For all you taught me, through word and deed: thanks, Mom


In a few days we will celebrate mothers on what we have come to know as Mother's Day. I am happy that a day has been set aside to honor mothers. Not just because I am a mom, grandmom and great-grandmom, but also because I am a daughter.

Honoring mothers is a fitting tribute to what is often a thankless job. Not that we mothers expect to get paid for what we do; it's just so many times we seem to be taken for granted. Sometimes all that is needed from a mother's family is a simple "thank you", and to show compassion.

I don't know why the Lord placed it on my heart to have compassion for my working mother, who chose to rear her children alone, rather than stay in an abusive marriage. I was no different from other girls; I wanted to play and be carefree. But from a child, my mother was always super-special to me. And I always wanted to do all I could to make her life easier, and to make her proud of me.

I thought she was the prettiest mom ever. She was a tall woman (nearly six feet) at a time when there didn't seem to be too many tall women. She was curvy and walked with her shoulders back and her head held high. You would have thought she owned the world! When my brother Adam and I met the bus bringing her home from work in the evening, we could always tell which one was our mom: she always stood a bit above the rest of the women getting off the bus.

On her birthday and holidays like Mother's Day, I'd save the nickels and dimes I'd earned from running errands for neighbors, to buy something for her on these special occasions. Not too long ago, I found a small wall plaque I'd given her for Mother's Day when I was 9. She had saved it all because it meant something to her. And I was touched, when I found it several years after her death in 2002. I put it safely away (somewhere I can't remember right now) to later show to my own grandchildren.

Momma wasn't the kind of mom who always said “I love you” to us. But we knew she loved us anyway. As as a young woman of 24 (I was 5; my brother was 2), when Momma set out on her own, with the help of a dear neighbor we called Madea, she didn't think twice about bringing us along with her. When I got older, I used to think that it would have been easier for her if she had left us in the care of our dad. At the time, we lived in rural Williston, Fla. And abandoning us was never an option for Momma. She used to say that if she had only a piece of bread, we'd all get a share.

We moved to Miami when I was 6, after having spent some time with my mom's sister Aunt Thelma in Palatka while Mom found a job and a place to live. She made friends easily and some of those women — Doris Dorsett; Ms. Early Mae, and Mae (Aunt Mae) Bodie, became our surrogate moms. It is because of the bonds between them that I learned the value of true friendship.

God was good to us, and Momma was a praying woman; we never went to bed without a good meal and she always provided a place for us to live. Somehow, on her meager salary, she also managed to keep us in nice clothes and shoes. Sometime when my friends and I talk about our growing up days, it amazes us that we didn't know we were poor. We laugh about that now. But looking back, I can't imagine the sleepless nights my mother and mothers like her, had because they didn't always know where the next meal was coming from. And I can't imagine how many meals our mom gave up so I can write this line: We never went to bed hungry. As she would say: "God always made a way".

Oh, so many thoughts of my mom and the many surrogate moms I had, come flooding back to me as Mother's Day approaches. Many of them, along with my mom, are no longer with us. But I remember them and thank God for them and for allowing me to be a spectator, watching and learning from them as they traveled life's journey.

Mother’s Day Concert

Metropolitan AME Church at 1778 NW 69th St. in Liberty City, will present its 19th Annual Mother's Day Concert,. "Alice Day with Friends and Family" at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The concert is free and open to the community. Call 786-985-1776 for more information.

Unity Day

The Rev. Vensen Ambeau and the congregation at Allen Chapel AME Church at 1201 NW 111th St. invites the community to the annual Unity Day Celebration at 10 a.m. on May 18.

You won't want to miss this; the guest speaker will be Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, who recently was appointed as the first woman president of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens.

Call 305-754-9055 for more information.

Temple hosts family picnic

Temple Beth El at 1351 S. 14th Ave. in Hollywood invites the community to its "Lag Ba'Omer" Family Picnic from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on May 18.

The free barbeque lunch will feature activities for all ages and will include games, rides, archery, live music, and water sports(bathing suits and water shoes are recommended)

Call 954-920-8225 for more information.

Learn about ‘Modern Buddhism’

You are invited to a day of teachings and guided meditations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 17, at the Drolma Kadampa Buddhist Center, 12173 Coral Way.

The special course is entitled "Modern Buddhism: Love Without Attachment" and will be taught by Gen Kelsang Norbu, resident teacher at the center.

According to a press release from the center, Gen Kelsang Norbu will explain how to generate and increase love that is free of attachment.

"Sometimes it feels like our happiness depends upon another person and that without them we are doomed to misery,” he said. “We say we are in love, but it is actually attachment, not pure love. Pure love never gives rise to problems or suffering, but only brings happiness and peace for ourselves and others. Learning to distinguish between love and attachment — increasing the love and purifying our attachment —is one of the most important things we need to learn in this life."

Gen Kelsang Norbu is a Western Buddihist monk. His teachings are characterized by clarity and gentle humor providing practical advice for modern Dharma students.

The day -long course cost $35 per person and includes a vegetarian lunch. To register go to or call 786-529-7137.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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