Being a mom is a M.O.F.O. = Magnificent Opportunity For Observation.
I watch my children a lot, even while they sleep. Not like a creepy stalker, but a patient observer. I observe their actions and behaviors. Yes, I am able to identify my personality traits in each of them. Like when my daughter was 4yrs old and every time she wanted to make a point, she would stand flat-footed with her hand on her hip. It was like looking in the mirror. Do I really put my hand on my hip when I want to make a point? Or my son’s natural love for old-school hip-hop.
Yet, they are each unique in their ability to think, reason and simply be themselves. I am excited to see their life unfold. I am also aware that although I have this blessed opportunity to observe my children grow – not all mothers do.
I will continue to use my own life as an example.
My mother did not raise me, so she missed out on a lot. She observed from a distance. The information I was given, as a child, was very limited. I did not grow up in a culture where clear information was communicated or shared, therefore, I grew up thinking about my mother from one perspective – she was not there (period).
I have only recently learned her side of the story that only SHE could tell because it was her lived experience. I acquired this information by doing one simple thing.
I asked her to tell me her story.
Mind you, I attempted to get her side of the story in the past, but either she was unwilling to relive and tell due to the pain or I was unable to receive what she had to tell. Meanwhile, the resentment and confusion only grew for me, over the years.
But time is a wonderful healer.
One morning, after I dropped my children off at school, I went to the store and purchased a composition notebook and a large mailing envelope. As I sat in my car, I wrote a series of questions and a note to my mother that said, “All I want for Mother’s Day is for you to tell me your story.” I whispered a word of prayer and took the package to the post office.
This week, I received my mother’s day gift.
I received my mother’s story.
I am still processing all of the details of her life that she poured into those pages, but what valuable gift to hear directly from the source how I, and my sister, came to be raised by my great-grandparents and not by my mother. Her story is a masterpiece of love, loss, pain, and abundance. I learned about sacrifice, capacity, and forgiveness from hearing her perspective. My mother’s story provided me a masterful blueprint. Now I can continue to design magnificent opportunities for observation of my children and of myself.
Happy Mother's Day!
Life is full of beautiful moments, let them in and share your story.
Cheers to tha Culture!
Dr. James-Etta is Founder & CEO of Dr. James-Etta's Consulting Group, LLC. Her agency helps schools, districts & organizations examine implicit and explicit bias in order to go from being blissfully unaware about cultural differences to being sensitive, authentic and fully engaged to support every student/parent and every client/consumer, regardless of background or circumstance.
Dr. James-Etta specializes in qualitative data collection through self-examination, reflective writing and deep discussion to gain insight from multiple perspectives.
Visit website to learn more: www.drjamesetta.com