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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...


Furaha Kuzaliwa (y'all don't know about that)

That's Swahili for Happy Birthday and yesterday was my Momma's. I found myself speaking of her at work, testifying on how amazing she truly is, not really making the connection to why she was on my tongue. More amazing than that is that I'm mature enough now to even see it. I didn't grow up in love with my mother. She was the hard-lined, take no prisoners kind of mother that was a little too much at times for my sensitive ass. As we talk now, she recounts all the things she did to make the mundane fun for us. I don't recall much of it, but I believe it because she always has the best, most fun ideas for me to do with my students, and her memories of what she did for us are fresher than morning dew. She's a big kid at heart, but knew better than to fully expose that side of her self to her children so we didn't mess around and forget our places.

That's one theory. Another is that my mother is a strong woman who comes from a long line of strong women who bought into wearing your Super Woman cape tight enough to choke, and her tights one size too small to remind her of the feeling of struggle, in case she relaxed on the job. Then there was that whole single mother thing. I do remember the swell times more when my parents were together, but they blurred and became the dark years when my parents split up. I admit, my mind could be tainted by being a Daddy's Girl then no longer with my father, but I distinctly recall a decrease in smiles. I've adopted that. I'm also trying to shake it.

Today is a different day. My mother's struggles are more physical now, placing a different kind of emotional burden on her...on us. At the same time, I've never seen her smile more. Her appreciation for life, despite her challenges, is as infectious as the flu. Life is ever evolving, shaped by the often rough hands of experience. A smooth stone is usually left behind. Have you ever been to the water, any body will do, and found that perfect stone? You pick it up and rub it between your fingers, awed by the powers of time and patience. That's my mother. Like that stone, she's still hard, don't let the smooth taste fool ya, she will still take you to task. I'm thankful to no longer be on that side of her personality, happy to be able to watch in amazement as time and patience change my mother into a woman I'm capable of seeing.

I can only hope that one day time and patience will turn me into just such a woman.
Happy Birthday, Mommy!!

Watch me move.


  1. I almost felt a tear because I thought of my own extraordinary mommy. Our relationship is a little different because of my only child status, but I still knew (know) where the line is. She gave a music box when I turned 22 that read "Always my daughter but now my friend". She said that she held it after my 21st bday because she wanted to make sure that I didn't go crazy and make her regret extending friendship to me. My mom has had 30 surgeries with others potentially on the horizon, but she demonstrates a zeal for life that is unmatched by most. Mommies are special and Happy Birthday to yours!