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A mother’s job

Aunty,

A fiery, feisty woman with sassy short blonde hair, deep dark chocolate skin, wide, heavy hips, firm, fighting hands and a heart of an ANGEL.

I call her aunty.

I met her earlier this year at a bar. She makes the best Spicy Burgers your mouth can savor. So in that moment, I took her on as my aunt. She was warm and inviting and nurturing.

We talked about how a man should respect a woman. We talked about how a woman should respect herself. We talked about traveling the world and finding love and being comfortable in your own skin. We talked about money and style and love again and life …

Aunty didn’t know that although we’ve talked on numerous occasions, last night was the first time she truly touched my heart.

You see, I am quite the feisty woman myself.

I am a fiery, bad ass, 34, 24, 32, 107 pounds! I am a dreamer but most importantly, a doer. I believe that anything that comes from my mouth can be brought to life. Better yet, I know that! There’s power in my words. There’s power in my dreams. There’s magic in my faith!

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Her daughter got married on the weekend. And from the outside, it was an nontraditional union.

Maybe not so much nontraditional but her daughter lived with her best friend for 7 years of their relationship. Her daughter traveled the world and lived in different countries. Her daughter had blonde hair and wore whatever she wanted. She was thick and fun and beautiful and bountifully in love!

She reminded me of most of the smart, endearing females in my life.

Women

ALL of my female friends are absolutely beautiful beings! They are leaders on their jobs, they are creative, they are entrepreneurs, they are stylish, they are free, they are positive …

But most importantly, they had the support of their mothers. Well 9 out of 10 of them.

Now that – breaks my heart … deeply.

Not for my friends, but for myself.

Aunty said: ‘I allowed my children to be who they wanted to be. That’s all I wanted from my mother. I wanted to live an exciting life where I became saturated in life’s gifts. I wanted love and travel and money and adventure. My mother didn’t understand that but I was sure to do it for my kids.’

There was so much beauty in that phrase because Aunt’s parenting style, like the parenting styles of my friends’ mothers were exactly the same.

My mother didn’t want to accept the creative free spirit in me so she drilled in me that school was the only option. She didn’t want me to become pregnant so she said that love can wait until I’m near decrepit and senile. She didn’t want the big bad world to hurt me so she said my only two options were here at home and my place of birth, Jamaica … with family and familiar faces.

But aunty said: ‘I ran away from the negativity.’

And that stuck with me.

So I ran away …

I didn’t love my mother any less. However, I loved myself so much more.

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I had, and still to this day, have dreams just like Aunty.

I want to be filled with love. I want to travel the world. I want to work and gain experience. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin and inspire the people around me. I want the freedom to be the fiery woman God created me to be.

Mother, your job is to love above everything else.

Your job is to be accepting right after that.

Mom, your job is to listen to the chimes in your daughters’ heart. Learn what brings joy to your daughter’s life.

Mother, your job is to teach your sons and daughters about love; candidly, honestly.

Your job is to be honest about the world and its cruelty but also about its beauty.

Your job is to trust your children if you believe you’ve raised them to be upstanding human beings. No matter how fearful, your job is to watch from the sidelines – at some point- as an eager cheerleader, rooting for their dreams and their hopes and their desires.

Your job is to simply give all the love and support you have to give so that your children can figure out who they are as individuals, not just the person you’ve raised them to be.

Aunty, you’ve touched my heart. Like most of the mothers of my female friends, you’ve shown me the beauty in being allowed to be free and beautiful.

Thank you.

-Aneka Stewart

Cay to Style

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