Recently, I’ve been having some crazy awesome talks with my mother about the up, downs, and straight up facts of life. As we discussed my decision to study liberal arts and communication & media in school, she began talking about how she could’ve done the same thing at my age. Even though she had already started her action plan, I encouraged her much to take on various ventures.
Our conversation reminded me of “The Interruption of Everything,” by Terri McMillian. Let me briefly summarize the book and explain how it ties into my point. Marilyn, the main character, is women in her 40’s, who conceive a baby with her husband and is having a hard time accepting being a mother. The kids that she already has are busy being in with college, music, and making plans for graduate school. Marilyn suffers an unexpected miscarriage and though she’s sad about it, she takes this loss as an opportunity to evaluate her life, dreams, and aspirations. She and her daughter, Sabrina, have an interesting conversation about life, love and school. Both women are suggesting to each other to go on to grad school.
From Marilyn’s point of view, her daughter may have been pregnant but knew that she could finish out strong after the baby was born. In a like manner, Sabrina understood that her mother raised her kids well and knew that working part-time in a fabric store was fine for her. But she knew her mother could do more. The point? This story may be fiction but it hit home for me. I’ve watched my mother over the years just as much as she has watched me. She always encouraged me to keep God first and that I would be taken care of. After starting college, I began to understand how she sees the world and why she was the way she was…my mom is old school.
Down south born and raised during the Civil Rights Era, so she’s told me more than a thing or two about a thing or two. Now I’m not cracking on my mother in no way, shape or form. God knows I love my mom. But when I say my mother was tough, I don’t say it for kicks. When my father died unexpectedly at the age of thirteen, my mother found it within herself to make it and survive society as a single parent. She has (and still does) taught me about money management and how to make pound cakes. She showed me how to use a lawn mower and operate a weed wacker. After my mother retired last year, she cranked up a chain saw and began sawing a tree stump in our backyard…and made me use an ax. I used to tell my friends this and they thought I was crazy. What better way to spend quality mother-daughter time than working side by side using power tools?
Additionally, I always updated my mother about college life and the courses I was taking. My mommy was a science kid and I’m a social science/media person. Even though she didn’t understand my interest in sociology, she admired my ambition to pursue the major. She tried some courses, but she is determined to finish her bachelor’s in science. She eventually completed her associate’s degree in 2008 after working and raising four kids (Check out the picture)! Even though we weren’t attending the same school, it was pretty cool that my mother and I were in college at the same time [and my sister makes three :0)]. I still help her out every now and then with school. She is just taking her time, day by day, course by course towards her science degree.
It’s ironic. My mom used to tell me to do my best and no one can get in my way. Now I’m telling her, “We’re grown mommy. Don’t let nothing or no one hold you from your degree!” Glad we listened to each other.