AND A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL WOMEN WHO HELP RAISE CHILDREN
There are many women who help raise children that are not biologically their own. I have been blessed with one such woman in my life, she did not have her own children, but decided to be a great help to the children in her family. She is full of history, knowledge, and love. This woman is my maternal Aunt – Betty Louise. She is the eldest and last remaining sister of three sisters who were born in Grenada, Mississippi. You see, Betty Louise came up North to help her mother and two younger sisters escape racism, and to find a better life than was afforded in the South. Brave and determined, she found work in the North, and religiously sent money back home so that her family could also make the trip. Her determination and solid work-ethic is what I inherited. Aunt Betty is a worker and builder, and over the years, she was able to pursue many of her dreams -to buying multiple rental properties, cars, and a lifestyle that could never ever been imagined for a woman with very little education from Jim Crow Mississippi.
And every family member that came from the South, lived with Aunt Betty for a time until they could provide for themselves. And, as in most families from the South, there usually are one or two (or maybe three), that could not quite get their lives together. Maybe too much of the good life, not enough discipline, or some form of mental illness, Aunt Betty always took them in. Her Sisters took to drinking, partying, and hooking up with handsome men that made a good date, but terrible providers. Through it all, Aunt Betty always stated that family was important — whether family borrowed money, needed a place to stay, or simply “kicked her in the butt”, Aunt Betty continued to help in anyway possible. Maybe a “softee” or an enabler, she did more than any other man or woman would or could do for her family.
Over the years, she certainly helped me. Through her wisdom and friendship, Aunt Betty always supported me (in good or bad). We were always close, and as I became a mother, I made sure I visited her during my summer vacations. Throughout the years, I often carried my children, niece, and grandchildren to visit Aunt Betty. She collected and housed pictures of our family over the years, and she always showered the children with birthday and Christmas gifts. As a child, I always loved receiving Easter baskets and solid chocolate Easter bunnies. These gifts shifted as each family member became older, and then went to the younger children of the family.
So on this day, I thank Aunt Betty. There is no athlete or Hollywood star that I admire more than she. She is my role model, and I will always love and appreciate what she did for me and my family until the day I die.