When I speak of life, I have to speak of my mother. She has a delightful spirit and quiet strength and I love her dearly. As I mature, I really start to see the depth of the personal sacrifices she made to raise three children. About a month and a half ago, my sister and I went out to eat and after dinner we sat talking over a few Buds, (we like our beer!). The conversation went from men to life, money to dreams. She told me she found an old financial aid application while dejunking her junk room. (Most folks in my family are pack-rats.) She said there was a place on the form where my mother listed her annual income. When she told me the amount, I could only sit in silence. She shook her head in wonderment and I saw the same respect and love I felt in her expression.

“Do you believe she raised three children on that, with no public assistance and a few dollars from Daddy?”

I could only utter a tiny, “Wow.” Sure, my father helped out and I knew if I needed anything I could ask him. He used to call me Moochie because I was always digging in his pockets for loose change or hitting him up for $5. I just wanted to see if he’d give it to me. The more I thought about what my sister said, the more I feel the need to succeed. I’ve often though that my entrepreneurial spirit came from my father but I realize I get my “do what you have to do” attitude from my mother. She’s always been crazy smart and creative too. We were disciplined and well-behaved as youngsters and when we got older, we just knew better. She did a hell of a job raising us. We got whooped when we did wrong but we always knew why we were punished. There were no “time outs” but there were plenty of belts and wooden spoons!

Our Difficult Paths

After my father died, I was mad. I was mad at everybody. Even her. How could this happen? I blamed myself. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was supposed to happen. It occurred to me that my mother may have blamed herself or thought she did something wrong because my youngest brother is serving 35 to life. I’ve never spoken to her about it but I am my mother’s daughter and I can only imagine what she went through or rather, what she put herself through.

I don’t know if she’ll read this — she’s online but doesn’t do a whole lot of surfing. If she happens by – Mom’s are curious by nature… Mom I love you more than I could ever put into words. You are my inspiration. I apologize for any “changes” I put you through. I’m a good kid, you know that. We all turned out well as far as I’m concerned because you taught us the most important things – to respect and love you — and others. You are one of the most gracious and graceful women I know. You’re diplomatic, caring and sweet. Though my life path is very different from yours, I can only pray and hope to be half the woman you are.

I’ve said all this to say that life is more than fame or fortune, it’s about family. I know people who have excommunicated family members or been outcast themselves for whatever reason. That is about the saddest thing I can imagine. God has blessed me with a supportive, loving family and I can’t imagine what my life would be without them. Even when they’re gone or I’m gone, that love will still be there. It transcends time.