Tupac Shakur has and will always be one of my biggest influences in life. His classic “Dear Mama” was the first record I ever heard of his. Even though I was no older than 7 or 8 years old, that record did something to me. It planted the initial seed in me that made me realize that, “through the drama I can always depend on my mama.” I could sit here and take every bar from that song and write 10,000 words on how it relates to my mama. Instead, I took the lines that always make a tear drop when this record spins and wrote what I always wanted to say to my mom. Happy Mother’s Day, I love you.
“Ain’t a woman alive that can take my mama’s place”
I don’t think I ever have to say this again, but mama, no one will ever be able to take your place. You did more for me than I ever deserved after all the heart ache I caused. You had me at 16. You could have left just like that coward sperm donor, but you didn’t. And for that I will forever take care of you. I’m 26 years old and the thought of having a child now terrifies me to the core. You were faced with a harsher reality and never did it affect you. You wo-maned up and handled your business. Ali, Alexa, Gili and myself will always have the strongest woman to lean on. Just know that I’m here for you when you need me, too.
“I shed tears with my baby sister, over the years we was poorer than the other little kids”
I always knew we didn’t have a lot of money, but somehow you made it feel like we were the richest kids in the world. We always had clothes on our back, food was on the table, and we had a roof over our head. “A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how you did it?” Seriously mama, how the fuck did you pull that off? I can only imagine how many bounced checks you wrote just trying to keep it all together. They say super heroes aren’t real, they’re just a figment of our imagination. I say they haven’t met my mama.
“I reminisce on the stress I caused, it was hell, huggin’ on my mama from a jail cell”
Do you remember the night you got the call I was in jail and you drove 4 hours to come bail me out? I do. The only thing running through my mind while I was in custody was how much I knew I had hurt you. You raised me better than that but never did you judge me, you realized I made a mistake. Sometimes I wonder how you’re still proud I’m your son.
“I finally understand for a woman it ain’t easy tryin’ to raise a man”
I didn’t understand this until I was older. In my eyes you knew it all, but little did I know that no matter what you couldn’t show me how to be a man. Instead, you showed me how to carry myself, you taught me the power of the words please and thank you, you taught me that being a good person never goes out of style. You taught me more than you’ll ever know. But most importantly mama, you taught me manners. Manners have taken me places that money can never take me.
“No love for my daddy cause the coward wasn’t there”
I don’t like mentioning him when I talk about you, he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath. Everything I do is to make you proud. I get told by people who know my dad that I remind them of him and it makes me angry. He had nothing to do with how far we have come. You don’t get enough credit for the work you’ve done and that angers me as well. If I could mama, I’d gift wrap the globe for you. Don’t worry, one day you and I are going to be able to rub it all in his face. I’ll make sure we both get the last laugh, you have my word.
“There are no words that can express how I feel, you never kept a secret, always stayed real”
When my dad left never did you lie to me. You told me how he didn’t want to be there. You told me that he wanted to still have his fun. And as much as that hurt then, I want to say thank you. To this day, you tell me how it is even if it’s not what I want to hear. I always knew I had someone I could go to and get an honest opinion. You taught me that telling the truth is the key to life. For better or worse, this quality is the one that stuck with me the most. I have no filter just like you, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“And there’s no way I can pay back, but my plan is to show you that I understand”
No matter what I do, there’s no way I can come close to paying you back for everything you did. My goal everyday instead is to strive to make you proud to be my mom. I want you to wake up every morning and think of me when you need a bit of inspiration just like for 26 years I’ve thought of you when my world felt like it was upside down. In this crazy world there is always one constant and that’s you. I know that no matter what when I talk to you everything is going to be alright. And last thing, no matter how big and crazy my dreams are, I want you to keep me grounded and smack me when I get big-headed.