Well, this is the first Mothers' Day without my mom, Ruby Love Dulan; and I must admit that I have procrastinated in sending out my annual Happy Mothers' Day greetings to all my Sister Moms, Grandmoms, and Mothers-to-be.
Even at my age, I feel somewhat like an orphan - since both my mom, Ruby Love and dad, Warner Hale Dulan are now part of the ancestors. But I'm heartened by the fact that they will now be able to pick up their romance where they left off - before they had us four - Me, Brenda, Warner and Sylvester - to come along and completely turn their lives upside down. We were definitely a hand full. And they hung in with each of us, through thick, thin, good, bad and indifferent!
They were such a beautiful couple- my Mom and Dad - and each probably turned a lot of heads and caused a lot of heart throbs in their own right.
|Mom Ruby Love Dulan in 1943 When she met my Dad|
|Dad Warner Hale Dulan in 1943 when he met my Mom|
|Mom and Dad at a Black Country Club in Oklahoma City, OK Can you believe she made that gown?|
Looking at these photos brings back so many wonderful memories. I guess I kind of didn't know what to say, or how I would feel at this point. I'm so used to giving my mom a call on Mothers' Day and chatting her up. Sometimes I'd send her a fragrance set with either Elizabeth Taylor's fragrance, bath salts, powder and all the great stuff that goes with it; or some of the other fragrances she loved. So this year, as I walked through Macy's, and past the perfume counters, I suddenly realized that that wasn't going to happen this year - so I quickly made my exit. But these make me smile through the tears.
Not to sound morose - I guess it takes a period of adjustment when your mom moves forward to the status of Ancestor Angel - so I'm going to do what I try to tell all my friends to do when someone they love has left this plane of action - remember all the good things and good time we had together - and cherish them.
At the same time, as a mom myself, I've got a beautiful daughter, Kira, and fantastic daughter-in-law, Traci, who are both great moms in their own right. I have a great sister-in-law, Sonya, who is fantastic; I've a great sister Brenda, who is also a mom and a grandmom.
In addition, I have some wonderful friends and neighbors who are awesome moms: so here's much love and respect to Bobbi Humphrey, Brenda Dulan-Moore., Kira Dulan-Harrell, Traci Wilson, Nannette Allen, Tessya Smith-Polk, Latrice M. Walker, Dorothy Pittman-Hughes, Judy Ward & Judy Peeples, Una Clarke, Donna Cerio, Carol Black, Mary Dulan, Sonya Dulan, Brenda Ross-Dulan, Brandice Martin, Kita Williams, Michelle Obama, Annie Gray, Carlyn Gray, Iman Hameem, Annette Robinson, Barbara Killens Rivera, Lillian Smith, Brandi Dulan, LaDawn Deniece, Norma Harrell (partner mom), Barbara, Pat, Jackie and Lisa Potts - and so many more Sister/Moms out there for being the blessings that you are.
They say a mother's love is like no other, and I can attest to that - we are loved by our moms, and in turn we love our children; we are nurtured by them and in turn nurture ours. Our mothers/we are the first teachers; we are the examples - what our children learn in their formative years they learn from us - and I'm proud to say that each one of the mothers mentioned above are wonderful examples of what motherhood is all about. But we're the spin offs of an even greater generation of mothers - I sometimes hear me and my friends say to our children "you'd better be glad I'm not your grandmother because you'd be .... " - and I'm sure we call all finish that sentence.
How many times have we observed other moms, who are not so good at disciplinary skills, and rolled our eyes in disgust as their offspring proceed to behave badly in public. We, 'the real mothers' look at each other, with eyebrows raised, and through mental telepathy, discuss what we would do if that were our child embarrassing us in public. And we can't wait for them to get off the bus, or the subway, or the department store so that we can verbally compare disciplinary methodologies.
