Sunday, May 10, 2009

A SONG FOR MAMA ( Evelyn Renee Hardaway Exum)

Around Thanksgiving of 1997 Soul Food premiered in movie theaters across the country. This was a very popular film about family and a grandmother who passed away. I am probably one of the only people left who have never seen the movie. The movie had an all star cast though and a great soundtrack to go with it. Boyz II Men were just one of the various groups on the soundtrack. Their song “A Song for Mama” became an instant hit on the soundtrack and they later released the song the following year close to Mother’s Day. It has no become a song I think about every Mother’s Day for the simple fact of timing. The movie Soul Food debuted around Thanksgiving, in less than a month’s time my own mother passed away from lung cancer.
As much as I would love to do a blog about my mother’s entire life I can’t. I was only around for the last twelve years of it so I missed a considerable amount of it. Ironically, some random song helps though. While I don’t know most of my mother’s life I do know my life with her so overall that has to be good enough for me to live with. Listening to Boyz II Men I do remember the small things about what see taught me. It’s amazing that over the years there are so many lessons we learn while we are young that we tend to forget who has taught it to us. Prime example looking both ways before crossing the street; this is something so simple and small, it’s even an automatic given, before crossing the street look both ways. So far it’s one lesson I have yet to fail; I haven’t been hit by a car yet.
Even though my mother passed when I was twelve she was the first girl in my life. Of course I had two or three girlfriends before the age of twelve, but in school, church and society we learn small lessons about how to treat our mothers that our own mothers don’t have to teach us. Every year Valentine’s Day roles around and every year I have three guy friends who are my age and I know even if they don’t have a girlfriend at the time they are still going to buy a Valentine’s Day card for their own mothers and mail the card off. I remember being younger and trying to make a card for my mother. Of course when you are a child you make some of the worst card in arts and crafts but mothers have a special built in skill of making it seem like the horrible ugly homemade card is a valuable piece of art that is priceless. I don’t have any of those cards but I remember being young and seeing her face and my mother would always give me a big hug and a kiss on the check afterwards. Now that’s a mother’s love, act like a card is priceless, but in its own way it is because the card is more of a symbol that she must be doing her job correctly.
Perhaps the very first protector I remember growing up was my mother. I remember being in the car with her one day and telling her how I was being picked on at church and how she told me I have to stand up for myself. I even remember the day I did stand up for myself and how proud I felt because the other children backed off. Little did I know my mother already stood up for me and had a little conversation with the parents of the three children who were being mean to me. Even though she didn’t want me to know, my mother was going to take care of the situation but she wanted me to learn how to take care of my own situations, after all you can’t go running to your mother every time something goes wrong in life.
Fearless would be one of the many adjectives I would use to describe my mother. For as far back as I can remember nothing scared her. Of course when you have a son you want to grow into a man you can’t run around being scared all the time, all that does is teach him to be scared. Well I know like to believe that nothing scares me. I am of course a God- fearing man, but the line stops there. I had an incident with a garden snake about a year ago and I was the only one who didn’t jump, scream, or run off. I think pretty much I have gone through the normal fears, being held up at gun point, snakes, possums, a car crash that should have been deadly, but right now I don’t have any fears, or at least any known fears and I know that’s because of her.
Unfortunately the song does take a negative turn though; one I hear so many people say whenever they find out my own mother is dead. So many people often times say they don’t know what they would do if their own mothers would die. Well I know what they would do, get a little depressed for a while but ultimately you have to pick up and move on. When I was twelve I think I was the last person in the world who knew my mother was going to die. I was hoping and praying beyond all hope that she would get better the next month. I still remember the family friend who told me though that it didn’t look like we were going to get the miracle we wanted. Unfortunately she was right and about two months later my mother died. After that I remember being a little numb and depressed for a while, but I remember snapping out of it. The key to moving on is remembering that a mother doesn’t die so that their child can join them two months later.
Present day I think about my life and how it is today. I also think about how different it may be with my mother in my world. Overall, not that I would have chosen to kill her off but I am pretty pleased with how my life is now. I have been very blessed and had wonderful opportunities come my way. If my mother remained alive my life would be different today. I know I don’t want to find out how different it would be though. Perhaps it would still be a great life or perhaps it would be worst. All I know is my mother did her job; despite her situation she remained a mother to me until the day she died. Even though her life was very short lived, especially in my eyes, Evelyn Renee Hardaway Exum was the perfect mother to me proving it’s not quantity of time spent with someone but the quality of time. The quality of time she spent with me is enough to last me my lifetime.

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