inn in Tacoma. It was delicious as usual. Tomi & I didn’t get to spend any time with either of our children that are local because they had better things to do apparently but no love lost…maybe a little disappointment though.
This is from our brunch a couple years back. We always take a picture together whenever we get together. I love having the memories and being able to look back and see how we’ve changed although it doesn’t seem like my mom ages at all. I am thankful to have those genes.
As I am getting older, I really appreciate the time that I get to spend with my mom because I know that she won’t be around forever. I love the fact that I have so many great memories of time with my mother. She has made sure that I knew that the world is bigger than my neighborhood. She did her best to make sure that I was ready for the world. I think she did an AMAZING job if I do say so myself.
It’s my baby’s birthday! She turned 22 years old today at 12:05am. It’s hard to believe that I am the mother of a grown up. I don’t feel that old but alas, I am. I’m still pretty fly though. I haven’t talked to my baby girl on her day yet but I know that her friends will do their best to make sure that she has an amazing day. I will have to wait until the first weekend in February to see her but when I do, I am going to give her a big birthday squeeze and kiss.
Our children have two moms and no matter what opinion anyone has about that fact, our children know they have two parents that love them no matter what. Between Tomi & I we have a small tribe. There’s about 5….or 6; I lost count a while ago.
Anyway, all of our children are grown; some with children of their own. The youngest, JaLisa, just turned 20. It is her sense of humor and creativity in describing her parents that brought about this story.
The two oldest girls call me Stankie (long story for another time). The boy calls me JaVonja. One of the baby girls calls me JaBonna or JaBonBon and the youngest calls me Mom. I consider these to be terms of endearment; names that they use to let the world know that I belong to them and they belong to me.
On a recent visit to Tacoma to visit my parents, JaLisa relayed to me that she was having a conversation with one of her friends about Tomi and I. “My mom & Tomi” this and “My mom & Tomi” that. Her friend asked “Who’s Tomi?” to which JaLisa replied “You know how I told you my mom is a lesbian? Well Tomi is my dad/mom.” I was at a loss for words which doesn’t happen very often. “JaLisa, what the hell is a dad/mom?” “Well,” she says “I have my mom who does mom stuff and then I have my dad/mom. You know, the one who carries the heavy stuff.” I laughed so hard that I almost tinkled. Tomi now has her own term of endearment that is unique to her to go along with the others. She is now known as Mom, Mama and Dad/Mom and she wears them all proudly.
My daughter just turned 20 years old. JaLisa was born January 23rd, 1991 at 12:05am and she was an absolutely gorgeous baby. I was 14 years old when she was born. I called her on her birthday at midnight to tell her happy birthday. Its funny that every time I hear her voice it makes me feel emotional. You see, there were two times in her life when I wasn’t sure I would ever hear that voice again. Every time her birthday comes, I am so thankful that I am reminded of how AWESOME God is for allowing her to be in the land of the living.
When she was born, she had severe jaundice. She spent the first couple weeks of her life in the hospital. All small and helpless, I felt like my heart was being ripped out everytime I saw her all hooked up to machines with tubes everywhere. She had to have a blood transfusion and survived and grew up to be a healthy young lady.
At 15, just 4 months before her 16th birthday, she was in a terrible car accident where she was thrown from the vehicle. She had a severe brain injury that caused a left-sided stroke. She was in a coma for days. She was in the intensive care unit for about two weeks and from there was sent to a rehab hospital to learn to walk and eat and do for herself again. She had to learn to live with her paralysis.
I remember seeing her in that hospital bed unconscious and thinking how small and helpless she looked laying there hooked up to all those machines. The best sound in the world was when she looked at me and said “Mommy, I wanna go home.” in words that hardly sounded like English.
She is legally blind but after extensive therapy and lots of hard work and determination on her part, she is doing great. She has graduated from high school and is working toward an associates degree as an administrative assistant. She is a beautiful human being both inside and out and I am thankful for everyday that I am blessed to have my baby girl.