A Mother’s Guidance

A Mother’s Guidance

“Mama said there’ll be days like this, there’ll be days like this, Mama said, Mama said.”

Those lyrics, sung by The Shirelles in 1961 often replay in my head. Not because they’re true — they are. But because, ironically, there are so many days that mama didn’t say would be like this, that are.

Although we haven’t had conversations about why, my assumptions about some of the reasons include difficulties in discussing, not giving much thought to some of these events transpiring in the future, pushing through pain and challenges since life never stops and having no inkling some of these days would become reality.

Now, let me clearly state this isn’t a slight at my mama. I believe my mama is the best mama God ever created. Yet, when I consider the state of this world, the shifting priorities and the realizations of the present, it’s easy to understand why mama didn’t talk about these days.

I’ve spent many hours within the last few years discussing with friends how the world goes on and on. Always.

No matter what the situation is. No matter what the need is. No matter what the consensus is, the world keeps on going. The closest we came to a stoppage was in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even then, people complained especially if they didn’t see the pause as beneficial.

These are the days mama couldn’t prep me for because she didn’t know they were coming. However, what mama did do was equip me with tools to address them to the best of my ability when they arose. These tools have allowed me to navigate difficult situations with grace and poise. And although there’s a particular shifting we didn’t discuss prior to it happening, I was prepared when it did.

I’m talking about role reversal.

Now, my mama is still my mama and I’m still her daughter, her only child. I respect her role and she respects mine. However, at 65 years young my mama has started to experience some health issues within the last few years which has required me to become more of the role she’s always been to me.

At the beginning of 2022, literally the first day of the new year, a health crisis arose within my mama. By day two, it was full blown as she was taken to the ER while my aunt, cousin and I waited outside in the parking lot.

This was during the height of the COVID-19 Omicron variant’s speedy trek throughout the world. Until there was confirmation by healthcare staff that she wasn’t COVID positive, I couldn’t enter the hospital to be with her.

These are the days mama didn’t know would manifest.

The first three months of the year consisted of multiple hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, positive COVID-19 results (after a hospital stay), very little hands on assistance from our village (they couldn’t enter into the home because of mama’s compromised immune system but they loved on us by sending food, supplies and gift cards).

Physical therapy and anything you could think of that a caregiver would do during the scenario, I did it. This health crisis would alter the trajectory of the year and in many ways we’re still feeling the effects over a year later.

These are the days mama didn’t know would manifest.

She didn’t know the supply chain would be in shambles. She didn’t know food costs would rise so rapidly. She didn’t know gas prices would constantly hover around three dollars. She didn’t know the government would be in such disarray. She didn’t know women’s rights would be attacked so viciously. She didn’t know race relations wouldn’t have improved much since the 1960s.

These are the days mama didn’t know would manifest.

But mama did know there would be hard days, challenging days, tear filled days. She knew there would be days of joy, peace, laughter, reminiscing, calm and sunshine. She knew life would be a roller coaster and she did her best to prepare me for it.

I’m not a mother, although I have dozens of kids who call me ‘Mama Bear’ thanks to my year’s spent as a summer camp director. However, having been raised by the best mama I know I’ve stashed away plenty of wisdom nuggets to help me steer through the terrains of life.

Although she couldn’t prepare me for certain scenarios, she did give me what I needed to survive them (and overcome them) when they arrived.

Whether you’re a mother, stepmother, bonus mother, aunt, cousin, friend, sister, one of the greatest legacies we can leave is in providing the younger generations with the necessary tools to get through whatever comes their way.

These are the days mama didn’t know would manifest.

But she knew something was coming and she made sure I was ready for its arrival.

Let’s do the same for our youth.

Kassaundra Shanette Lockhart is a freelance writer.

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