When I woke this morning, I rolled toward the daylight and wondered, “Why?” Why am I here, far away from home, stressing over tests and presentations? Why did I go back to school?
As I rolled back towards my pillow, I caught a glimpse of her smile. The picture right above my pillow, on the stained wall of my dorm, is my mother. There’s my answer. I pushed up from my bed with the force of my renewed inspiration. Just thinking of her makes it easier.
My mother is, hands down, the strongest lady I have ever met. I have endless memories of her. They have changed in my mind throughout the years. When I was a kid they were just factual, this happened, then this followed. As I grew into my teenage years, the memories became things for me to feel angry about and as I became a woman, the memories I have of my mother have become the evidence of her strength.
I remember the pieces of my childhood in glimpses. I remember her getting ready for work and leaving after dinner to go drive people from hotel to bar and back to hotel. While they got drunk and had a good time, I can only imagine that she wondered if her kids did the dishes, if they made it to bed on time.
I remember my mother baking cakes for birthdays and celebrations and struggling to be able to afford cakes for her own children and never even expecting to celebrate her own birthday.
I remember her watching other people’s kids and giving every last bit of herself to be able to spend time with her own.
I remember my mother through jobs she had, tasks she did. I remember my mother through her hugs and her supportive words. I remember her tears and I remember her laugh.
These are the memories of my childhood. Now I know my mother as a woman. She is a woman just like me. I have my good days and I have my bad. On both types of days, I call my mother to get strength. She has her good days and she has her bad days and on both types of days, I call my mother to offer her strength back to her.
I love you, Mama.