I'll be honest: every day, every minute, and every second that I witness little girls (and boys) running around New York City, I think to myself, "There is no way in hell I could be someone's mom right now." The dedication it takes to raise another human being, the act of putting someone else first before your every need, is a reminder that at this point in my life, I'd probably be a failure at being a mom. But, at 25, I find myself surrounded by 20-something mothers, and some of them happen to be my best friends. Their realities are just what I can’t fathom: They are the role models, the caretakers, the self-sacrificing mommies to little brown girls (and boys)—and they are doing the damn thing.
This week, I wanted to dedicate Beautifully Brown to my besties who are raising brown babies. Giovanna, Syreeta, Bobbi, Rasheeda and Tiffany, you all inspire me. Not just because you’re mothers, but also because you’ve taught me a lesson (or two) about what it means to work hard, how not to take life so damn serious, and the real meaning of genuine love. Mothers are special beings in themselves. But my young mothering best friends have shown me something different about living this life to the fullest. I love you all. Happy Mother’s Day!
I remember the day we were standing across from each other, trying to whisper so our managers wouldn’t hear us talking about what you were going to do about your pregnancy. We were only 19 and Nordstrom was so strict about talking while on the floor working. You had this concerned look on your face as you asked me, “What do you think I should do?” I don’t remember how I responded, but what I do recall is the content look on your face when you made up your mind, that second, that you were in fact keeping Zahara. Almost 5 years later, I’ve watched you carve your way to doing everything you said you would. In a few weeks, you will graduate from Law school and start a new chapter in your life. From patience, to determination, I can honestly say that you are one of the reasons I never sweat the small stuff. I’m so proud of you, boo.
Remember the first meeting we had in the Tech center on campus that you bought the little ones to? I remember you texting me, “Can I please bring the girls? I can’t find a babysitter.” Who would have known that Arionna would be the one to offer all the cool ideas for our project? She was only 4 or 5! From putting yourself through college with two little girls at your hip, to creating your very own media brand from the ground up, you are one of the reasons I never complain about anything (at least not aloud). You remind me to count my blessings and be grateful. As you make the big decision to go full time with your company, remember that you’ve come so far and through so much. In the end, like you've shown me so many times, everything will be okay.
From her big smile to her genuine spirit, I can tell that Laney is for sure your mini-me. You’re raising a smart and vibrant little girl. I’m so proud of you. Thank you for showing me a different way of life. As my only married friend, you’ve reminded me that we can either live our lives, or create them. You’ve created yours and made your own rules to follow. I admire that and I admire you.
We all need that someone who just reassures you that it’s never that deep and life is actually all right. I’m watching you raise two little boys right now, and I’m in awe. Your lack of fear to be responsible for raising confident brown boys in this world is so breathtaking. I’m so happy to call you my family. I love you to pieces!
You said you’ve always wanted to be a mother, and begged and begged for a little boy. But instead, God sent you a special and super pretty little girl! Troi is full of your wit, spunk and fiery spirit. I hope you always remind her of how Beautifully Brown she is. Thank you for teaching me the act of forgiveness and authenticity. I love you, forever.
To all of you Beautifully Brown mothers, Happy Mother’s Day.
Melanie Yvette Martin is the Editorial Assistant and Beauty and Style contact for EBONY.com and a lover of all things beauty for brown women. Follow her on Instagram @melanieyvette and on Twitter @theffgal.