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EDITORIAL: Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day 2015

Mother’s Day comes early this year. For one mother it was totally unexpected. Unless you were hiding under a rock, most people knew what happened recently in Baltimore where riots occurred, destroying many of the businesses in the neighborhood. There is an ongoing investigation as to the death of a 25 year old young man while in the custody of the Baltimore Police.

Handheld electronic devices make it easy for ordinary citizens to capture events as they happen and post them to social media websites instantaneously. One such video taken in Baltimore that went around the world quickly had to do with a mother, who in my opinion, saved her son from himself. Toya Graham happened to be watching the news in Baltimore on Monday when she spotted her 16 year old son, Michael throwing rocks at Police Officers during the riots. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing, but she knew she had to spring into action immediately. She tracked her son down and immediately started to hit him, scolding him and using profanity to get her point across. Her point was: she knew her son was doing something that was COMPLETELY WRONG.  Graham said she didn’t want her son to be another “Freddie Gray.”

Protest broke out during Gray’s funeral despite the pleas of Freddie Gray’s family to please show respect for their deceased loved one. “This is not what Freddie would have wanted.”

Ms. Graham is a single mother of 5 daughters and 1 son. She did what I wish a lot of parents would to do to their 16 year old’s. They are not their child’s friend when it comes to discipline. Her son was not her equal. If she is putting a roof over his head, feeding him, clothing him, it is up to him to follow her rules. He is not the adult – she is! And I’m pretty sure after that video went viral of her disciplining him strongly for what he did in public, he will not forget the lesson that he was taught by her.

I was listening to Curtis Sliwa (Founder of the Guardian Angels) on the radio. In his line of work with the Guardian Angels he  has seen instances when children strike back and attack their parents. In this case, he could tell that Ms. Graham’s child knew not to mess with his mother.

There are some people who made negative comments about Ms. Graham’s actions towards her son. She  wasn’t concerned about being on camera. She followed her own instincts and got her son out of there.

Graham has made public appearances with her son. Her actions may have saved her son’s life and turned him around to go on the right path. It would be interesting to interview him in a few years to see how his life turns out.

Now, I want to talk a little about my own mother. I was very fortunate that I had a mother disciplined myself and my siblings when we were in the wrong. She is the type of mother that any child would be glad to have.

There are some cases when people don’t like to be compared to their parents. In my case, I always wanted to be just like her. She was one of the sweetest, kindest and one of the most beautiful persons I have ever known. That is how a lot of people described her; even those who just knew her only when they talked to her on the phone.

My parents were very active in their church and I remember attending church with them when I was very young. Easter and Christmas were special times because during those holidays we had to memorize special poems to present during holiday programs at the church. I remember having to go shopping with Mom for our special outfits to wear for the holidays. For Christmas, Mom and then Dad would be the first ones on my Christmas gift list.

Despite having 10 of us, there was always room in our house for the neighbor’s kids or our relatives’ kids. I remember feeling so grown up when I had my first real job and being able to afford to take my parents on vacation to New Orleans. My Mom and I also traveled to Freeport in the Bahamas. My Dad was supposed to go, but at the last minute couldn’t make it because his taxi business was at its peak.

One night there was a hula dance contest at the hotel that my Mom and I were staying at. I decided to enter this contest. My Mom kidded me by telling me that she knew I wasn’t going to win because I wasn’t “shaking my little butt enough.” Well, I was only 110 lbs. back then and I didn’t have that much butt to shake. But we had a great time. My Mom belonged to a club called “Just Us Girls,” that would have monthly meetings.

I loved when the meetings were held at our house because my Mother would always prepare a great meal and dessert for the members to enjoy. After the members ate and left, we would have the leftovers. That was the best part of the evening.

I used to travel a lot on my own and I remember agonizing over what gifts I would bring home from my travels for my parents and hoping that they would love the gifts I brought back.

I lost my Mom in 1994 to cancer. When she was undergoing chemotherapy, I knew she was in a lot of pain, although she tried to hide it. I remember asking God to try to transfer some of that pain to me so she would not have to endure it, but it was not meant to be.

When I have a lot of things on my mind, I try to think of her when I’m drifting off to sleep, hoping she will come to me in my dreams. She always appears in my dreams when I least expect it.  I think that it’s because that’s when I truly do need her. When  During the dreams, she is so alive that when I wake up, it’s hard to believe that she is gone.

Our relationship was not perfect, but it was perfect enough for me.

My siblings and I were very fortunate to have a mother who loved us so much, and I know there are those who are not as fortunate.

She was a role model not only for mothers, but for how people should be in general.  Happy Mother’s Day  to my  sisters, nieces and all mothers and caretakers on Mother’s Day.

Carolyn M.

I am fortunate that my mother is still active and healthy. Every year in September we ride the bicycles down the boardwalk in Wildwood (a two mile strip) at the Firemen’s Convention. Every year we see if we can make it up the ramp. Either way, we both ride the entire boardwalk every year.

One of my most favorite times is when my mother needed a photo of the sun rising in Perth Amboy (for her art class). This was in October 2004. We got up at 5 a.m. and went down the Waterfront. I got a great shot of the sunrise and it was published in the Home News Tribune.

Another time, (In 1998) I was playing softball in the Woodbridge Recreational League and I wasn’t sure we had enough players, so I brought my extra glove and dragged Mom to the game. When game time rolled around, we were short one player. Mom played right field that day and guess what – She got a hit! We won that game.

We went to Citi Field a few years ago to see the Subway Series Yankees vs. Mets with my aunt and my mom. My mom was sitting next to these two huge guys who had appetite to match. They kept on eating and she was in hysterics. She couldn’t help but laugh at them constantly stuffing their face. I think they left in the fourth inning. They really didn’t watch the game. But we had a great time watching the whole game. Unfortunately the Met’s lost.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Katherine M.

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