Have you guys ever heard of the saying "it takes a village"? If not, the saying is just meant to imply that to get something done efficiently or to get a certain result, it takes teamwork to achieve that goal. While growing up, this is a saying that I've often heard and seen put into motion. Typically, it's your parents that are your primary caretakers, and my parents definitely were that. However, there was a very special group of people who took the second largest role in my life behind my parents. This writing will be a little different this time in that it'll be an open letter and it'll be devoted to my two grandmothers.
Black grandmothers are a special breed of woman. Not to say that grandmothers of other races don't have some of the same qualities, but it's just something about them. Their struggle and how it resonates in their lives and how they apply it to their personalities and teaching style is something that leaves me lost for words.
Dear Beautiful Brown Woman,
I don't think you know what you do to me. I'm sure you would look at it as you just being you: strong yet sensitive, stern yet compassionate, confident yet vulnerable. But to me, you were so much more.
I can remember the days as a younger girl when cousins would come to stay for the summer. A six bedroom house. 10 or so tenants. It was packed, but somehow always comfortable, because I was always surrounded by family. Granny, those are the summers that helped to make me a more family-oriented woman. To this day, I still hold my cousins on a high pedestal, and I consider them to be the best friends I've ever had. I know of so many families that have a disconnect among each other, but you would forbid that under your roof. You're to blame for that, because now I can never get rid of them (LOL J/K).
I also recall the times I went out with my Granty (not to be mistaken with Granny, my mom's mom) and I would be speaking to an adult, and say something like, "Yeah," or not make eye contact. She would give me these stern looks or shove me, and I immediately knew to straighten up and act like I had some sense. That means to "adjust my mannerisms," for anyone who doesn't know what that means. These experiences not only molded me to always respect my elders but to also be unafraid and unintimidated to make eye contact.
Beautiful brown women, thank you for molding me. Thank you for keeping the family bond strong. Thank you for teaching me manners. Thank you for those long nights when I was sick, keeping my fever down. Thank you for keeping and taking care of me when my parents had shifts that occupied the majority of their day. Thank you for making me bathe when I was out playing for five hours straight and "smelled like outside" (only a few will get that reference). Thank you for giving me whoopings when I deserved them. "They build character," I remember my dad saying. Thank you, beautiful brown women, for keeping me safe from these Chicago streets.
There are numerous other women that acted as a grandmother figure in my life, but I wanted to dedicate this to my two biological grandmothers, Tracy Adams and Mary Harvey. Especially Mary Harvey, who's battling with Alzheimer's disease. Although she's starting to change, Mary Evelyn Harvey, we'll always remember the legacy that you left and the impact you had on so many people, family, and friends.
Hope y'all enjoyed. Peace.