I’m Not A Regular Mom, I Ain’t One Of Your Little Friends Either

I remember one of my first sleepovers at my friend Alisha’s house in grade school. She lived in the cutest apartment with her little sister and her mother. They had a balcony, a pool, a movie theatre! I used to call her Eloise because a) she was a black girl with blonde hair (which back then was like a literal head turner) and b) she lived in this insane ass apartment. I thought she had it all. Her mom was young, cool, pretty, wore the latest fashions, had the nicest car, and seemed so glamorous to me. She let us eat whatever we wanted, gave us her cell-phone to prank call boys (lol simpler times) and let us stay up all night long. Alisha’s house was the place to be. Most of my friends growing up had young, cool moms and I was envious because I had an older mom who did not play. If you know my mom, Cynthia you love her. My mom keeps it real and doesn’t believe in sugar coating anything. She is funny, wise, unapologetically herself, and doesn’t take shit from ANYONE. As someone who has always been a social butterfly who wants to be around all of the people, my mom and I could not be more opposite of one another. She is an introverted homebody with a select core group of close friends. (She was living for Quarantine!) She worked for the city of Cleveland for almost 30 years, (bless her) played the roles of both mother and father in our household, doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol so there was never any in the house. Cynthia didn’t let just anyone sleepover, if she didn’t know you and your parents you couldn’t come in the house let alone stay the night. “What if they burn my house down or hurt themselves? I am responsible for that, girl.” As a kid, that all sounded like bull and like she didn’t want to entertain my friends. I would attempt to act out and pop off with a hissy fit when I was upset and she would say to me “Who do you think you’re talking to? I’m not one of your little friends, little girl!” And with a single look she shot me the fuck down.

Try me, little girl.

My mom had me at the ripe age of 33. (Thinking about how I’m only two years away from that literally makes me cringe.) She wanted to live her life and make sure she could provide for a child before she brought one into the world. Since she was the oldest mother in the group whenever the young moms wanted to go have a night out, my mom was the one they called asking to watch their kids. She did not let us use her phone to prank call people, eat whatever we wanted, but we could stay up late because she was passed out by 10pm. “Dang, she’s always around it’s so annoying!” “I wish my mom was always around. My mom goes out all the time.” Alisha said to me while I was complaining about my mom. A pang of guilt hit my heart but I couldn’t articulate the feeling at the time. I also wondered if my mom had given Alisha money to say that to me. It went in one ear and out the other. I wanted the Amy Poehler from Mean Girls “cool mom” in a velour Juicy jumpsuit, serving my friends and I margaritas, then seeing herself out of the house to leave us alone.

Who wants drinks?!

When I endured traumas and hardships throughout my childhood and adolescence my mom always had the perfect remedies to help me through. It’s not the same hearing it from your parent so, I had to learn everything the hard way. (tbh, still do low-key.) “One day you’ll appreciate and listen to me, child.” She’d say walking away defeated after another argument between us. As a teenager I was the absolute worst to poor Cynthia. I thought I knew everything and partied harder than Andrew W.K. on a four day weekend. I put her through hell. She had two major surgeries almost back to back when I was around 17. They were not physically easy on Cynthia and there were complications. I almost lost the one person who loved me more than life itself and it scared me straight. We slowly started to rebuild our relationship.

Me as a teenager.

I entered the workforce in the real world, adults would comment saying I was wise beyond my years and raised the right way. “I’m preparing you for the real world” and little did I know she actually was. I was so grateful to have her advice ringing in the back of my head creating the self awareness many of my peers lacked. The older I got the more I valued my mom and the sacrifices she made. Moving to Chicago I was full on gobsmacked over everything she did for us. “You mean I have to buy deodorant?!? Toilet paper and toothpaste don’t just refill themselves?!?” Realizing how hard it is to buy things for one person but two, one of which is an ungrateful teenager?! By herself?! I respect the hell out of that woman. We’ve gotten closer than ever before and I can honestly say she’s my best friend. The true ying to my yang. I also discovered that most of my closest friends (and some of Cynthia’s favorites) had older parents too. We recognized that growing up with an older parent(s) is actually one of the most beneficial things that could’ve happened to us. Of course we made our own mistakes but we avoided a lot of bad decisions because of the lessons our parents instilled in us.

We are seeing a resurgence of older parents and I am loving it! Shoutout to the Black queens setting this trend: Naomi Campbell, Janet Jackson, Gabrielle Union and Kandi Burruss to name a few. To the kids of an older parent; soak in all the wisdom! They made it this far so they have some stories to tell. (Maybe not all of them until you’re of a certain age.) Believe it or not, they had an entire life before you existed. Take in all the love because they have so much of it to give! Enjoy your parents while they’re still here. Plus, it’ll make for great stories to tell one day.

hi my name is Cyntisha, and i’m bad at punctuation. just telling my truth. trying to make the world a better place. she/her/that bitch.