Updated on May 7, 2022 by Destynie:
A few months ago, we lost my grandmother, Sarah, unexpectedly. Her passing was an incomprehensible loss for our entire family. But, her reach extended even beyond the boundaries of family. She was well known and respected in her local community; largely because of the strength in character that was always on display. A few years ago, my family celebrated her 75th birthday and my mother gave this speech. I am so thankful that I was able to document it here. What a perfect way to honor both my mother and my grandmother this Mother's Day! I hope you enjoy this dedication as much as I did!
On March 6th, 2019, we celebrated my mother’s 75th birthday. I was so thankful to God for allowing us to come together to celebrate such a great woman. Our family has seen many ups and downs; triumphs and tragedy. It’s not often that we can all get together just to celebrate something great. Now, I want to talk about Sarah since it’s her birthday and it’s her life that we are celebrating!
She’s a single mother of five children, three boys and two girls. She’s the oldest daughter of Bannie and Willie’s 14 children; the oldest sister of eight girls and six boys. She’s the grandmother to 17 grandchildren and a great-grandmother to 19 great-grandchildren. This woman, my mother, is and always has been a strong, loving, cool, intelligent and independent woman. I say “cool” because I could remember when my three brothers and I (my sister was still too young) used to call our mom, “Pluck”. Pluck was her nickname that everyone else used when talking to and about her. Contrary to what most mothers would allow, she let us use her nickname to address her. She was a cool mom! One day, we all just decided to call her “mom” because all the other kids around us called their mom, “Mom”. But, it wasn’t her that made us do it!
My mom has always kept family at the center of her life. She has a special relationship with each one of her sisters and brothers. Despite the various distances between them, she keeps in touch with all of them and they each have their own personal relationship. She knows every one of their birthdays by heart and never misses a year in calling them to say “Happy Birthday”. Oh! And she never forgets to play their birthday “numbers”. Everybody calls my mom about the numbers! She’s the lottery queen! Whenever I have an interesting or memorable dream, I tell her about it. Then, she goes in her book and gives me a set of numbers to play. Her skills are legit because I definitely hit the number a few times too. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who benefited from her wise counsel.
It’s hard NOT to get attached to my mother because of how she makes everyone feel so loved. All of her nieces and nephews treat her with the same regard as their own mothers. They call her often and go to her for advice or for help because they all know she will do anything for them. She has always loved everyone as if they were her own children. Well, when it comes to her boys…(lol)…my sister and I simply cannot compete. She goes the extra mile for them! Now, I know she loves all of us the same. The reason she does a little extra for the boys is that she knows her girls are as strong as she is and we can fend for ourselves. But the boys are mommy’s boys! She cooks a huge meal every Sunday. And those boys are usually looking for their Sunday meal! I mean, full disclosure, us girls come too. But, I’m just saying, the main focus is the boys!
She doesn’t just look out for her own children when it comes to cooking, though. She goes out her way to make it happen for whomever calls her to cook. There are so many dishes that everyone loves: potato salad, collard greens, banana pudding, and don’t forget the “chitlins”! Not only does she cook the best around town but she even cleans buckets after buckets of chitlins for anyone who asks her. You see, chitlins don’t taste as good if they aren’t cleaned correctly and my mom has become a master chitlin cleaner AND cooker. When she makes her twelve (yeah, that’s right, TWELVE) buckets of chitlins during the holidays, she makes sure that all her nieces and nephews get theirs as well. You’ll hear her saying, “Those are Trish, Cassie or Peaches’ chitlins!”. Or she might say, “Don’t mess with Pooh Pooh, Nicholas or TJ’s chitlins!” She saves chitlins for family who are not even in the same state. She’ll cook them and then save them in the deep freezer until they can make it to Connecticut to get them. Her heart is so genuine that she doesn’t ask for a dime from anyone. She enjoys sharing her gift of cooking with her entire family.
But, don’t let her kindness fool you! She’s a tough cookie. One that doesn’t take any crap from anyone! Best believe, if she has something to say about you, she will say it to your face! And if she did say something behind your back, she’ll tell you the next time she sees you; like it or not. Of course this is all out of love though because while you’re mad about what she said, she will still be talking to you and smiling. That’s because she still loves you no matter what, she just had to tell the truth. She is very protective of her family and those who have become family over the years. When she feels someone isn’t being treated right, she’ll start figuring out a way to help. If someone is in need of money or help, she’ll give the little bit of money that she has left. If she doesn’t have any to give, you can trust that she will be on the phone calling people to see if she can borrow from someone else. She may not go to church every week and pretend to be a model Christian, but she exemplifies Christ in her selflessness and mercy towards others.
Though her family is spread all over the country, you can bet that she spends time every morning and every evening praying for the safety and prosperity of each one of them. Every one of us is special to her in so many ways! I just want to say, remember family and friends, life is so short! Live for today because tomorrow isn’t promised. Use my mother as an example to love each other everyday. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start. Oh and don’t forget to also laugh as much as you can.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”- Romans 15:13