Mommy Dearest

My mom, Vilma Alleyne

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

February 7th was my mom’s birthday! She loves to celebrate birthdays and so do I! There are so many things I could say and write about my mother. We always wait until Mother’s Day or some other special occasion to say “thank you” or “I love you” to our mothers. I love to remember her birthday, valentine’s day, mother’s day, wedding anniversary and more. All those days provide me with an opportunity to show and tell my mother that I love her. As we all celebrated her birthday I started to reflect on the qualities that make her so special. More specifically I reflected on the ways in which were different, then alike and so much more…

My mom and I are different because:

She is quiet.. I am loud.

She is an introvert …I am an extrovert.

She does not like to entertain…I looooove to entertain!

She does not like to speak in front of crowds…I have spoken in front of thousands!

She gets upset for the smallest things, like leaving your shoes scattered at the door, while letting the big things slide, like relatives cursing her out. As you can imagine, I get upset for the small and the big things! No one, and I mean no one is going to curse me out!

My mom and I are similar too.  We are similar because:

We both loooove to travel!

We both love to exercise.

We both love birthdays, holidays (I mentioned that before). We enjoy all holidays and appreciate any occasion to celebrate!

We both love kids. She has been teaching the kids at my home church ever since I can remember. So I figure, if I had to guess, it must be at least 40 years or more. So true story…In the baby section or beginners’ section in my hometown and home church, MY CRIB, my original crib that was purchased when I was born, still stands! I kid you not, my crib, still holds all sleeping babies and toddlers in my home church. I know you don’t believe me but ask my mom! The color is different. She repainted it herself. And I believe the mattress. I should hope the mattress is different by now! My nephews and nieces have all slept in my crib!

We both love to eat and try new foods. My mom has accompanied me to many dates at restaurants and parties. I remember taking my mom out to one of the top notch  restaurants in my country. At the time, I was working with a government agency and was actively searching for a venue for a staff function. The ideal venue  needed to accommodate up to 500 persons. This particular hotel had submitted a bid and subsequently invited myself and a guest to dine au gratis at their world class restaurant, enjoy the ambience etc. So my mom was my plus-one. The food including dessert was great! We still had to pay for drinks though. The venue was a little too small. Ultimately my mom and I had a great time but unfortunately this venue was not selected for the staff event.

I greatly admire my mom too and here’s why:

My mom is faithful. She has been a faithful wife and mother for almost 50 years.

She  is loyal. Once she considers you a friend, it will take the VERY forces of nature to break that bond!

She is loving. My mom is a very loving and caring person.

She always thinks the best of everyone. Now this is a hard act to follow. There are times when my mom would recount a story that has a very sad ending.  I see the dark clouds, she usually sees the silver lining!  This can be very infuriating for me.  There are very few times when my mother fails to find good in a given situation.

Behaviors I wish she would change include:

She suffers in silence. I am not sure that is a good thing. Internalizes her suffering.

She doesn’t cry. The late great Bob Marley sang a song that said, “No Woman No Cry.” Unfortunately many women of color have taken that to heart. Most of the women in my life do not cry often. Most persons don’t know this, but my dad cries more than my mom! I mean publicly crying! He is as tough as nails, but he is still a crier!

She is brutally honest, like brutally! I remember once she told one of my brothers (he was on his high school swim team at the time) that he might as well stop swimming competitively because he would most likely never become a national swimmer. He was crushed. We were shocked.  Both my brothers swam competitively, my swimming was more for recreational purposes. When I tried out for my high school swim team I almost drowned, one of the competitors literally pushed me under water and swam over me. But that’s another story…

And finally, here’s why I  love my mom:

I love my mom because she loves me,  always has and always will.

She prays. She tells me that she is praying for me and I know she does.

My mom is one of my best friends. I have to say one of because, firstly we are friends, but she is also clear that she is my mom. Although in recent years she has told my brothers and I to call her by her first name since we are all adults now. So we call her “Vilma” or “Vils.” We call my father, daddy. He’s not having it any other way!

She listens. I mean she really listens. I am a talker. People talk to me and I talk over them. Ready to solve their problems. My mom, well, she listens. I am learning to listen..slowly…but my mother she is a listener. That is a great quality to have when you are surrounded by family who love to talk!

She is my biggest fan. Like I am not a celebrity. But my mom, she makes me feel like a super star. I have never felt there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. No place I couldn’t go, no dream I couldn’t achieve. Again she was not much of a talker but she was a believer in my dreams. Not that she  couldn’t be brutally honest at times (as I mentioned earlier) but she still believed in  ALL and I mean ALL my dreams, and there are and were many!

She is a woman of God. She is not perfect but she has shown me God in her life. She has shown me how to love unconditionally. To love even when persons don’t love you back, or malign you, or abuse you and take advantage of you. She has always been one to turn the other cheek. Not retaliate but retreat. I used to get upset with her, but now I understand. You can win the battle but ultimately lose the war. She has, and continues to win her wars.

At present she is one country and I am in another. It’s been a year and a half since I have seen my mother in person. We see each other and speak on Zoom or Whatsapp.  Thank God for the technology that allows us to do so! Wherever you are today, whatever you are doing, stop and call reach out to your parents, especially if they are physically close to you right now. The bible admonishes children to obey their parents.

Cherish your parents. Show them the love they deserve. If your parents are no longer with you, recall the good times or if you have parents-in-law, treat them as your parents you will never regret it!

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