To all the moms in the world, Happy Mother’s Day! Children are a blessing and motherhood is a journey. There is nothing more universal than motherhood. Being a mother will bond people of vastly different backgrounds together in a New York minute, it doesn’t matter if you are a mother in a refugee camp, a mother in the Kalahari Desert, a mother in the suburbs, the ghettos, even in huge mansions and palaces, as mothers we have the same aspirations for our children. We want our children to be happy, to live fulfilling lives, to reach their potential and for them to achieve more than we did, to live bigger and better lives, to have more opportunities. I include rich mothers because there is a fair amount of misery in households that reside in large mansions and palaces as well, misery and suffering do not discriminate. The one thing that is most universal is no mother wants to do bury her own child, ever, under any circumstance.
So, on this Mother’s Day, I will dedicate this post to mothers who have lost their children in all various horrific circumstances: war, disease, hunger, conditions caused by poverty and lack of services, mothers who drowned with their children in the Mediterranean sea trying to go to a better life in Europe. The Middle East and Africa right now is engulfed in a conflagration so big that the end is no where in sight. If it’s not involved in sectarian fighting between religious sects then it’s corrupt governments and civil wars all of which will cause its population to suffer from disease, hunger and death by fire and weaponry. The fighting in the Syria has gotten so brutal that children are not spared from sniper fire. We turn on the news and you hear about updates of the Assad regime, post-Qadaffi Libya, ISIS, Al-Shabab of Somalia and Boko Haram of Nigeria, they just give you statistics, how many fighters killed, how many civilians killed, how much land was taken back from each of these barbarous groups, but very little is mentioned of the people that are caught in the crossfire and it’s always the most vulnerable of society, the elderly, women and children. Many more mothers will bury their children before stability is restored to the region. So to those suffering and grieving mothers, trying to bring up their children in unbearable circumstances or burying them along the way, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I cannot imagine what that is like and I count my blessings everyday for my own healthy children, residing in a peaceful nation.
But specifically at home here in the Unites States, to the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Mike Brown, Walter Scott and Eric Garner. All of these mentioned are black boys and men as young as 12 years old up through 50 years old that have been murdered by some member of law enforcement (except Trayvon Martin, he was murdered by a racist punk). Their deaths are tragic and the grief their mothers feel must be unbearable. We are not in a war zone, the last war that was fought on US soil was The Civil War and ever since then the United States has enjoyed unprecedented peace and stability whilst the rest of the world went up in flames in 2 World Wars and other battles in between. The only instability come from riots and clashes with the police and the fact that so many die in what should be peaceful protests is a shame.
As a mother, all you want to do is protect your children from the moment they are born until the moment you die and if you are able to reach beyond the grave to help, scold and guide our children, we would too. I tell my kids that I will haunt them from my grave, they don’t quite know what that means yet. We know it’s impossible to protect our children from every harm, physical or emotional, we can only prepare them for the world so that they can fight for themselves but it doesn’t stop us from trying. And I suppose the greatest failure a mother can feel is failure to protect her child from harm, even if it’s not our fault, even if it was circumstances beyond our control but that was our child, it’s our duty to protect them.
One never stops being a mother regardless how old your children are or how old you are. I once saw a documentary about the lives centennials, one lady was 100 and her daughter was 80 years old, her 80 year old daughter was suffering from breast cancer and she, at 100, was nursing her daughter. When her daughter died from breast cancer, she was inconsolable, being 100 years old and your daughter being 80 years old, a ripe old age for most does not shield you from the pain of losing a child, she referred to her 80 year old daughter as her ‘baby’. Regardless of age, even if you live to be 100 and your child is 80, you should not bury your own child. The old cliche of you don’t know how it feels until you become a mother is so true, when one becomes a mother, one also has the fortitude to forgive the mistakes of one’s own mother. When I became a mother the first time, I suddenly realized just how my own mother felt about me in direct relation to how I felt about my child. If I felt this way about my child, then my mother must have felt the same and more about me. Many things I misunderstood about my mother became clear.
The last mother I want to salute is Toya Graham of Baltimore, who was filmed in a lovely bright yellow dress, dragging her son out of the riots and proceeded to smack him in the middle of the street (given the circumstances, I consider that reaction mild). She didn’t know she was being filmed, and clearly it wasn’t her ‘best look’, shall we say, but her son defied her. She gave specific instructions to not go down to the riots and he didn’t listen. This was a life and death situation and Toya Graham was dead serious. The Baltimore police by this point are losing patience with rioters and any false move, we are looking at another white officer shooting a black kid again. Mom was very clear, do not go down there, he didn’t listen she went and grabbed him. Of course her actions sparked debate about parenting style between black and white people, rich and poor people but most hailed her as the mother of the year because she got her kid to behave and dragged him kicking and screaming to safety as any mother would do. She had to go on television and ‘explain’ her actions when clearly, no explanation was necessary. Any mother with a strong willed teenaged child will understand. Her motivation was to only keep him safe, like all mothers, we just want to protect our children, and her words summed it up perfectly, ‘he’s not perfect, but he’s mine.’ Amen. Happy Mother’s Day, Toya!