For My Mother; May I Inherit ALL Her Strength

Bonne Maman in French is roughly translated to granny or grandmother. It’s also the name of a brand of preserves and jellies and jams and cookies and tartelettes and madelines and meringues and SO many other awesomely delicious things! I mean, they are absolutely addictive! One cookie and I was hooked. I even wanted to take home a few things from France, but the day before I went to the airport, I opened my suitcase and took out all the awesomeness I had packed to take home to my friends and family (sorry friends and family) and I sat on the floor of my neat and bare little room, and ate them all. ALL.
Disclaimer: I am currently suffering from FWS (France Withdrawal Syndrome) so please pardon my seemingly manic rant about sweets.
Anyhow, the subject of this blog is not the awesomeness of Bonne Maman. Today is in fact my mother’s birthday and for today, I would like to loosely translate Bonne Maman to Good Mother. Because that’s what my mother is. Actually she’s an awesome mother, and that’s not only because she raised me to be so awesome, but because my brothers are also kinda awesome too. Ha. But really, I know most children will say that their mother is the best and the most awesome and all that jazz, because hey, it’s your mother we’re talking about here. But, I must let you all know that MY mother is THE BEST and THE MOST AWESOME.
I’ve seen a post on Pinterest that says something to the effect that how a parent speaks to their child will be the little voice in their head when the child grows up. That is an absolute fact. My mother would always say “feast today, famine tomorrow” when we would want to eat everything in the house all at once, especially those days when she went to the supermarket. And, I must say that I still have that urge whenever I get home from the supermarket, but then I hear that little voice in my head saying “feast today, famine tomorrow” and I just put back the Doritos and the Chippies and go eat a banana and drink some water. 
My husband also gets his fair share of the little voice. He’s the kind of fellow who does a basic search. Meaning, if his eyes don’t fall upon the object of his desire immediately, it’s lost. So he then pleads for my help to find it. And I usually do, because it’s usually just beneath what he swooped his eyes over two seconds ago. Then I will hand this “lost” item to him and say “you never look for anything”, slightly altering my mother’s version: “You children never look for anything!”
Little voice aside, my mother has made quite an impact on me, thanks to the monumental tasks she would always willingly take on when I was a child. At any given moment during my childhood, there were other people living in our house. There would be WIC/NCU students who were boarding and there would also be either a cousin or a child of a family friend (or both) who would be staying with us for a while. Sometimes years. And everybody loved Aunty Joan. Even now, if you go to our house, the situation is still the same. My mother is my definition of selfless. 
Sometimes I marvel at the things my mother had to do. I wasn’t a bad kid. Neither were my brothers. But, let’s just say we were a handful sometimes. She never blew a fuse, but we were always properly disciplined and it was always done with our best interest in mind. I think about the times before we had a washing machine. My mother would always do ALL the laundry (she’ll still do mine if I ask) which included but was not limited to: my brother’s ENORMOUS jeans, all of our school uniforms, all of our sheets and bedspreads, all of her clothes.  And she’d do all of it by hand. To this day, I can barely rinse out one of my husband’s shirts. A Mother’s power I tell ya.
My father died when I was three years old. My brothers were eight and seven. We never grew up with that father figure per se (though my older brother would really try….and we had our uncles) but twenty years later, I don’t feel at a loss or at a disadvantage for not growing up with a father. My mother was enough. And she still is. We’re talking about a woman who had to raise three children-and most times another two or three-all by herself. Working one job. And this ain’t the greatest job out there, if you know what I’m saying. Because of her, I am who I am today (and so are so many other people!) and I know that when the time comes, I’ll be an awesome mother too and she’ll be an awesome bonne-maman.
So today, I’d like everyone to join me in saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the most awesome mother in the world!!!
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2 thoughts on “For My Mother; May I Inherit ALL Her Strength

  1. This brought tears to my eyes. My story is somewhat similar, my Dad didn't die when I was young but he left when i was two (2) years old and I hardly ever saw him after that. My mom was the one who reared my bro and I with the help of God. A big salute to all the awesome "bonne-mamans" out there. Happy birthday to Shari's bonne maman. For our mothers may we inherit half their strength. 🙂

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