Gist: There are all types of mothers around us: church mothers, surrogate mothers, adopted mothers and biological mothers. This story set in a contemporary African American community in Southern California, and revolves around a young girl named Nadia Turner. The story doesn’t stay stuck on her, but it includes her community and how she evolves to a young woman in spite of betrayal, pain and suffering.
Best Lines: “In a way, subtle racism was worse because it made you feel crazy. You were always left wondering, was that actually racist? Had you just imagined it?”
“A tragic woman hooks into an ain’t-shit man, or worse, lets him hook into her.”
Recommend: Absolutely! It is a beautifully-written, sad story of a town not unlike one we may know or have heard of. The book felt real, the characters were interesting and I was invested. I probably should have read this faster than I did, but alas, I’m just glad to have added this book to my “DONE” pile.
I’ve been recently thinking about how different my life would be if I had a child. Specifically, Am I really ready to give up my time?
I know that there are big unspeakable sacrifices to be made when one decides to bring life into this world. And I know that somehow, if I decide to take that step, I will gladly accept that challenge. But is it selfish to say otherwise, that I don’t want to fully and completely give up my time EVER? Does this somehow, make me a bad person? Not a “real” woman because I don’t want to be a mother?
No. As actress Joy Bryant eloquently points out in her essay defending her life decision:
Motherhood, in all its beautiful significance, is a job I do not want.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think I can handle it. That doesn’t mean I don’t admire and honor all the mothers in my life. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a special heart for the children I use my skills and training to service. It just means I can make a choice on what my purpose is going in this lifetime. And I shouldn’t have to defend it, but depending on the approach, I don’t mind engaging in the conversation.
I’m not sure what stance I take. I haven’t completely decided. These days, I’m not only fantasizing of the “fairy tale” of motherhood, but also of the habits I don’t want to change in my life. The sacrifices that are not in poems on Mother’s Day cards or very much talked about.
I like to sleep. I like to eat out excessively, I like to wake up when my body wakes me up on Saturdays. I like to work on my schedule. I like my weekends, and every second of free time that I can steal during the week. I like my life this way.
Speaking, writing, and living my truth. No apologies.
Now-a-days, it’s hard living in a different state than my mother does. Mostly around the holidays. It’s hard to believe we have not lived in the same state for almost 10 years.
To be honest, distance has done my mother and I well. I had a very strict upbringing, especially around my pre-teen and teenage years. My mother and I could not get along. We could not communicate, and I believed at that age that my mother’s sole purpose was to make my life miserable. Eventually I learned it was pretty typical for mothers and daughters to be at war during puberty. And when she got married and moved to her husband’s state when I was 18, I felt a type of freedom I had wanted to experience but couldn’t while she was still around.
Betty, as I was allowed to call her before the age of 7 and before we moved to the United States where other people thought it inappropriate, was the strict disciplinarian, teacher, enforcer, provider and nurturer most of my life. When it came to school work, she was a perfectionist. No excessive eraser marks, no sloppiness, no bent pages. She was a very involved parent through most of my formal schooling, only stepping back when I got to High School and was supposed to exhibit independence. To her, academics were #1.
At this age, although I may not have understood her parenting techniques, I cannot deny the fact that considering what she had, she did damn good. She herself had a distant relationship with her mother, got pregnant at 16, moved to the United States at age 23 to live with said mother, worked demeaning and off-the-books jobs just to made sure I had what I needed.
To this day, I am still learning my mother. That’s the beauty of building a relationship with her as an adult. We visit each other as often as we can, and we make the best of every moment. I joke around and say I can only take her in doses. This is partly true.
Distance does makes us closer. This year I’m going to be 28 years old. I’m not yet a mother. But I pray, when I do become one, I possess just half my mother’s strength and endurance.
Happy Mother’s day to all the wonderful moms who make the job look so easy!