Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mama On: Friends

"Good friends are a blessing:  Never take them for granted."

I am glad that I listened to my mother when she said this.  I am glad that I had the accidental foresight to choose my friends wisely, and that though I have had many of them for nearly half a century, they continue to shine and to appreciate in value.

Mamaknologists know that friends are a good thing.  My mother, Arbitor of All That Is Mamaknological, had two wonderful friends:  Ruth Luke and Eva Andrews.  They were everything friends are supposed to be.  Cute, sassy, and always ready to enjoy each other, these ladies taught me what friends were supposed to be.  They were the sisters my mother had been born without.  When my mother's health declined, they stepped in and stood her ground for her -- in stilettos.  When my knees grew weak and my footsteps faltered, they propped me up and pushed me forward.  They showed me what to look for in a friend.

Today, I mark the passing of my friend, Regina.  A special woman, one of the lynch pins of my sister circle, I miss her already.  A great mind, quick wit, and as silly as the day is long, I don't like to think that she ever had a "bucket list," but then, she didn't really need one.  Regina was a Mamaknologist and a believer in making every step count.  She was an amazing mother and an awesome wife.  And she was my friend.  She was my dear and loving friend.

Almost everyone I know has said, "Give me my roses while I'm alive," and we like to think we mean it.  I think that going forward, I'll be saying, "Give me the love of my friends," because I have been lucky enough to have that warm and secure circumstance in my life.  Regina and I once had a conversation about the value of saying, "I love you," and saying the words while they counted.  I am so glad that on more than one occasion, we had the chance to say, "I love you," and mean it. 

Yeah, she was my sister from another mister.

I will never be able to say that I've lost her, mostly because I cherished our friendship so deeply.  But it is in her passing that I am reminded and impelled to count another blessing: I am still here with so many of the women who are my friends, some of them from childhood.  And now, the Mamaknologist in me needs to let them know how much I love them, how much I cherish them, and how much of them I carry with me on every day of my life.

So to my much loved friends, I am reminded to say, I love you. 

I also need to say that for good, bad, or indifferent, your love makes me the woman I am --and I know that there's a little bit of me in your back pocket, too.

Love you, Girl!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mama On: Hard Times And Books

"Easy comes after Do in the dictionary for a reason."

I have a headache.  My headache began when I turned the television on and saw a report that featured parents lamenting the coursework that their poor children were being forced to endure.  The tortured students were expected to learn to speak their native language, open up a book and read something that didn't come predigested on tape or dvd, perform basic math without computer or even calculator assistance, and regularly show up for classes.


Personally, I don't understand the hardship.  My mother was one of those people who had a hard time with asking for help -- especially if she had to do it more than once.  Okay, the reality is that if there was a book on the topic, she also figured that if you wanted to get the job done, you should read the directions.  Her philosophy was that God gave you enough tools to get through the life He planned for you, and that a person just needed to make the effort to use those tools: Mamaknology 101A. 

My mother believed that a person had to be proactive; you have to take action, not just lay back in the "cut" and let everyone else do the work.  These students and their parents have an historically unprecedented level of access, and seem determined to ignore it. Which brings us to Mamaknology 101B, and I got this straight from the lips of the world's preeminent Mamaknologist (my mother), if you take the easy way out, you deserve whatever you get -- a life on shut down.  No political access, no jobs, no social services.  Nothing. Are any of these students or their parents prepared for a life mired in abject ignorance? because that will be the result of an inability to read, write, and do simple arithmetic in the twenty-first century.

Support of ignorance is not a good thing.  I keep hearing young people say that they want to live their lives, their way.  I hear them say that they want to make their own mistakes.  Okay.  Fine.  But why do they have to make the stupid mistakes?  The ones that we all already know don't work well?

Here's a Mamaknological clue:  if you are determined to make mistakes, don't opt for a retread.  Don't opt for ignorance.  Don't forfeit your education.  Don't forfeit your right to vote.  Don't dabble in stupid -- it's not cute.

And I'm not afraid to say it because, what are you going to do?  Read this and write back?