In honor of Mother's Day, I decided to revisit our "What's It Like...?" section and give a voice to someone who I've admired all my life. She's the first of many examples; the first woman who loved me unconditionally, the first strong black woman I've met, the first feminist I've witness take charge, the first person who showed me the true meaning of black womanhood, my mother! I interviewed my mother, Lois Stone, on her upbringing, what's it like to be a mother, and what was it like seeing her kids become successful, strong adults.
Where are you from and what was it like?
I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up on a army base. Eventually when I was a little older my family settled in Chicago.
What is your earliest memory of your mother?
She was always cooking and sewing. One of my first thoughts as a child was, "man, my momma can cook!".
What characteristics of your mother did you admire the most as a child? What characteristics do you admire about her now?
She was feisty and quick-witted. She was never afraid to check someone and stand up for herself, and she's still the same way. That's what I admire about her then and now.
Did you see your mother go through any obstacles? If so, how did that impact you?
Yes, she had her obstacles, but seeing her go through those obstacles taught me to never give up because she overcame them.
Who influenced your mothering skills?
My mom, of course, and other strong black women in my family as well as people like Maya Angelou, who's one of my favorite poets.
When did you first become a mother? Did you have any children after that?
I became a mother at 23, and had two more children after that.
When you first became a mother, were you nervous? How did your attitude change as time went on?
I wasn't nervous at all. I helped to raise two of my siblings while my mother worked so I was kind of prepared. I essentially had to become more organized and wanted to make sure I gave them all that I could, teach them about the world, and how to survive in it.
How did you pick the names of children?
Well, you (Kelsey) are named after your father, but my daughters, I got their names from characters I loved in books and TV shows at that time.
What characteristics about each of your children do you love the most?
I love that all of you are determined and so witty. Whatever you all want, you set your mind to it.
What is the funniest memory you have of your children?
Actually the funniest memories of you all are the times when you all aren't even trying to be funny. You all will just say something crazy and I would laugh.
Can you recall a moment when you thought to yourself, "damn I'm proud of my child!"?
Every time I see you all (laughs), I think every time you guys break through a new challenge or do something amazing that most people wouldn't be able to do I think, "Wow! They're really doing it." Whenever I tell people what my children have achieved, people always gasp.
Do you think your parenting skills have rubbed off on your children?
Yes, because to be honest we all act alike. No shame in that!
How much do you see yourself in your children?
Of course, I see it everyday! (laughs)
What advice do you have for all the mothers out there?
My advice would be to love them and respect that they are their own person let them be who they are!
Happy Mother's Day everyone!