Thoughts on Mother's Day...

by Lois Cooper

Mothers are a special and divine species chosen as the vessel by which life is birth into the world. Tupac Shakur, a very talented rapper/actor, summed it up in a hip hop lyrical prose that said, “You get your name from woman, you get your game from a woman.” To loosely paraphrase, it means that your mother is your first teacher. We all know that the role of teacher and nurturer is a very complex and complicated one, so on this Mother’s Day we salute all mothers. 

Being a mother is a job that has no manual or standard operating procedures. It’s all on-the-job training. You learn as you grow into your motherhood-being. There are so many forces that influence parenting, such as economics, environment, daily stress, peers and other uncontrollable variables that you cannot predict the outcome. For some, motherhood is a relationship that is placed high above all others. It’s a bond that you really can’t explain unless you’ve been there.

Before I had children, I would judge others and think, “What could be so hard about parenting?” When I had my own children it was a whole different ball game. My mother once said to me she hadn’t slept eight hours since 1947, the year her first child was born. I share that quote with many people because I understand what it means now.

Mothers work hard juggling many roles and sometimes several jobs in order to make sure they are doing all they can for the family. It’s usually the mother that’s there when things go right, and when things go wrong. Mothers are there to encourage and lift the spirits of her children and family. It’s the mother who tries to instill values and courage into her children. It’s the mother who most often has to explain the harsh reality of the world to their children when they are confronted with bigotry, hatred and bulling in their personal lives, on the big screen movies, on TV and social media. So often it’s the mom who works to help navigate their children through all the awkward stages of growing from a teen to young adult.

When my daughters went off to college, I spoke to them every day except for maybe two or three times in their four years away from home. When we didn’t speak it was because I really pissed them off with my unsolicited advice or judgements. That’s how close we are. Our life has been one of ups and downs, with quite a few downs. What I hope I have instilled in them is how to survive when the odds are against them, and how to celebrate and be grateful when life is well.

When we were going through a storm once my youngest daughter asked me, “Mom will we ever be happy again?” I told her we would be. Maybe five or six years ago she came to me and said, “Mom, you said we would be happy again. Thank you.” That was worth its weight in gold. I had provided them with the faith and hope that situations can change with the passing of time.

As mothers, we all have our very own journeys that are as unique and different as the children we bear. Whatever your family looks like, and whatever good or bad times you have had, remember you were divinely selected for the role. Motherhood is not for the light at heart. My mom with all her wisdom said, “When your children hurt, you hurt, too.” She also said, “You never stop being a parent no matter how old your children get.”

So on this Mother’s Day I honor my Mom and all mothers everywhere. In the words of Tupac… 

“Dear mama
Place no one above ya, sweet lady
You are appreciated…”

Happy Mother’s Day. Be Well!

Author Lois Cooper and her mother. Happy Mother's Day!

Lois Cooper

Lois is a native Washingtonian and proud parent of two daughters who recently graduated from college. She is the founder and Director of the District of Columbia African American Legacy Foundation (DCAALF), a grassroots organization that helps underserved populations.

Lois is also the creator and producer of the “The Pride and Promise of Petworth” documentary. Ms. Cooper credits Petworth with helping her to develop into the person she is today. You can email Lois with questions or suggestions on articles about social issues.

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