Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

That beautiful woman in the picture with me is my mother. This picture was taken 3 years ago on my wedding day in her backyard. Physically, I am just like my mother. We have the same smile, the same shape, the same feet, the same walk, the same freckles...I guess you could say I'm a brown version of her.

I've mentioned in previous posts that I had an interesting childhood because even though both of my parents are black, I was often treated as if I were biracial. My mother is often mistaken for a white person because of her fair skin. When I was little and my mother worked in my elementary school, everyone just assumed she was white and assumed I was mixed--either that or adopted (never mind that I look just like her).

It's no secret that there is a lot of intraracism in the black community and a long history of people being plagued with color complexes. Recently one of my good friends asked me if I had a color complex growing up because I am the darkest person in my mother's family. I had never really even thought about it until she asked me that question. My answer was no, and I have my mother to thank for that.

As a child, I don't think I ever even knew I was darker than the rest of my family. They never made the distinction. My mother always made it a point to have black art and black images in our house. She was proud of her brown babies and she showed us with her love every day. I have always loved the color of my skin, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I look at young black girls today and I see how they struggle with their identity, trying to live up to society's standards of beauty. It is hard to believe that you are beautiful when everything around you is telling you that you are not.

My mother has always said she has a PH.D in motherhood and I agree. She stayed home with me until I was old enough to stay home by myself. She exposed me to different cultures and taught me to be proud of my blackness. She has been with me through every triumph, every heart ache, every trial and every success in my life. She always has a listening ear, a lending hand, and an insightful answer. She is my mom and my friend. She is more than I could ever dream of in a mother. She is my blessing from God. I'll always love my mama!

Happy Mother's Day Mom!