By Cheryl Coleman
Women’s History Month is the perfect time to honor the greatest female I know – my mom. My mom did not grow up with a wealthy family. She did not attend college. She actually grew up in a small town in Alabama where there was no such thing as women’s rights. It was almost impossible for my mother to earn an education because she was not allowed to attend most schools. My mother left Alabama in hopes of finding a better life. After stops in Chicago, Indiana, and New York, she eventually landed in Washington, D.C. where she has called home for many years.
My mother had me at a young age and because of that I saw her struggle. She didn’t have the advantage of a good education so that made life challenging, but she fought through all of those obstacles and became a celebrated matriarch of not only our family, but of our neighborhood. We had plenty of “adopted” brothers and sisters who came to our house seeking refuge, a bite to eat, or to just be in a house full of love. My mother always helped others and never looked for anything in return.
Despite what anyone said or thought about my mother, she always holds her head high and wears a smile that will brighten any room. Because my mother was a single parent, she had to work two or three jobs to make ends meet for us. I remember she would come home from one job, fix my dinner and help me with my homework, and would be right back out of the door to another job. Looking back now, I understand life wasn’t easy for us. We didn’t have the finer things, but I had and continue to have unconditional love from my mother. She valued her role as my mother and wanted nothing but the best for me. She encouraged me when I shared my hopes and dreams. She prayed for me when there was uncertainty. She would always tell me, “My love, you can be anything you want to be. Never give up and keep the faith!”
So, as we celebrate women during this month, I would be completely remiss if I did not include my mother in this global recognition. She is, without a doubt: my hero, my rock, and my foundation. My prayer is we all have someone supporting us like my mom.