Brenda Edwards and her mother Annie Edwards circa 1984
I loved my mother very much and still do, but at some point, l realized she wasn't flawless. These were intermittent episodes throughout our mother-daughter relationship when I became aware of her imperfections. Before this crucial discovery, she was a glorious,mystical beauty of perfection who solved all my problems and made the boogie man go away.
Depending on what I was going through in my own life, my judgment of mom wavered from harsh criticism, embarrassment,to downright anger.
Take the time when she decided to awaken my sister and me while we were fast asleep in our cozy beds one winter night, just to fulfill a simple chore of taking out the trash and washing the dishes. I couldn't have been any more than 12 and my sister was about 16. We grumbled, but not too loud for fear of the wrath from mom that would follow. She seemed to feel that this one small error would lead us down the road lawlessness,disrespecting rules, dismissing codes of ethics, and succumbing to a life of unbounding filth.
But I don't think that would even top her uncanny way of dropping knowledge while sharing her own childhood experiences simply because I requested funding for the latest fashions. Yep, she was one of those from the south who was lucky to be able to wear any shoes to school. And if she did wear shoes, they had been worn by at least 10 other people before her and was filled with holes or had been mended by her mother's very own hands. There would also be the story of wearing a scratchy unforgiving crocker sack bag also known as burlap, for a dress that had been refashioned also by her mother's loving hands.
Of course I wasn't moved by those passionate stories.So I found an after school job and worked during the summers. This afforded me the freedom to be the master of my own fashion style; well at least to a certain extent. Those were the days of the mini and micro mini skirt, pretty much like today.So, you best believe mom had something to say about my purchases.
Let's move onto the time she would not let me miss a day of summer school because "I had made my bed hard, so I had to lie in it"Really!
Mom was a favorite among my friends. They absolutely adored her.Therefore she thought nothing of joining in during my 18th birthday party.She danced and shared embarrassing stories about what she perceived to be my triumphs. She made corny jokes and was perhaps a bit too loud because while she and her best friend were in the kitchen chaperoning and serving up the sumptuous southern cuisine that she had single handedly prepared, they were also serving themselves shots of Johnny Walker Black!
After settling into a bit of maturity, I came to realize that perhaps there was some validity as to what mom was attempting to do. But that still did not give her the right to protest my decision to move in with my boyfriend. After all, I was approaching my sophomore year of college. Even though this proved to be a tumultuous relationship filled with abuses on both our parts and heartbreak, why not learn the hard way?
There were other occasions when mom was obviously completely oblivious to the never ending extent of her annoying meddling. So what if on a long vacation ten thousand miles away from home, I found myself in an intriguing romantic relationship.What exactly is the appropriate length of time for pre- marital courtship anyway? Why should I allow something as frivolous as conventions stop me from entering into wedlock.We'd have plenty of time to get to know each other and to make important decisions such as him perfecting the English language,me learning to respect his cultural values,and the number of children we should have.Is this not the stuff that makes for the most interesting of marriages even though they may not "stand the test of time?"
Well,mom is no longer with us,but I am still and will be forever influenced by her opinionated views.And I have to admit,every now and then I miss her unrequested advice and chuckle at what she might say about some of my adventures as I approach the latter stages of my life.But don't worry mom,I returned the 2X plus size bikini I was considering wearing on my next Caribbean vacation and I will turn down the invitation to to go hiking with that elusive young man who is half my age.
By Brenda Edwards