Those of us who faced corporal punishment as a kid, rendered by the same hands that rocked the cradle, can make comparisons much bigger than the guys who talk about the fish that got away - how big was that switch? what kind of tree did you have to go to to get it? What happened if you brought one back that was too small, or too brittle? We all know the drill - we've been the exemplars ourselves with our own children. And as beautiful as my mom was, she packed a mean wallop when it came to making sure I understood who was the boss in the family.
Mothers' day is May 11 - and for the first time many of us will wear a white rose to signify that our moms have gone on to join the angels. I looked at them today and realized that this, after the homegoing service, is the final finality - the inescapable truth that I will be among that population.
That said, these are some of the things I will cherish about all the Moms of my family - including, and especially my Mother, Ruby Love Dulan:
First of all, I'm sure Mother's Coffee Cakes, Pineapple Upside Down Cakes, Rhubarb Pies, Pecan Pies and German Sweet Chocolate Cakes must be proliferating all over heaven by now, that is, if Daddy hasn't eaten them all first.
|Mother's Mother, Grandmom Cornelia Hornbeak Gaines|
Every summer Mom would pack up the car; fix enough food for a five hour drive, and get us all up at 5:00 in the morning for a drive "down home" to Burneyville, Oklahoma, just outside Ardmore and Marietta, Oklahoma, near the Red River. This required a drive down the twisty, windy, two lane mountain known as the Arbuckles; and through territories in Oklahoma where Black people weren't necessary welcome. She packed the food and a "pee pot" in case we needed to use the toilet; because in segregated Oklahoma, you were not allowed to do so if you were Black.
Dad, who had served during WWII, was always quietly challenging this; and Mother, fearful that he would be lynched or jailed by rednecks, was always trying to pursuade him not to stop at the stores on the side, but to "wait til we get to Burneyville" (a Black and Indian town). I could sense the fear and tension in her tone, and knew it wasn't a good thing. It was that fear that inspired me to become a member of the NAACP Youth Council at the age of 10, and begin participating in the Sit-Ins that took place in OKC to break the segregation barriers once and for all.
Of course, when we got to Grandmom's all that was forgotten. We romped, played, fished, and got into as much mischief as possible - because we knew Grandmom was the boss down home. Mother was the baby daughter, and she got more than her fair share of pampering. So we lapped it up.
|Daddy's Mother Zady Dulan|
Every year for Mothers' Day, at Dunbar Elementary School, we were required to make cards for our mothers and grandmothers - signifying how much we loved and appreciated them . We came up with all kinds of gifts - Cigar Boxes converted to jewelry boxes; five gallon ice cream containers transformed into waste paper baskets; Popsicle stick picture frames. We proudly brought them home, and they were proudly displayed for all to see and admire.
I remember my mom teaching me how to use the sewing machine. I first had to learn how to sew by hand, and how to embroider. But, I was always fascinated with the fact that she could take beautiful fabric and transform them into works of art - I wanted to learn to do the same thing. She was always afraid that I was going to sew my hand in the machine because I always wanted to go fast. But I managed to master the art of sewing and design thanks to Mom - and embarked on making my own unique clothes for school so I wouldn't be wearing the same thing everybody else had - typical Aries. I was compulsive designer - Simplicity, Butterick and Vogue Patterns were my favorite- so when I got too big to get behind whippings, mother would punish me by taking away the power cord from the sewing machine so I couldn't sew. That, and making me clean the kitchen, were the two worse things she could do to me. I got the message - at least until next time - Out of the four of us, I'm sure I'm the one who tested her patience the most.
