I’ve never jumped to words like “tender” “sensitive” or “emotional” to describe my mom. No, every Mothers’ Day, I look for the cards with “strength” “provider” and “determination” etched into praise. This is the woman who has juggled work, family, and business each and every day. She’s the short little lady who touches hot pizza ovens with her bare hands, who doesn’t say I love you often, but who hardly ever stops working to get her family whatever she needs. My mom is that strong black woman that no man or person could ever make her do something she’s determined not to do— in a word, stubborn. That’s been my mom. She hasn’t been the prettiest, the most affectionate, or most gentle woman to walk that earth, but she’s been whatever she has needed to be for those around her.
So to see her confined in a hospital bed, hooked up to monitors, IVs, and God knows what else, with tears in her voice and down her face, I don’t know what to do with that. How do you soothe the one who has usually fixed you when you were broken? What solutions do you offer her “I don’t know“‘s when that’s usually her area of expertise?
It all creates a feeling of desperation, to see this simultaneously remarkable and heartbreaking gesture. It makes my love for my mommy well up inside of me until I too have to cry a little to let it out. I hand her the solution on a platter in a heartbeat if I could. But all I can do is stand by her side, encourage her, and give her back the affection and support that all her years of sacrifice has built into me.