By Ariel Bowen
“Ain’t a woman alive that could take my mama’s place”
If you’re a fan of rap music, then I’m sure you recognize this line from Tupac’s soulful tribute to his mother titled “Dear Mama.” Or you’ve at least seen this line as someone’s caption on their Mother’s Day Instagram post.
I’d have to say the same goes for my own mother. She is such an important part of my life. I couldn’t imagine anyone taking on the role like she has. She made being a single mother look easy and aside from just being my mother, she is my teacher, my friend, my role model, and so much more.
I think what I love about her the most is that she always sees potential in me even when I don’t see it in myself.
I have so many memories of her constantly supporting me in whatever I do. From karate lessons, to band performances, to speaking in public and so much more, she made time to be there for me. No matter what it was, I could always look up to see her cheering me on.
One of my favorite examples of her incredible encouragement, is from when I was about fifteen years old. I used to draw a lot and wanted to be a cartoonist. I didn’t really tell people about it because I assumed they would think it was just a silly pipe dream. But my mom saw my potential and had me send in a drawing to an art school for feedback.
I don’t think I had ever believed in myself more than when I read the feedback, and it was actually good. If it hadn’t been for my mom, I would have never realized how important it is for me to pursue my dreams.
I have new dreams now, but her support has never wavered. I never get enough of her telling me how proud she is of me, even when I mess up. I don’t think I’d have any confidence at all if it weren’t for her undying support.
While my mom was the ultimate support system on her own, I had another shoulder I could always lean on growing up, that shoulder belonging to my sister, Zuri.
She was my first friend and best friend. We’ve shared laughs, clothes, advice, and of course, a room. We were and still are thick as thieves. Even when we fight, we know that we’ll always have each other’s backs. I am my sister’s keeper and she is mine.
I always think of her when I feel that I’m falling off track. As her big sister, I couldn’t imagine doing anything that would make her less than proud of me. Knowing that I am an influence on her pushes me to strive for greatness.
While I am the oldest, I don’t see our relationship as big sister/little sister. In fact, many people think we’re twins when they first meet us because we’re so much alike. I like to pretend it bothers me but I honestly think it’s great to know that others see me in the same light as such a phenomenal person. A person that makes me so proud and makes me want to be a better me.
For most of my life, it’s always been the three of us. We’ve faced so many hardships as individuals and as a family, but it’s only made us that much stronger and closer. They’re all I could want and more.