by: Lanisha Porter
Having a mother is important for a young girl because a mom serves as the standard in which that little girl will aspire to become as a woman. For me, that standard was never an arms-reach away. The standard of what a woman should be actually didn't come from the things my mother did but instead the things she didn't do. My mother decided on a new life that meant we would live in two different states. Her decision left me to be raised by my father during the most developmental years of my life. Growing up without a mother meant I often turned to Beyoncé and Clair Huxtable to raise me because an exclusive magazine interview from Beyoncé had been more consistent than my own mother had.
The magazine was tangible, it was reliable, and the pages were mine to tear out and hang on my wall. A lot of people just saw Beyoncé pictures on my wall but I saw more. I saw a standard of what to become as a woman. I couldn't always count on my mother to come into town, answer the phone or be there because although she was mine I didn't always feel she was. I felt abandoned. I felt uncomfortable that my sisterfriend had to teach me how to use a tampon because her mom had taught her while mine didn’t. The truth is growing up I deeply suffered from maternal abandonment which—soon enough—turned into resentment against my mother because I felt she should've been there for me. Secretly I would try to fill that void of maternal malnourishment through other women. Over the years I have subscribed to calling so many other women "mommy" hoping it would give me what I was missing—a mom. But I didn't want just the labels...I wanted the intimate relationship where I could cuddle up under my "mommy" without feeling awkward or intrusive of personal space. Because I saw many of friends live out that type of intimate relationship with their mothers I was often jealous of my girlfriends and their mothers. By this time I had become very good at pretending when being around them; pretending that I wasn’t missing out on anything or that I hadn’t admired the extent of their mother-daughter relationship. If they were running through the house playing an innocent game of chase, I would look away or pull out my phone to seem as though I was disinterested and lost in my own world. Comparatively, whenever I heard my friends mothers lecturing them about things a young lady should know, I would be sure to secretly stash those golden coins of wisdom in my mental pocketbook. I also pretended that I hadn’t been listening but of course I was taking heed to everything said within earshot because I never knew when I would receive another mother-to-daughter lesson.
Growing up without a mother, you as a daughter spend a lot of time retreating in your own world being jealous but hopeful. You hope one day you can have a daughter and make up for everything you are missing. I don't yet know my daughter but I already have so many plans for her and how I will suffocate her in my unwavering love. My daughter will never know maternal vacancy...if anything she will beg me to leave her alone. And one day when my daughter brings home a friend who maybe has never had the chance to have a mom, I will ensure she doesn't feel like an outsider. I, too, will include her in the game of chase, make sure she joins in on the mother-daughter conversations, and make sure both her and my daughter have a place to cuddle next to me if they want.
Welcome to my views from this horizon!