Mama Love

My Mama Santranella Anderson

My mama
My hero to the extreme
She’s had about 10 jobs
Two careers
Three vocations—
Not unstable
She’s just able to maintain that her anthem belter is Frank Sinatra
She does things her way.
From “My Heroes are to the Extreme” ©1997 by Rhonda Anderson

My mama, the “crazy” lady, the one with the wicked laugh
No matter where she goes she leaves an unforgettable path.
Her heart so big and ways so forgiving, her spirit teaches and keeps me living.
From “My Family” circa 1990s by Rhonda Anderson

She moves the earth with style and grace
Especially with that size 26 waist
And 40 hips
And busts so firm
You know the brothas wouldn’t leave her alone.
She was the life of the party
Personality beyond belief
But that all changed.
The crutches came.
From “Crutches” ©1995 by Rhonda Anderson

This is my mama, a woman ever-giving and beautiful inside and out. Don’t be offended that I call her crazy. She never is. But she is crazy: I just mean that she is a lot of fun and likes to laugh and there are few things she wouldn’t try or say. She got a lot of nerve and doesn’t scare easily. She had to be this way. She had three children in 2 ½ years.

Mothering us never seemed to take a toll on her even though she was sickly. She always made life fun for us. She orchestrated our dress up and in-house show times where we entertained her, and she demanded repeat performances when her girlfriends would drop by to say hi or for a counseling session and to eat. We’d have picnics at her bedside when she was too ill to cook us a meal. She’d tell us where to get a butter knife, crackers and peanut butter and we’d snack until my dad got back from work. We always had two cars, but she took us on bus rides and drives in cabs to experience other modes of transportation and other ways of life. And she would often “splurge” on restaurant food and outfits we didn’t need because “we ain’t gonna have it* anyway,” speaking of how fleeting money and other stuff can be. Though she never gave a lot of kisses and hugs but we always felt loved and safe, even when she would drive fast down a deserted path with no hands at our command in her 1972 Blue Chevy. “Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee,” she’d roar as we laughed and said, “Do it again, mama. Do it again.” We’d be on our way to a fashion show practice or dance practice or gymnastics. In later years, we might be going to a baseball or basketball game or some other school event.

She took us places and told us things that kept our heads held high and hearts open wide to others who needed the love she showed us. We didn’t go to church every week, but she laid the foundation for our faith even though hers is “not what I want it to be,” she says. My mama has a few crutches in her life, some needed, some perceived. Despite the lean, I love my mama for giving me life, sacrificing to make it good and paying the price to raise a healthy, happy and whole woman. At 41, I could say a lot more, but in that nutshell you have met my mama, the crazy lady, the one with the wicked laugh, and she is indeed my shero.

*not her choice word

Copyright 2010 by Rhonda J. Smith


2 responses to “Mama Love

  1. Rhonda-

    What a WONDERFUL tribute to your Mom!!! You’ve enlightened me to things I never knew about and to things that make me think of my own Mama. Thanks so much for sharing why she is so loved by so many!!!

  2. Truly this is my friend and sister. Crazy is really more like hilarious. She NEVER meets a stranger and will know ALL about you before you leave. She’ll correct her “grown” friends when we are wrong and applaud us when we do good. In her own way, she “mothers” us all.
    Giving, loving, caring, nurturing, free spirit, smart, and a TRUE friend no matter how frequent or infrequent you cross her path.
    She’s authentic: NEVER BEEN FAKE!!
    Always the real deal and I will always love her!

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