Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I blame my mother for nothing, but forgive her everything - Mary J. Blige

This quote makes my heart sad and hopeful at the same time.  Throughout history, all across the world, the general concensus is that whatever problems you may have, it all goes back to your mother!  Your mother!  My mother! Her mother! Their mother!!

We mothers have so very much to deal with and as we all know, there is no handbook, course or study material for the "real" life of a mother.  Oh, we can read all types of books on parenting a healthy child, what to and not to do, but being a mother entails more than helping you learn to tie your shoes and say "please" and "thank you".

Let me tell you about my mother.  Bernice was 36 years old by the time she had me, her first live born child, in 1970.  She had 3 miscarriages before me and based on the stories she told me, she really wanted me!  I love that! 

My mother was not married to my father and had to contend with him questioning whether I was really his child because I didnt look anything like him, 'cause I was light-skinned with chinky eyes and good hair.  He said I looked like the "Chinese laundry man's baby. "  Bernice, of course, cursed my dark-chocolate skinned, skinny, older father out about it.  My younger sisters, as you can see, came out looking more like him. 

My grandfather told her that he should have been glad that he could still produce a child as old as he was.  My father was 17 years older than my mother. 

She was his mistress for 20 years and had 3 children by him.  She claimed she couldn't stand his black ass, but I know that she had to be madly in love with him to stay around for that long.  I remember they used to go on dates from time to time.  He never lived with us and when I questioned her about that later, she said that he had a very high sex drive.  Of course, that made me think that she thought he may try to touch one of us girls inappropriately, but I never asked her outright.  It would have dug too deep.  I do think, however, that she may have been sexually abused or assaulted when she was younger and so she just didnt trust any man around us.

My mother raised us by herself.  I only remember seeing my father 3 times a year, at most.  Bernice was a nurse who worked hard to take care of us but was bad at managing money to a certain extent.  Looking back, I can see where the money went, but I also see a better way of handling it.  She did her best though and I can only respect that.  My father didn't give her money for support because he didnt really acknowledge us.  It's deep.

So my mother did her best.  She taught us how to handle ourselves as ladies.  How to sit on a couch instead of plopping down.  How to cook, how to clean, how to be respectful to our elders.  She even taught us how to drink by allowing us to drink at age 15, but only in the house with her so she could monitor how each of us would react to alcohol.  It was only rum and coke or wine coolers, but she taught us how to handle our liquor and when to say enough is enough.  She slow-walked us through make-up and high heels and smoking and boys.  She had set ages at which we could do all those important things and it was a good method because by the time we could do all of them, they really had lost their appeal.  (Except the boys!!! LOL Boys are always appealing!)

She did all of this but now I wonder, who was taking care of her?  As I look at my life focused on my children, I see where there are people here and there to pull me out of my own head.  My mother had a few but not as many as I do.  She didnt go out with her girlfriends.  She didnt hang out at the clubs.  My mom was always there.  ALWAYS THERE!  It is amazing how much we cherish as we get older but don't see when we are in the midst of it.  I appreciate that she got all of her partying out before she had us (as she put it).  I do wish she would have been more active and outgoing when we were coming up but she made her decision and that was that. 

I hope that my children appreciate that I am still learning but doing my very best to take care of them and myself.  I have made mistakes and done things I regret but my children always come first, as it was with my mother and as it always should be for all mothers!

Thank you Mommy.


Brown English Muffin said...

This was's such a hard balance. I'm not good at it at all...I'd rather NOT go out than have someone look after my daughter.

It's bad in the sense that she wears me thin quickly as opposed to if I'd had a break from her ...but good in the sense that I don't have to worry I guess.

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Adrienne said...

What a wonderful post!

Christina said...

So beautiful and honest! You are a good mama, sis.
We are all doing the best we can, with these gifts from God.

mademoisellechitchat said...

This is beautifully written, Charisse.

Wow! I hope that you are doing well this Sunday afternoon.

SincerelyGo said...

This was a great post...awww...



SincerelyGo said...

Oh and btw I think my mother had some type of childhood sexual issues as well. Growing up I couldn't visit any of my friends that had a daddy or a brother in the house...had to be a single mother with all girls. ...yeah serious!