“I try not to say too much and stay out of it but you know I will give my opinion.”
This is the basic philosophy of my mother and her sisters, my aunts. I think it was passed on by my grandmother. Our Saturday check-ins always includes this great line “Now that I have talked about everybody, I will let you go.” I have always looked forward to talking with her and catching up. When I graduated college and went off to medical school, I knew I would never return to Birmingham to live. So my mother kept me in touch with my family. Back then, there were no cell phones so I had to wait until the rates were low and call nights and on weekends.
I want to let you know that my family is by no means perfect. We have recovered drug addicts, alcoholics, ex-prisoners along with doctor, lawyers, a judge, politicians, healthcare workers, steel workers, people in banking and ministers. I consider my mother and her sisters our family’s moral compasses. So, when someone gets out of line, one of them will try to set you back on the right path. One of my relatives was not in the mood to have my mother interfere. So he told her to “shut-up and mind her own business.” When she called to relate the story, I told her he was right. I had just finished reading one of my many self-help books and I told her about “the art of allowing” In essence, it is allowing people to be themselves. She was not about hearing that. In her mind that is not an option. I did tell her to stay out of it because I did not want her to get hurt. She is such a loving person. She said she was not going to let him mess up his life with letting him know she cared. When she told my aunts what I had said, to my surprise, they agreed with me.
I have learned from them that it is important to standup for what is right and not be afraid to voice your opinion. You have to try to keep others from harming themselves and if you can’t then be there to help them get back on their feet. They are there for each other with love. For us, they always have love and good advice.
“[My mother] had handed down respect for the possibilities—and the will to grasp them.” – Alice Walker
“Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown. In my heart it don’t mean a thing.” – Toni Morrison