I work so hard that sometimes I forget to express that you did a great job.

No, let me begin again.


Open Letter to the single mother

I work so hard, I think, but my work ethic has nothing to do with me forgetting to honor your selfless actions. It’s very selfish of me to be honest. In fact, I should be ashamed.  As I was rushing to get the baby to daycare today in my fitted pencil skirt, silk blouse, and tailored blazer; it dawned on me that my heels could only reach so high. This is my way of saying; I finally reached that point when there is only so much I could do alone.


I still feel lonely when it comes to handling my business as a mother.  I can handle my business in a corporation or my own endeavors, but I still feel like it’s all on me to determine how my children will eat, when they will eat, and IF they will eat. So how ignorant of me to think that my little woes these days are anything compared to what you may have been feeling from 1973 until 2003. That’s the time it took for you to raise 2 successful black women to a place where they can take care of themselves. I’m thinking of the countless nights you picked me up from practices or whatever crazy idea I had going at the moment. You could have put you first instead of me.

I was always your independent child, but some nights I needed a hug when you wanted to sleep.  How simple it could have been if I had the knowledge to hug you instead of waiting for you to hug me. I remember you going in your room and shutting your door, but now I believe it was a good thing. Why see the sadness on your face or bills in your purse and collection calls you wish could be erased?

I think of the times you left work to make it to my daytime awards ceremony at school. I assured you that I was the only person in my class on the A-B honor roll this month, so it would be worth your time to leave work, walk the 7 blocks to my school, and watch me get my little blue ribbon. You never missed a beat. Sitting front row, I always thought, damn, she must really love me.

I think of the weekends when you could have went out and partied but you chose to take me to my basketball and volleyball games.  I remember you sitting in the bleachers, quiet as a mouse, but proud on the inside, regardless if you had a spouse.

The teenage years when I spoke so loosely with my lips not understanding the hurt they caused, what could I have been thinking? To speak to my mother in this way, the woman who carried my pain on her back instead of going astray.

You carried the strength of a thousand horses on your back and your back never broke.

Now, at 30 years old with 2 children, I completely understand.  As I carry a car seat in one hand, a toddler on the other hip, 5 inch heels in my purse, and flip flops on my feet; It’s the memories I have of you in your dress, stockings, and tennis shoes that make me understand that I have a long way to go.

I want you to know I respect your decision to not give up because you’ll forever be the reason for my growth. I don’t understand how you managed to always keep it together with a broken heart, but as I lay with my kids in darkness, I can’t help but feel your pain. Your heart wasn’t broken when you had your children to fill that void.

Yes you were a single mother, but you gave me the love I needed to replace my pain of an absentee father. Now, I carry the strength inside of me that you forever held in your heart. I will always appreciate a single mother who does her part.  I look at my children, with the strength of horses on my back,

I will be everything they need and more until they’re old enough to hold my back.

Always in love,

Your Daughter

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    1. Kwame 17 November - 2015

      Tiffani, this is such a beautiful post. What a wonderful way to honor your mother. Clearly she has raised an amazing woman.

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