By TOKEYA C. GRAHAM
I have been a mother for almost half of my life. I had my first child when I was still a child myself. At 19 years old, two years out of high school and four years into what I thought was true love, I became a mama for the first time. As I pushed my 12 weeks-premature, 2 lb., 8 oz. baby into the world, I knew I would forever be changed. And I was right; unknowingly, I stepped naturally into the role that was tailor-made for me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was born to be a mother. I would be at ease with the universe’s calling for me to shape, mold and nurture the life of another. True story. And just four days after my beautiful baby was born, I locked horns with an unidentified demon to pull my firstborn child back from the brink of death. See, I spoke life into him and my voice was the one he heard calling him from a forever sleep; my voice spoke life into him and reclaimed his place among the living. I WON him back from the other side and from that moment on, I knew that I had powers greater than even I understood—because I was someone’s mother.
I gave birth to two other love children and with each exhale of new life, I felt my powers growing. In each labor movement (for that is what their births were), I felt the beauty of creation come together. I felt God in my children and because of their existence, I believed that there had to be a power higher than myself. I felt wonder in each of their kicks, pokes, flutters. I felt like I had unquantifiable, immeasurable, indescribable power because within my soul, new beings were being formed. I was a super she, a maternal marvel, because within my womb, wonder was being manipulated into human form and my children were being shaped.
I was enriched by my ability to bring forth life and to extend my physical self to my children’s physical selves. In their kisses, hugs, snuggles, tickles, cuddles, I have been restored. See, we sometimes get it wrong as parents and focus on the fact that our children need us. I am telling you, I need my children. In every moment of their existence, I see the imprint of my expectations, the impact of my nurturing and the effect of my nourishment.
My children are loved. If you saw them, you’d know it because their laughter reaches from just above their heads and puddles just below their feet. They believe they can fly because their wings have been feathered by kind words, endless hope and everlasting encouragement. If you see my children, you will recognize that joy is possible because their smiles show evidence of love that spills over from the depths of their souls. My children are loved and when you look at them, you realize that they have happiness to spare and will kindly offer you a cup for your own. When you see my sons’ walk, you see the strength of their spines and metaphors of mighty oaks emerge. You see them with their heads held erect, backs strong–walking to their futures, not running from them. When you see my daughter walk, you see the strength of a thousand sheroes who came before her and it is apparent that she has been bequeathed a legacy of graceful determination. Yeah, my kids are magical and in each of their movements, you understand that all they want will be had.
My children represent the best of me and in their eyes, I know that all I am is enough. I am Mother Earth, Mama Day, Ama. I am Mater, Madre, Mami. I am Mama, Ma, Mom.
I am loved.
Tokeya C. Graham is a universal teacher/mama/wife who sings to the trees. She can catch falling stars and weave wonders with words. Writing is her passion and her gift. She also speaks truth through her many inspirational workshops throughout her community. She lives in Rochester, NY, with her husband and their children. Check out her writings at Soulstainable Living.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.