The Kindness of Women Who Made You Feel at Home
Mother's Day may also be Mothers Day.
My mother calls me every morning from Santa Monica, sounding like a lark, ever since the pandemic. A professor into her 80s, she has a subversive streak and went places all over the world, once to a civil war with a United Nations peacekeeping team. She sees her three daughters as a bit "unadventurous."
No, Mom, I don't want to sleep in a yurt in a Kazakhstan forest.
She's descended from a Puritan woman famed for bravery, no lie. Her flame burns bright, and I love her dearly.
When I was very young, my mother was studying for her Ph.D. at Columbia. My father was a medical resident. Our little family lived in Harlem. I shared a crib and babysitter with Kelly.
Her mother Patricia, born an Irish Catholic girl in Brooklyn, was a match for my mother's spirit. Ahead of her time, her husband Luther was Black. That was rare in the early '60s.
Red-haired Pat treated me like family. I could ask her anything about leaving my marriage or seeking a job. She gave me a gift of a Waterford crystal Christmas flute, signed with love and kisses.
An education leader, Pat rose to become superintendent of the Manhattan high schools. I went to her memorial service up in New York in mid-March. Guests wore green for St. Patrick's Day. "You could feel her energy shake the floor," a teacher said.
Kelly, a lawyer, greeted me as her "crib mate." Can't get closer, right? We last met at former President Barack Obama's 2008 inauguration. She slept over.
When I worked at the Baltimore Sun, I interviewed a civic leader at her warm home, full of pictures of her late husband and three daughters. Her Southern Virginia girlhood was storybook.