A Gift that Keeps on Giving
by Vanessa Davis Griggs
To have a wonderful, loving mother is a blessing indeed. I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to say this. A mother who gives birth to a child gives that child the gift of life. Then there are those mothers who may not physically carry a child in their womb, but through adoption, foster care, becoming a stepmom, or one who just steps up to take on the role without any special title, they carry that child in their hearts. No, mothers don’t always have the right answers nor will she always do every single thing right. But a good mother will strive to do her best.
I have the privilege of being on both ends of the motherhood spectrum. I am the daughter of Josephine Davis and the mother of Jeffery, Jeremy, and Johnathan. As hard as life may have appeared at times growing up, when you become a mother, you quickly learn it’s no cakewalk. But the joy that lay before you, once you give your heart away to that child is worth whatever you may have to do or go through.
From the sixth grade to the eleventh grade, I tried out for cheerleader. Mid-February in my fifth grade year, we (meaning the black children from Village Springs, Alabama and other surrounding black communities) “integrated” into the white schools under the term “busing.” It was a strange term when you consider that prior to that time we were being bused to a black school a greater distance away. In any event, we had now entered into the era of integration. Being a young child, I didn’t know what any of that meant. I never thought of black and white as being separate. I never really thought of black and white in any way. I never realized we were going in through the back door when we visited the local white doctor in Pinson. In truth, I never even knew we were (by the country’s definition) “poor.” I never knew I was supposed to be inferior to anyone else. I never knew there were things I couldn’t or shouldn’t be able to do in life. And I credit a lot of this to my wonderful mother.
You see, my mother made sure that we knew we were rich and could do anything in life if we worked hard for it (I’d also add my father, but we’re talking about mothers here). Growing up with our mother, we felt rich because, in all that ever mattered in life, we were. We had love, a mother who worked hard to be sure we had what we needed; but most of all, a mother who introduced us to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. After the introduction, she guaranteed we continued our relationship, ensuring we not only maintained Sunday visits (and I mean every Sunday, sometimes twice that same day when there were afternoon programs) to deepen our knowledge and give God praise, but to keep every day holy.
I mentioned me trying out for cheerleader because my mother was right there each and every year supporting me. Each year, I really should have made the squad, but I didn’t know (although my mother did) that the color of my skin was what kept me from being chosen. When I look back over those years, I see how each year when those in position saw I’d made it (determined they weren’t going to allow a black person to represent the school), they would take it from me, then change the rules to hopefully not have that problem the next time.
But the next time, I still prevailed (and they knew it). Still, they never gave it to me. My mother never said or did anything to discourage me from trying out the next year. I remember one white male schoolmate coming to me (when the students were to vote) and telling me that someone said they would have voted for me, but that I was too dark. My beautiful God-given tan was too dark! That would be funny if it wasn’t sad. But my mother stood by me every step of the way. And the last time I was denied and there would be no more times for me to try out, my mother wrote me a beautiful letter telling me how proud she was of me…that I was like Moses who only got to look over into the Promised Land but had made it possible for others to reach it someday. It was true. Pinson did get a few black cheerleaders for both the high school and the middle school. And in the middle school, one of those cheerleaders turned out to be my sister.
So I conclude by saying that I wanted to be a cheerleader. But my mother has always been a cheerleader to and for me. Even today, she cheers me on. So to the mothers out there who cheer your children on, allow me to say: Thank you. It means more than you’ll ever know.
Meet the Author
Vanessa Davis Griggs
is the author of 15 novels (which includes The Blessed Trinity Series) with number 16, The Other Side of Divine, releasing July 30, 2013. She also contributed ten devotional to the Sisters in Faith Holy Bible released by Thomas Nelson. To visit her Web site: http://www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com