To My Queen Mother, On Mother’s Day

If you’re looking for the Mother’s Day Music Mix, click here. In fact, you can let it play in the background, if you like…

[Originally posted on May 12, 2019 at]

Momma, I’m sitting here thinking about you and I’m going back and forth between happiness and hunger.  I know you would think I’m craving Twinkies like you lovingly and laughingly remember, but no, I’m craving some time with you.  We’ve agreed to make a trip on Memorial Day to see you and believe me, it can’t come soon enough.

How do I begin to describe the love I feel for you, my first love?  The woman who carried, nurtured and gave me life? I’m looking for the appropriate words but I can’t.  All I can do is watch the video clip memories as they fly through my mind.  Scenes of love that you’ve given me unconditionally, rewarding my best efforts and despite my wrongdoings.

My first haircut, with MOMMA!

Like when I pee’d on myself in Mrs. Gross’ 1st grade class because she told us that no one could talk until they raised their hand and she acknowledged them.  She was in the doorway, talking to another teacher and I sat there obediently (See? I was a good boy!), arm stretched and hand up high until I couldn’t take it anymore and the dam broke.  You softened my humiliation, rushing to school with a change of lower garments, a Baby Ruth candy bar and a hug. I can taste it now as I type this.

Or my first time losing a wrestling match in 4th grade.  I held my chin up, lower lip quivering as I asked the wrestling coach if I could go in the stands and be with my family instead of the team.  I walked up those bleachers and all it took was for you to stand with those loving outstretched arms before I burst into tears and disappeared in your enveloping arms.

Momma, your hugs heal better than those Alabama concoctions you mixed on the stove before rubbing them on my chest and feet when I had the flu (for the record, I realize now that those southern home remedies are what gave birth to today’s pharmaceutical products, but I lived in fear, of you one day strapping a chicken foot to my neck, having me smelling like turpentine, calamine lotion, Vaseline, castor oil and monkey grease when I arrived at school!).

I still laugh when I think about the time I was about to get jumped on the front porch and I stood my ground because dad taught me to never run from a fight.  You came to the screen door and politely warned, “If y’all gone fight, it better be fair and one on one.  If I see another niggah jump in, I’MMA jump in and ALL Y’ALL gon’ know you been in a fight!”  (Damn, momma.  Carry on…)  It was bittersweet, watching them walk away scared and confused.  I didn’t know if I should have felt proud or embarrassed because my mother came to the rescue.  I think I’ll focus on the former.  Momma, you’z a straight-up thug, Eufala, Alabama-style…

Right about now, thinking about you, I’ve got a hankering for some of your home-made pizza and your crack-like, addictive sweet potato pie.

I don’t need to say all of the things that you mean to me because my world already knows.  Social media has seen a dozen tributes to you. Hometown Facebook followers have made countless tributes to you, posting pictures of them and you in church, at which you are a living legend.  In fact, anyone can figure out that my most popular blog post (“Woman, I Value You, I Love You”) was heavily inspired by my gratitude and admiration of you.

All I know is that I love you and I need you in my life, for as long as God will allow.  I’m so afraid right now because I know that each passing day is one day less on our clock.  It hurts even more to know that you’re fighting a condition, of which, there is no cure and little defense.  It broke my heart during our last phone conversation when you asked me if I had any kids and wanted to know their names.  I begged God for strength enough to sustain me in front of my kids so they wouldn’t see me break before I snuck off to the bathroom and fell apart.

Momma, I don’t want to lose you and don’t want to think about living in a world without you because for 51 years, my world has been nothing BUT you!

I take pride in never having had a single argument with you, even though I didn’t always agree with you and vice versa.  I stand proudly, thinking of how you stood by my father’s side until the day God called him home.  I laugh when I think of all the times I could hear you screaming my name from the audience at every single stage performance, going back to kindergarten, where you walked me to school for the first week before trusting me to go it alone.  Hell, it was only a block away and nobody was interested in snatching little nappy headed boys wearing chicken foot pendants and smelling like…

Momma with my first two babies.

I smile when I think about the day I picked you up from the airport and drove straight to your grandbabies’ soccer games and your 60+ year-old Alabama booty bounced as you ran full speed from the parking lot to not miss any more time than necessary.  You always amazed me with your speed, just like you shocked my friends when you chased me or them down the street.

So I won’t concentrate on fear; only on love and happiness.  Today I honor you, my Queen Mother.  You are my first home, my first teacher and my guiding light.  You are my inspiration, my voice of wisdom and my calming force.

She ain’t “Ma” Barker, but she’s just as feared (but more so, loved).

Queen Mother, I live for you, will unquestionably give my life for you and I damn sure will kill for you.  I promise to spend every day loving you with a thunder that will rock earth’s tectonic plates and with a whispery breeze that will cool the warmest summer evening.  Nothing will ever stop me from giving you my heart; the heart that you created and molded to worship God, honor dad and you and raise my family, hopefully as well as you two loved and raised ours.

If I sit here long enough, I’ll forget that others are going to read this and want to get back to their lives before the rooster crows.  But it really doesn’t matter who reads this.  What does matter is that I say these words to YOU.

Queen Mother, this message is about love.  It’s about laughter.  It’s about life.  It’s about the legacy of this family and your part in the creation and continuation of it. It’s about the woman that represents the greenest, softest and sturdiest leaf on this family tree.

Queen Mother, you are my love.  My life.  You are my song and I’ll sing it ALL LIFE LONG.

…I love you, Queen Mother.  Long live the queen!

(For Mother’s Day, I was originally going to repost my “tribute to women”, as several have suggested, but I figured I’d dedicate today to my original source of strength, Queen Mother Lenora Davis.  If anyone is interested, you can find the other tribute here: “Woman, I Value You.  I Love You”.  And yes, I’m flattered and honored that you all have made it the most viewed post of my blog entries.  Thank you and love you…)

Happy Mother’s Day!

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