Leaving a Legacy
On the way into work on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 I began to reflect on portions of my life. Earlier in the week on Sunday, January 20th my middle son Joshua exchanged vows with the love of his life (Tiara). As I sat there, I gazed at all three of my boys for a couple of moments. I had to hold back the tears; for I was determined I was NOT going to cry. Yet as I watched them, I was proud, the eldest and the younger – - they stood beside their brother as he began a milestone of his new life with a wife. This was a tremendous moment! I’m backtracking a bit to let you see a glimpse of what that day was like. It was cold winter day but beautiful. I believe LOVE (you know how much I LOVE L.O.V.E. ) was in the atmosphere and even though these young people were young there was approval from many well-wishers.
Josh’s godmother (Judy) came to me afterward to tell me she felt he was doing the right thing and she felt OK with his decision. Now mind you I’ve known this woman all my life, actually since about eleven and she stood with me when I got married. Therefore, we are close enough for her to share her feelings of approval or disapproval. I trust her and she trusts me. Josh is the same age as my first engagement which never materialized into marriage. However, I remember when I told my grandfather Ozell Gooding about it, he didn’t discourage me but talked with me instead, giving me his support. I try to do the same for my children – - give them SUPPORT! More importantly, my son followed through on his teaching, abstinence and no children until marriage.
Anyway, on Wednesday I was reflecting because years ago my grandfather Walter J. Oliver had shared some wisdom with me before he passed away. It’s interesting to me now because I realize he KNEW he was dying. It was he who came to tell me his best friend had passed away months earlier. His best friend was my maternal grandfather (Ozell). Interesting isn’t it? They were close and for whatever reason it was he (Walter J.) who patted my shoulder as he gave me the news of my loss (Ozell) and then he declares, “We all have to die, even me.” I am paraphrasing but that was the gist of his words. Unbeknownst to me he would be gone about eight months later and this was his way of warning me. I declare to this day he was prepping me. You can check out more of my grandfather’s friendship here called Ode to Thee. Both men left me a legacy to live up to; and I desire to do the same for my children.
Joshua was born in February of 1993 and granddaddy (Walter J.) came to see him in the hospital. I’ve since realized my grandfather came to see me both times when I had a child. In fact, he stood in my stead when Scott, my firstborn spent a month in the NBSCU (Yale New Born Special Care Unit). Because of Josh’s size my grandfather dubbed him Josh the Hittite, while the second nickname was Deacon because he had a head, fingernails and neck like Ozell Gooding. Needless to say, eventually the names slowly went away to Josh’s pleasure, LOL!
During the first few months after my son’s birth I was able to spend much time with my grandfather. Some time was over the phone and some in person. I remember him coming to visit me in my first house. I could see the twinkle in his eye that he was proud of us. Even that day as he sat there on the French provincial sofa we chatted easily and effortlessly. We would talk for hours and honestly to this day I can’t remember about what overall. I am grateful for that time because he was gone about four months later.
However, I do remember two vital pieces of information he shared with me that I still carry in my heart. Both were equally important to my growth as a young woman. The second concerns my children. My grandfather was clear in this statement, “Belinda, take care of YOUR children.” Now mind you I had two sons at the time and I was married. As with anything that is shared with us most times we don’t understand the value or depth of the conversation until much later. As I grew wiser, I learned my grandfather had key discernment! That man was off the chain with it! LOL! Ladies and Gents, I figured that out many, many, many years later. Did I say many? LOL! I believe he KNEW I would end up being a single mom and he was warning me of my responsibility.
So, as a single mom I sat there watching my sons waiting for Tiara to arrive down the aisle, and I felt a sense of peace. I had worked hard in raising these young black men. Often there where choices made that they didn’t understand; like moving them OUT of the inner-city or making them change schools. I’ve never had to bail them out of jail, no calls about drinking, drugs or smoking and I am NOT a grandmother. I had almost singlehandedly put one (Scott) through college the past four years. One was about to get married (Josh) and leaves for the military, and the youngest is a freshman in high school (Josiah).
As I peered at them smiling to myself I felt an overwhelming of love. I raised them to be men as much as my capability allowed. I raised them to cherish their wives and NOT to cheat. Many times I would warn them if you cheat your MOMMA WILL TAKE YOU OUT! LOL! Oh those who know me know I am dead serious even when laughing, LOL!
We as parents spend time wondering if our hands and love of labor are in proper measure when teaching our children about life’s habitually erratic path. It is never perfect but we strive for moral values, character and more importantly we strive to love. I know my sons love me. It is evident in our interaction and the world can see it. We still go to movies together, we still crack jokes on each other – - oh you already KNOW mom shuts it down when necessary, LOL; and I try to balance out my motherly behavior to give them room for growth. But don’t get it twisted; if you go after my sons inappropriately Momma Bee will have an audience with YOU! LOL!
Seriously, though THAT’S MY JOB to leave them a legacy! As I continued to reflect about my grandfather’s on Wednesday, the thought came to mind, I think they would be proud of me, don’t you?
Posted on January 26, 2013, in Relationships and tagged Belinda E. Oliver, Children, Community, Dating, Destiny, Direction, Love, Marriage, Men, Relationships, Responsibility, Sex, Women. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.