by Falieta Green
I’m so proud of my mother; she is the true definition of a soldier. She never enlisted in anyone’s army, she didn’t own a gun, and she never wore military clothes. However, when it came to protecting her children, she never left the battle field front line. Mama always said,” Any woman can have a baby, it takes a real woman to be a mother.” Mama had the courage to sacrifice, love unconditionally, and keep her faith.
Racism was high and money was tight. Mama was forced to learn the meaning of sacrifice, living among six other siblings, a working mother and a sick father. Her family was so poor that everybody had to share more things than they wanted, such as clothes, shoes, and even an outhouse because their family couldn’t afford an indoor toilet, and the sleeping quarters, which were soaked with urine every now and then when someone had a late night accident. Mama said she hated pig soup night, cause it literaly was made with a pig’s foot, and you could still see the hair on it. Mama tried to get a job when she was twelve years old, but the white manager of the local Negro theater in the area told mama, if he couldn’t watch her change into her uniform, then he couldn’t hire her. Mama said, “No!” She ran home in tears. Mama once told me that her mother sacrificed a lot to feed and raise her children and mama vowed that one day she would do the same.
Unconditional love, was truly one of the main ingredients in the recipe. In 1967, a baby gave birth to a baby. Mama was fifteen years old when she gave birth to me. Still living in her mother’s house scared and ashamed, Mama told me that she never once thought about an abortion. I often wonder if I would be alive to tell this story if mama had given up on my life. In the 1960 mamas’ neighborhood was undeveloped and woodsy, African Americans were being murdered by the hand full because of the color of their skin. I don’t think police officials would have cared if they would have found a body of a Negro baby, who would have protested? Mama told me how she had the courage to stand in front of her mother and say, “I want to keep my baby. And her mother agreed. At fifteen years old mama proved she was a solider and showed unconditional love to a human being she had never met.
Mama went from being a scared and ashamed little girl, into being a loving young mother. Mama has always believed that education was the key to success, she knew she had to return back to school. By this time mother had given birth to another child and was married. Determined to finish school and mama attended Houston Community College where she finished high school at night and worked by day at Herman Memorial Hospital. She continued after graduation to pursue a certification in Medical Records and specialized in Billing and Coding. God did for mama what she couldn’t do for herself.
Mama was a solider that protected her children. She sacrificed, loved us unconditionally, and kept the faith. Mama lived with adversities while raising, feeding and proving to her children that life isn’t easy; but we can succeed if we believe in God, get the best education we can and try really hard. Mama has retired from her day to day duties of her career, she is active in her church ministry, and continues to be a source of inspiration to anyone that crosses her path.