Unsung Heroes of Mother’s Day

My greatest joy is being Auntie Ronda. At a young age, I figured that I probably would not fall in love or have kids. I decided to be the self proclaimed “world’s greatest auntie.” My mission was to enhance their lives, loving them as my own.
Last year, I honored my mom in She Stoops to Conquer. This year I want to honor the women that raised children that were not their own. Parenting is a daunting task – raising an infant into a caring, responsible adult without trying to relieve your youth or mold them into another version of yourself. Parenting is a lifetime, 24/7 commitment. My Granny was abandoned as an infant. The people that took her in were not the kindest or the nicest. I met them when I was a young girl. I disliked them. They were condescending and treated my Granny like Cinderella – the bad version. Someone asked Granny why she was nice to them. Granny replied, “They did for me what my mother did not do. They raised me.” To all the women who were instrumental in raising, caring, and looking out for the well being of a child – Thank You!
As a special treat, I am featuring an essay of a young lady in the 8th grade from Chicago. She is sassy, intelligent, an old soul, and causes this auntie much angst because she is no longer Auntie’s baby, but a teenager. She is my youngest niece. When she was born, her personality was evident. I looked at her and told my mom, “She’s been here before.” I nicknamed her Ms. Ma’am and oh did she live up to her name. (All of auntie’s babies have a special nickname). At the age of two, she would tell people, “I’m 22!” She was quick to grow up that she potty trained herself at fifteen months. At age five, she would say, “I am the last and after me there will be no more.” She established her authority early on. She was the youngest, but she ruled and reigned over her older siblings – a hot mess!
The saddest part of my move to NYC was not seeing my nieces mature from girls to young ladies. They were 11, 13, and 14 when I moved – that most precarious and unsettling stage. I had such a bond with nephews as teens. I would miss that with my girls.
Ms. Ma’am has always asserted her independence, even as a toddler. I am grateful for her independent spirit, but it scares me too. Auntie’s baby is growing up. Below is an essay she wrote for school. Her teachers liked it so much, they asked her to recite it at a school assembly a few days ago. She refused to allow any of us (mother, father, granny, auntie) to read it until she performed at the recital. Enjoy!
ACCEPT ME THAT I’M A YOUNG LADY by Raymellia (aka Ms. Ma’am) JonesWhen I was little everything was cool
Driving in the car
and u put me on your lap because I wanted to drive too
Never admitting it to my sisters or brothers
But we both knew I was your favorite

And in the mirror always saw u in me and there was no way I could hide it
Came to my rescue whenever I was in trouble
And You always told me I was your baby girl
Never worried about anything
Cuz it was me and u against the world

……But then I got older
I got taller and started to grow hips
And u look at me strange like “who is this”
This can’t be my baby girl
And then I got breast, butt and thighs
And I’m sad to say when I looked at myself I couldn’t see you in my eyes

And you’re overprotective now more than ever
Cuz u think I’ve gotten sneaky and more clever
You won’t let me wear the fitted pants mama bought me
Afraid that if u do I’ll forget what u taught me
Tell me to take that crap off my lips cuz it was way too glossy

And we lost contact
When found boys number in my contacts
And the first time you heard me talk to a boy…..we didn’t talk for a while
Looked me and my eyes and told me to please stay a child
Worried that I would no longer be your little girl

But don’t worry dad
I’ll always be your baby
But I want always be a baby
So stop treating me like a infant and start treating like a lady

And I know that you love me
And you’ll catch me when I fall
But if you can’t accept that I’m a young lady now
then don’t accept me at all
Cuz I refused to be locked in your cage of immaturity 

I will not let u Keep my mind restricted to stop my curiosity
And I’m moving a little faster but u want me to move slow
An dad never had the courage to tell you but I have to I let u know
Stop holding me down cuz it’s been time for me grow

But dad my love for you will always show
And maybe one day In the mirror I can see u in me
And we could go driving again except you’ll be in the passenger’s seat
And get back to those days were it was me and you against the world just maybe
But first u got realize I’m not a little girl
And accept that now I’m a young lady 
Ronda Lee
Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Ronda is an attorney, writer, and entrepreneur. She is a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. Originally from Chicago, she has lived in Los Angeles and New York. She loves to travel and is passionate about education equity, especially for first generation college students.