When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. — Paul The Apostle
When I was a child between the ages of four and eleven I was very envious of my cousins. To me they had the cookie cutter mom and the all American home life.
Their mom stayed home. And since my aunt didn’t work she was able to shower her children with love and guidance. On the other hand, my mom, her sister, was a working woman. My mom worked two jobs and she had little to no time for her children. Therefore, me and my siblings were forsaken the love, understanding, and guidance that came from healthy parenting.
My aunt was a woman that took her role as a mom seriously. Each of her children had swimming lessons one day and was taken to the library the next day. She was a mom that made sure dinner was cooked everyday. She was a mom that afforded her children the luxury to explore the heights of their imaginations. She was the kind of mom that all children wish they had but seldom got or get. And even though she was my aunt and a supermom I being her niece was living in parental poverty.
Parental poverty is a doorway that starves the mind from reaching its full life’s potential. Most times parental poverty emotionally starves children of healthy emotions, as it slowly sends the souls of children into hardship. It cripples children from learning and hampers childhood dreams. It cast shadows over the lives of children and makes them question their existence.
And, sadly, my poor mom never realized the full meaning of being a parent. She never really understood her role as a mom or a single mother. Therefore, she never figured out she was for a temporary moment the captain of her children’s lives. In her efforts to provide for her young she failed to see her children were starving for character building nourishment only a parent could give. And as I grew so did my expectations concerning how my mom should parent me.
I hated my mom for not parenting like her sister. I so desperately wanted to learn how to swim. But my mom’s obligation to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table kept her from fulfilling my wishes. And each time one of my child desires went unmet I began to nurture the love hate emotions I cultivated towards my mom.
I was never easy to get along with. I hated my parents and with the exception of my aunt Pearl and her children I hated the rest of my mom’s family. And most of all I hated being black, therefore, I hated my life. And because my mom lacked experience as a nurturer the demands to shelter and feed became a lethal combination.
My mom had no idea she was killing my spirit when she told others I was retarded. And hearing her unkind words cut deeply. But my will to survive was stronger than the words she expressed to others. My will to succeed was predestined and I knew that!
So when I was a child I made clear to self I was going to be someone special. I was going to give to myself what my mom never gave to me, and rebuild what her mean-spirited words had torn down. I was going to show my mom who was retarded!
My long awaited day of exoneration never came the way I thought. My mom has grown old and is now sickly. I became a parent that also made mistakes. And as my mom’s health continues to decline the thoughts of revenge are replaced with compassion. I no longer seek vindication nor does the thought of it appease my wounded soul. By realizing my mom did the best she could with the understanding she had my broken heart was healed. And in acknowledging her deficiency as my mom her overdrawn parental account is paid in full.