Real Life Real Faith Mommy Matters Real Life Real Faith Mommy Matters May/June 2016 | Page 15

When I was seven, she married my sisters’ father. Although we went through a lot at home that I didn’t understand, I never had a desire for my parents to be married to each other. I have always been content with who I am and how I got here. I think that has everything to do with my mother’s resolute spirit. You tell her she can’t do something; she’ll prove you wrong every time.

That’s exactly what she did when she decided to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). No, it is not as glamorous as being a registered nurse (RN) but caring for my dying grandmother gave my mother clarity as to what she wanted to do in life. My stepfather, the admissions officer and a few other people told her that she would fail. Deep down inside, I know she was afraid but she pushed anyway. She studied hard. Bugged my uncle for math help. And, used her learning experience to teach us how to study. Two years later, she was an LPN. My oldest uncle, who had not wanted to discourage my mom, told her that he thought she would quit because so many of her classmates dropped out of the program. She smiled and said, “I was scared too but I had to do this for me, for my girls.”

Even with her associates degree and new job, the homemade biscuits and time for us never stopped. One Valentine’s Day, my sister’s and I requested biscuits for dinner so she went into the kitchen of our two-bedroom apartment and started mixing the dough. My mind was on one particular boy, Brandon Adams and not because I liked him. He was one of those bad boys who intimidated me into being his girlfriend. He made me uncomfortable but I really didn’t know how to tell him or anyone else that I didn’t like him, even a little.

Soon after Mom started rolling out the dough, someone knocked on the door. My middle sister answered it and said, “Kasha, some boy is here to see you.”

My heart dropped. I was only thirteen and knew that dating was not allowed. At the same time, I was relieved that this was out in the open. I could be helped.

My mom looked at me. Sensing my discomfort, she wiped her hands on a towel and straitened her clothes. “I’m going to nip this in the bud,” she said under her breath as she made her way to the door. “Makasha is too young to date. Go on now. Leave here, and leave her alone,” she said, not giving Brandon an opportunity to speak before she closed the door in his face. He never spoke to me again. Thanks mom.

I grew up. Went to college. Got a job. Got married. And, had my own children. Many of the values my mom instilled in me are now part of the value system I’m imparting into my family. One of the values is being a present parent. Although I appreciated the time my mom spent with me as a child, it wasn’t until I became a mom myself that I understood that time is more than time.

Being actively present in a child’s life gives the parent an opportunity to be intuitive about the child’s needs. Countless times my mom has met the unspoken needs in my life. Just like she did when Brandon showed up at our front door uninvited and unannounced, Mom encouraged me to follow my gut as I sought to figure out what was wrong with my oldest son Justin.

I followed her example in child rearing. Because I spent so much time with him, it was easy for me to know that something wasn’t right. He was smart, mobile and inquisitive but the light often left his eyes. My husband and I were persistent about advocating for him but we kept running into walls. Friends and family members all had something to say; none of it was positive. Fortunately, my mom took a stand in our corner, loved my baby the way grandmothers do and told me to keep pressing. That’s what I did. Nine years later, Justin has benefited from our diligence and is on the road to living a healthy and happy life as all of us learn how to help him thrive on the autism spectrum.

And, like my mom, I prepare homemade meals for my boys. While I don’t make biscuits as often as she did, we visit Mississippi often so that my boys can bask in the love of their grandmother while enjoying the buttery, flaky goodness she sets before them at breakfast time. My heart swells with love when Justin wraps his arms around her waist to hug her and when my youngest son Jaden climbs into her lap to tell her jokes. Most of all, I enjoy the conversations with her over biscuits as we talk about the boys, my babies.