Hey, FRED! Happy Mom’s Day.

Back in ’04-’06 I was addicted to “Starting Over”. It was an hour-long reality show on five days a week that put six women at a time in sort of a combination halfway house and in/out patient psychiatric ward. They had a psychiatrist and two therapists (life coaches) on staff who would help the women, well, Start Over. The women and their life coaches had a group therapy every day as well as individual sessions almost every day. It was like crack wrapped in Xtasy for me. I had my VCR programmed to tape “Starting Over” every day. One day in group, they talked about moms. One of the life coaches, Iyanla, asked all the women these questions. There were of course some negative answers, but there were some positive ones too. Here’s the questions Iyanla asked. Ponder them for awhile. Tawk amongst yo’ahselves.

What is unique… special… important… about our relationship with our mother?

When I was a little girl, I really wish my mother had….

When I was a little girl, my mother never…

When I was a little girl, my mother always…

The one thing I need to say to my mother is…

So anyway, I’ve found that as I get older, I get less and less inclined to be critical of how she raised me, and more and more inclined to really understand that she did the very best she could with what she had. When I feel boo-hooey and whiny about my childhood, or lack thereof, I do also think, “Other people have had it SO much worse.” As tempting as it can be to bitch and moan about the conditions I grew up in, I have to be thankful that I always had a roof over my head, and food in my stomach. I didn’t have fancy clothes, but I was clothed. And shoot, I had my FIRST pony when I was 18 months old. Then she got me… *staring off into space and trying to count* …Snowball, (I don’t remember him, but c’mon I was 18 months old) then Al Capony, Rocky, Missy, Bunny… well, several more horses. Anyway, I really appreciate my mother in a new way. And every day I grow older, I appreciate her a little bit more. Now I’m going to share my answers to the questions above.


What is unique… special… important… about our relationship with our mother?
I can’t speak on the importance of the relationship between a mother and a son. I can speak on the relationship between a mother and a daughter. Being a girl, and a woman, and watching the woman who gave us life, makes that relationship the most important one in our life. I think the way a girl looks at her mom, and a woman looks at her mom, is kind of like looking in a mirror of sorts. Maybe a fun house mirror. I think all my life, I have looked at my mom, and will continue to look at my mom, as a rippling reflection of myself. Of how I was, how I am, how I could be. For the longest time, I was looking for my mom’s approval and disappointed that I wasn’t getting it. Not until a summer morning in 2003 did I feel like I had my mother’s approval. Me and the boys were visiting The Seester and Mom and The Step-Dad in Michigan. And completely out of the blue, my mother complimented my parenting skills. I about fell over. And that very moment was a moment of triumph, of truth, of fulfillment, and a major turning point in our relationship. That one short sentence changed the very way I felt about my mother. It really got my wheels turning, and I saw some of the pivotal memories I have that involve my mother in a totally different light. I found a new level of understanding her. I saw her as the real woman that she is, making tough choices, knowing her decisions would sway a small mini-her’s life in either direction. And I’m very grateful for what she sacrificed for me. I’m thankful that she gave me as much of herself as she did. What used to be not enough has become enough, although nothing has changed except my attitude.


When I was a little girl, I really wish my mother had….
been whole. I look back and realize now that my mother grappled with a wicked case of clinical depression. As much as she gave me, she could have given so much more to us girls and maybe even my dad, if she had been able to give more to herself first. A spirit of Depression comes as a thief in the night to steal and kill and destroy. And now that I have to struggle with depression, I have an intimate understanding of how hard it is to reach out and give of yourself, even to reach out and ask for someone to give of themselves to you. I wish she would’ve been able to reach out and tell me she loved me more often, or hugged me more often. But I understand why she didn’t.


When I was a little girl, my mother never…
demonstrated good communication. But no one demonstrated it to her. You can’t very well teach someone something that you’ve never been taught. If she had, I’m sure that she would have gladly passed that on to me. I still have a tough time communicating with her, but I try a whole hell of a lot harder than I did.


When I was a little girl, my mother always…
made me feel intelligent. I can’t recall a time in my life that she made me feel stupid.


The one thing I need to say to my mother is…
I love you, Mommy. And I’m sorry I was such an ungrateful little bitch.