My Mother’s Strength was My Greatest Need

I didn’t like my mother growing up. Well, that might be harsh. Let me say I didn’t know my mother growing up. There was no time for a relationship. My mother was more interested in respect and obedience than relationship. And so I didn’t like her because I didn’t know her. Here I was a dwarf of a child listening to this woman barking orders and swinging the switch to keep 13 children in line.

Mother was a strong disciplinarian; I assumed she wasn’t capable of loving me because in my eyes she just lived to beat me. I believe I got a beating for waking up in the morning and going to bed at night. The solution to every problem, mother had with me and my siblings was a good switching or backhand or belt or whatever was handy at the time.

Mother could be relentless in her discipline but reserved in her demonstration of love. No, I didn’t like my mother growing up. I didn’t like her because I didn’t know her.

There was no relationship worthy of Mother becoming my friend; someone, I could like. There little time for nurturing in that fashion. There was only time for work, church, and school. The fun we had included baseball, the beach, and festivals about town. She took us to relatives’ homes and allowed us to roam like children.

So I grew up rebellious at times and conforming at times. I stayed in some trouble and people would say I was a problem child because of my nonconformity. I was different; I was alone. I was in trouble at school but a saint at church. My school teachers would pull my ears but my Sunday School teacher would kiss me on my cheeks. I got baptized at 12, sang in the youth choir, and became an orator in plays and programs, a favored poet in my church. I got in trouble at school, in jail at sixteen, and pulled over for DUI as an adult. My troubles intensified when my best friend, my brother Dwight drowned at 15; I was 16 at the time. For many years my life was in a spiral of self-destruction through riotous living.

My mother, however, kept telling me she was praying for me. I didn’t like my mother because I didn’t know my mother. That is until I realized the length she would go to ensure my safety and prosperity in life. I was older before my rebellion turned into reconciliation. My mother talked with me when I grew up; she nurtured my longings and aspirations and became my biggest fan. Always there for the major accomplishments in my life and always visiting and calling to come see her grands. Mother became my friend; I was older; I understood. I realized she had always been, my mother!

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