A Special Mother’s Day Post – Thanks, Mom!

#BlackDontCrack in these streets! My mommy. Born in the 50s.
#BlackDontCrack in these streets! My mommy. Born in the 50s.

So this woman right here – this be the woman that borned me! 😀  heehee

So grateful for my mommy and for her grandmothering to my little ones. 🙂 This mother’s day, the thing I’m most grateful to her for is that she taught me how to SURVIVE and to survive on a certain level. Not just how to survive in terms of take care of your body and home, but how to survive in terms of anything under the sun that may happen to you. Correction – She didn’t just TEACH me how to survive. She CONDITIONED me to survive. Part of the reason why I can do the therapy I do now at an exceptional skill level is because of that CONDITIONING. *tears* I can hear her voice soft and stern in my ear, “Calm down, Alexis. You have got to calm down. Never lose control. Never let anything make you lose control.” She insisted that I respond to things thoughtfully, not knee-jerk or blindly or because I felt like it, but that I respond by watching, processing and never out of control. God took her conditioning and made it exceed even the limits of her imagination. It’s that conditioning (and God’s grace) that makes me able to walk in lion’s dens with severely aggressive children or give treatment to aggressive adults, have a shoe thrown at my back or spit in the face, but never fail to respond according to procedure and plan. (It’s one of the hardest skills to teach therapists I’ve observed or trained ’cause it gets real after several hours, everyday, every week, y’know?) I have been so conditioned in this manner that I’ve experienced people that can’t bring themselves to believe/can’t imagine that X happened in my life, but all I did was Y in response. I owe that to nobody but Jesus and His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit — but God has been using that conditioning to help keep my footing in the face of an enemy that has done more than I dare say to try to destroy me. “Don’t let yourself get out of control. Look, all you have to do is this…” “Look here, this what you do…but whatever you do, stay calm.”

Yeah, my mom made me MacGyver.                                                                                                                                                                                                  (Minus the ability to make an electric saw from paper clips and dental floss. I have my dad to thank for that.)

She taught, required, demanded the skills, the knowledge, the wisdom and understanding necessary to survive. She taught me to do what you gotta do. That my feelings about whatever it is I “gotta do” are not to dictate whether or not I do it, whether or not I handle business. (Case in point? I’ve hated school since kindergarten. Yep. Kindergarten. Still was an A student for nearly the entirety of my life. Will get my Masters degree at the end of the summer. Still hate school. More than ever.)

Just from seeing most of this revolving door of babysitters I’ve hired or even from hearing the commentary of this one or that one, even when I went away to my fancy elite college and saw so many of the brightest minds in America unknowing of how to do basic things to care for themselves, it strikes me now more than ever that how to SURVIVE, the notion of doing whatever you’ve got to do/whatever you can to accomplish what must be accomplished, to handle your business (with integrity), and that whether or not you want to do that thing doesn’t alone dictate what you do, that emotions of anger, disappointment, shock, pain, panic cannot be permitted to control how you respond to whatever caused the distress, that a clear mind is life-saving and situation-containing, now more than ever it strikes me that a lot of people weren’t taught these things as children. It all just illuminates to me the magnitude of what my mom has done for me in this area of her parenting, how different certain things may have turned out if she had not done this….

There’s a children’s book by Eric Carle that my son love love loved called, Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother, Too? It goes through a swan, a dolphin, a lion, a bear and so on, asking the question, Does a (insert animal) have a mother, too?” And that question every time being answered on the next page with, “Yes! A (insert animal) has a mother. Just like me and you.” Then it gets to the last two pages – “And do animal mothers love their babies?…YES! YES! Of course they do. Animal mothers love their babies, just as yours loves you.” And you know what? It really is a funny thing – the lack of prevalence of what my mom taught me in the upbringing of children, because when it comes to just about every mammal in the animal kingdom, if the mother teaches her young nothing else, she teaches them how to survive.

Thanks, Mom.

 

*PS This is not to say that nothing has ever made me have a knee-jerk flipout reaction (sans cursing. I don’t curse). It does mean, however, that if you’re the one that inspired that reaction, you might have my mom and Jesus to thank for me not coming after you with my paper clip and dental floss electric saw. Your welcome.  🙂

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