The Earth Has Weight

 The Earth has Weight by Kristye Addison Dudley

I am so blessed to be able to celebrate my mother and my own motherhood (I am now 7 months prego with a baby boy and KJ turned two in April). Mom is a little woman, full of life and spunk. I think I look a little more like her everyday. She says what’s on her mind and is so proud of her 4 children and 5.5 grands, you would think she worked in public relations. I had to learn early on to not be embarrassed at her announcements of family achievements to anyone in earshot. And I learned to share her with the world and I am so proud of her ability to have unlimited love to give.

I thought I would take some time out and share a little about my mother. Last year, she became ill and went to live with my sister in Charlotte, NC. (I can’t thank my sister enough for her nurturing spirit). My mother left her home, her church, her friends, her post office and her routine to recover and get back on her feet.

This month it’s been 8 months that she has been away from home. She is stronger and back to her self again. While she was away, however, her community back home was missing her and wanted to let her know how much she meant to them.

So a few weekends ago, I flew back to South Carolina to surprise my mother at a benefit in her honor. It was more than my siblings and I could have hoped for. The extended family that came to celebrate her made my heart melt. And my mother was truly surprised and grateful for the show of support and love. We so often give flowers when it’s too late, I am so thankful that my mother was able to enjoy her flowers while she is still here.

I can’t tell you everything, but here is a bit about my mother:

She loves education. She’s a proud alumni of Claflin University and received advanced degrees from UNT and Northwestern. She also is a retired teacher, who taught Physical Ed to college women and taught English at a community college.

She loves the Lord and has been active in the United Methodist Church her entire life. My grandfather was a UMC pastor and she has served the church in more positions than I can name. She was the first Black woman to serve on the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries, and did it for two terms.

But she is no stranger to firsts. She helped charter the undergraduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the oldest African American Sorority, at Clemson University. Which became my alma mater and the chapter in which one of my sisters and myself became members. My oldest sister joined at Florida State University and many of my family members are also my sisters. My mother has also celebrated her Golden anniversary, 50 years of membership.

She even was integral in helping my oldest sister find her passion in dance. When a local dance studio would not accept African American students, my mother encouraged one of the teachers to start her own school. My sister took classes there and went on to become a dance major in college, to study at Alvin Ailey school of dance in NYC, to dance off broadway and around the world. She is still dancing to this day.

Of all the things that my mother has taught me, a recurring theme is, If something needs to get done, do it. She has never broken a promise to me or anyone that she has met.

She does carry the weight of the world sometimes, like the painting depicts, but she always does it with nurturing care. I do hope this next chapter of her life brings back that determined spirit that makes her like no one else. It makes her my Mamma, or Mrs. Rubielee (yes that is one word).

Mom I love you, and I hope I can show my children how to live an unselfish and giving life like you have shown me. And maybe I can teach you how to really smell the roses. That’s the trait I get from my father and since his passing, it’s time I help her remember. She will be coming to Louisiana to help me when my little guy is born and I can’t wait to show her the honeysuckle bush outside our home (not roses, but just as sweet).
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