Now I’m not saying that my mother was a wild child, but she did have some fun (and not so fun) experiences. And when she shares these things with me, I wonder why she didn’t tell me sooner. I think the mother/daughter relationship is one of the most fascinating because here is this person, this “mini me”, you can put all your hopes, dreams, and missed opportunities into. Someone you work hard to ensure does things better than you did them, avoids the mistakes you made, doesn't endure the trying times you did. However, to do this, mothers who oftentimes know the landmines and pitfalls of life through first hand experience, in an effort to protect their image, give their daughters blanket lessons. Keep your legs closed. Don’t do drugs. You bet not get pregnant. Finish school. Don’t drink and drive. Come straight home. Don’t go down the hill to that neighborhood. Don’t hang with those people. Don’t date that n****a.
I know that mothers have to walk that fine line of rearing a child by example and revealing who they really are to their children. Do you reveal to your child that you used to smoke weed, only to have it thrown back in your face when they try it? Do you tell them about your “first time” or tell them to wait until they’re married? Do you tell them about that abortion you had as a teen? I mean I don’t know how I would have handled hearing some stories about my mother while I was a teen. How would knowing that even my mother made mistakes have affected the decisions I made, the way secrets I kept, the lies I told, the life I tried to lead because I didn't want to disappoint? While I grew up in a house where my mother was very open with her children, where she spoke frankly about all topics, including sex, she rarely interjected herself into these stories. Growing up I saw my mom as someone who had never done wrong, never made poor decisions, never dated men other than my daddy. Of course over time I learned this was false.
And so there are times when I do wish that when I was younger she would have opened up more about her life. Maybe I would have come to her with a whole ‘nother set of questions. And I wonder if I ever have children (especially daughters) what I will share with them. Once when I was going through my photos and I saw one of me in a shirt that revealed plenty of cleavage, I said to my mother, “What will I tell my kids when they see this?” And she said, “Tell them, ‘I was going out to look for your father.” Ha!
But for real, readers of the 5 spot, what do you wish you knew about yo’ mama and what do you wish yo’ mama had told you ‘bout herself while you were growing up?
That’s my time y’all! Happy Rum Punch Friday!