Written by: Kiki
Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means, if you are anything like me, you are probably running around trying to figure out what to buy the main lady in your life and also reflecting on just having her as your mom. Let’s be honest, there have been
and will be many more times where ya’ll have not met eye to eye and you said to yourself “This lady is bugged!” Now whether your mother is more Joan Crawford or Claire Huxtable, all and all, good or bad, she has definitely left her mark. So this Mother’s Day, I would like to share with you all a few life lessons I learned from my mother, Denise Coats.
1. Laughter is the best form of medicine
Life will throw you curve balls and they will be fast and hard. You don’t get that promotion you worked hard for or that last relationship was an absolute waste of time and energy. Yes, you will feel terrible and basically be on a one woman campaign of “f*ck life” but as my mom would now say, “Get over it and smile girl!” Now these words of wisdom she shares now in her wiser years are much different from what I saw while growing up. I have witnessed my mother bury a child, uproot her life and children on several occasions and go through a messy divorce and these events broke her spirit down to the core and yet eventually, in the the rebuilding process she was able to begin again. Nowadays, her motto is “Things can be much worst and sometimes you will be tested and in the face of heartache and break; Laugh, as it is healing to the soul and will get you through. Don’t take this thing called life too seriously. make Lemonade! **sidenote; my mom is not quoting Beyonce or Lemonade, the album**
2. Faith can be found at any age and you are free to choose.
Now as a child, my family basically played Russian Roulette when it came to religion. My mother was raised in a Baptist household and my stepfather came from a Jehovah witness background. Needless to say, holidays were quite interesting trying to accommodate both beliefs and practices. My brothers and I attended vacation bible school during the week and were studying at the Kingdom Hall on Sunday. My mom let us know when we became adults we could choose to follow whatever practice without judgement and we weren’t bound to beliefs because of family traditions. My mother even began finding her way to the Jehovah witness religion, even though she eventually ditched the husband. And at the ripe age of 52, she decided that being a witness spoke to her soul and converted.
3. The world is bigger than your backyard, so go see it!
I was a child at the tender age of 4, and my mother put me on a plane to travel from California to North Carolina BY MYSELF!!! Now it was the 80’s, so stealing little black kids wasn’t that popular then, but just the idea of being so young and alone is pretty crazy now. But I did it, and with this act, she taught me two things, a) how to be independent as hell b) the love of the friendly skies and traveling! Since then, its been on and popping. One of the greatest gifts my mother gave me was the opportunity to live overseas. From Germany to Hawaii, I was able to see and experience different cultures and witness some of the most beautiful wonders of the world. The memories are some of my most fondest and actually motivate me today to someday be able to provide the same experiences for my children and continue my own travels. Gotta hustle for these passport stamps!
4) Sometimes you have to check a B*tch
One of my fondest memories of my mom is when she had to address a disrespectful act from an individual. Now she did have lay them paws on the person (ARE YOU JUDGING??) but that’s not why it is my fondest. It is my fondest because it taught me that even though I was a chubby little girl who would grow into a plus size woman, I should always demand respect. And if it is not given, you must address it, which doesn’t mean physically fighting but hey, that’s just how this story goes.
So here is the scene. We were staying in SC circa 1995 and our next door neighbor, Ms. AboutgetthatA$$whooped did not like my mother. For no particular reason other than my mom was the ISH and everyone knew it… so basically this chick was hating. Anyway, all the kids were playing outside and Ms. AboutgetthatA$$whooped says to my brother ” Go run Tell your Big Fat mama blah blah blah.”( its all irrelevant after your big fat mama)
So as instructed, my brother did run and tell my mom and she was cool. She got up from her desk and walked across the breezeway to Ms. AboutgetthatA$$whooped front door. She knocked on door and the hater opened it up with a stank look,of course . My mother, in a very cool and collected manner asked her what did she tell her son. And before Ms. AboutgetthatA$$whooped could get anything out her mouth, Denise pulled that Holly Springs-raised me mess with it if you want to fist back and knocked this lady out at her own front door and said “Don’t you EVA send my kids with that foolishness” and walked back in the house.
Lessons learned that day:
A) Don’t call my mom “Big Fat mama”
B) Don’t mess with her kids
C) If someone comes for your life, you do not have to get out of your character but you must address it.
D) Always set your standards on respect
E) Sometimes, in life, you are going to have to whip a lil A$$
5) Live your life, on your own terms and learn from those around you
My mother’s mother wasn’t affectionate and her family was a cesspool of abuse, mental illness and addiction. She didn’t know who her child’s father was and she died from a brain aneurysm when my mom was 25 years old. By the time my mother was 30, she had six children and was on her second husband.
She has worked as a teacher to Army business liaison to a barber to a janitor. She lived in far away lands exposing herself to different cultures and experiences. She lived on the outskirts of a hood that claimed the life of child on her front doorstep. She grew up being taught material things fill voids. She ended up finally marrying a companion who was not rich with money but wealthy with love and affection. My mother has lived several lives and in each one she has lived them according to her own rules, some good and some not so good but in the end they were hers.
As I continue on my own journey called life, I reflect on the lessons I have learned from Denise Coats and I’m thankful. Thankful God chose me for her and that we get to journey together. I continue admire her strength and anger at her victimizing behavior. I know I truly should increase our quality time together and I am astounded how the older I get, the more I began to look like you.
Your love is like a river flowing endlessly and abundantly in our lives, carving our ways, inspiring and healing everything in sight. – unknown
Thank you and happy mother’s day to all the moms out there being all life changing and inspirational and ish. Ya’ll make this possible and help set the bar…..plus nothing is like your facial expression and shade throwing….Gotta love mama!
Until next time, Live F.A.B. with no regrets!
What valuable lessons or knowledge has your mother bestowed on you or what’s something you will like to teach your own children?