Coming from a two-parent home, I almost immediately saw the difference between moms and dads. While both parents are important to a child’s upbringing, I don’t know what I would have done without my Mom, Mary Brown. She was an extraordinary woman.
Dad, a steel worker, took on the role of a provider, but Mom, a stay-at-home mom, was special. She was the nurturer and teacher, and represented all the things that are very important in a person’s life—love, caring and strength.
She was a fantastic cook, very funny, a great listener and always had my back. This lady was always there for me. She was the one who believed in me and encouraged me to believe in myself.
When you reflect back, you really understand the sacrifices mothers make for the family and the children. Our family was made up of two boys and five girls. When I look back at all she had to do not just for one but for seven, I shake my head and marvel.
She was the first up in the morning and the last to go down at night. Living in a household with a family that large, we didn’t have a lot. We lived in West Baltimore and later moved to Woodlawn. But she made sure we had what we needed. When there wasn’t a lot of food, she knew how to make those potatoes and onions go a long way. My dad ate, and she’d sit us down at the table, but she then you’d see her doing something else while we ate.
When my Dad died at age 44, she still had to carry on raising us and taking care of the household. She did it with resilience. I just can’t imagine what life would be like without mothers. These are the individuals who take on the responsibility of raising and setting the next generation up for a better life.
When I think about Mom’s life lessons, the one lesson that comes to mind is to respect women. Living in the house with my sisters, at times with my grandmothers, Louise Cunningham and Ruth Jacks, I have total respect for what women do in this world. It’s just not about giving birth. I wonder if guys had to do what women do, whether they could hold up under the pressure. I think we all know the answer to that one.
Mary Brown was one of those mothers who took great pride in her role as a mother. I remember asking her why there were so many children in the house. I liked to think it was because of the lack of birth control, but that wasn’t the case. She said it was because she loved children. Being the only child, she loved each and every one of her children immensely. She used to say that being a parent was a lifetime job. And so her motherhood didn’t end when we became adults. She continued to be the mother in our lives until the end. She passed away on Oct. 24, 2001, seven days after her 65th birthday.
Every man woman and child who walks the face of the earth owes his or her existence to a mother somewhere. Certainly, all mothers aren’t perfect and everyone is not cut out to be a mother. But that mother, grandmother, foster mother and mother figure deserve all the honor anyone could give. How do you say thank you for someone who does that much for you?
It’s nice that we take one day out of the year to say thank you, but I’m one of those people who could say thank you every day of the year, because what my mom has given to me, I could never give back to her.
We were fortunate that my grandmothers believed in the village-raising concept. I also say thank you to my mother in law, the late Frances Dorsey. It was a strained relationship in the beginning, but she became a surrogate mother to me and a grandmother, of course, to my three daughters Tiffany, Krystal and Eboni. It’s always heartwarming, sometimes tough and often times hilarious to watch my Tiffany with her daughter and three boys. I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize Betty for being a fantastic mother to our kids. All these mothers play such an important role in my life, and I love them for all they’ve done.
Whenever you get the opportunity, please say thank you to and give a warm hug to a mother. They’re our queens and we must honor them as such.