|Me at 17 When I played Beneatha Younger in "A Raisin In the Sun" at Douglass Sr. High School in OKC -|
I'm taking personal inventory to make sure I remember all the things my mom tried teach me growing up:
"As long as you're green, you'll grow; when you think you're ripe, you begin to get rotten." "Everything you do, do with a will; those who would reach the top, first must climb the hill." "Never leave the house without clean underwear - you never know when you might be in an accident, or have an emergency." "When you cook dinner, the head of the household - Daddy - gets served first, because he's the breadwinner - then everybody else." (this one was because I could eat so much and never gain weight, and was always hungry - I had to be reminded to save some food for Daddy) "Never eat before saying grace." "If he tells you he loves you, watch and see what he does for you." "Handsome is as handsome does." (This was in reference to boyfriends and husbands) "Education is a non-negotiable item." "Don't talk flat." ...and "Behind that preposition!" (her response to the question of "where is it at?" Which would get my mother, my grandmother, and all my aunts yelling that phrase out in unison - I guess it was some kind of family code - speaking proper English, and being grammatically correct were absolute musts in my family on both sides - one that I carried forward with my children, and which they now carry forward with theirs). "There's no such thing as a good excuse - the better the excuse, the worse it is." "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CAN'T!!" And this above all: "NEVER, EVER, EVER SAY ANYTHING NEGATIVE ABOUT HER MAN, WARNER HALE DULAN," I shudder to think of the consequences of anyone who was foolish enough to do so. Mother stood 5'3" in her stocking feet - but I swear she would expand to 10 feet tall if necessary.
Those of you fortunate to still have your Moms with you, please make sure you take every opportunity to let them know how much you love and appreciate them. Take lots and lots of pictures. Regardless of how good or bad they look - you will cherish them always.
And for those of you whose Moms have made their transition, whether you had your mom for a short time, or were fortunate to have had her for a lifetime, there is never a time when you don't miss her, never a time when you don't need her, and never a time when the love is not rock solid. Just know that that DNA is still very much a part of you, spiritually and physically. Regardless of modern's society's penchant for blaming everything that happens to us on our mothers - who, having grown up in an ever increasingly warped, desensitized society, are doing the best they can under the circumstances - we all know that none of us would be here had it not been for them. That we were definitely wanted, or we would not be walking on this plane of action.
For the most part our mothers put us first before careers, friends, and other family members - their goal was for us to have the best, regardless of what it took; and when I was coming up, it took a lot; and when I was raising mine, it took a lot more. Most of our moms had the back up we didn't have; but thank God for their wisdom, knowledge and understanding that helped us keep ours on the right path so that they, in turn, could likewise become wise, wonderful and nurturing parents in their own right.
And though we're scandalized by those sister moms who have not yet learned the fine art of parenting, we still pray for their enlightenment so that their offspring will be able to look back on their upbringing with fond memories, the way we can, and be able to help set their own little ones on the right track moving forward.
I remember at Mom's Homegoing ceremony, as I took a last look at her beautiful face, I made a promise to redeem myself and to do better going forward. So I'm kicking all setbacks to the curb. It's what she did when she lost Daddy, the love of her life way before his time. When she was diagnosed with illnesses that have crippled so many others. She managed, through all her challenges, to continue to live a full life - completely in control of her faculties; sharp a wit as ever; and stared down adversity until it yielded to her terms. She continued to shine all the way thru until she decided that she was ready to go. And then she ascended.
My mother, Ruby Love, is an inspiration to me, my brothers and sister, our children and grandchildren - that there is no such thing as giving up - there is always a way; and never let anybody tell you what you can't do or accomplish. She was an inspiration to our neighbors and friends who loved her as much as we did.
Lastly, I want to salute my three, without whom I would not have had the privilege of being a mother and knowing such wonderful, beautiful, creative and talented spirits. (and all my friends who know me, know that I'm always bragging about my three - some people think I have ten - because I talk about them so much). We've seen some great times, some rough times, laughed a lot, shared a lot, loved a lot and still love even more. Thanks for being my kids: Kira, Rais and Adiya - Much love to you now and forever more - Momi
|Kira, Rais and Adiya - I made three beautiful children - GOD IS PLEASED!!|
So to all my SISTER/MOM IN NIGERIA - I AM PRAYING FOR THE SAFE RETURN OF YOUR/OUR DAUGHTERS - AND FOR JUSTICE TO BE SWIFT AND DECISIVE TO THE PERPETRATORS - and anyone else who would deign to harm innocent children.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL MY SISTER/ MOMS WHEREVER YOU ARE!!
Stay Blessed &
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