I did these sketches (above) many years ago. When I first drew these, I was trying to capture what the women in my family look like on any given Church-Sunday. I remembered this sketch today in thinking about Mother’s Day and so added some words: Today I thank every woman who ever kept me… [Yes, this post is a re-mix of previous mother’s day posts. Click here for those.]
I have strong memories of being a little girl when adults, especially my family and close neighbors, asked me: “who keep you when your momma work?” OR “who keepin you right now?” (the second question was when I was on a part of the block where I wasn’t supposed to be or at the corner store without permission). Who keep you? That’s always been one of my favorite expressions. No one in my family or immediate kin network ever asked “who babysits you?” I was never babysat. I was always KEPT.
Many already know that my mother lives with me now. After she lost her job in the recession crunch, I had to do some financial wizardry and move her from Ohio to Brooklyn and become a new head-of-household of sorts (I have always been able to make a dollah outta 15cents but this took a little EXtra creativity). As I get older, I realize that most of us daughters will be facing similar circumstances in caring for aging parents. My mother, however, does not consider herself aging so we go to a Jazz Brunch/Bar in Manhattan every Mother’s Day and by Jazz, I mean a real quartet that does covers like “All Blues” from Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue, NOT that Kenny-G-Twinkle-Twinkle foolishness. It has only been in the last few years that I have even been in the same city as my mother on Mother’s Day so I figure we may as well go all out (which, for my mother, also means eating my dessert.)
“Fruit of Generosity” by Leslie Ansley (exhibited at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in 2012)
I know Mother’s Day can be mostly a Hallmark invention, but I must admit that I like a day to put it all on pause for mothers. For me, that means all the women in my family who have raised me… which is a lot. I have strong memories of being a little girl and various adults, especially my family and close neighbors, asking me: “who keep you when your momma work?” OR “who keepin you right now?” (the second question was for when I was on a part of the block where I wasn’t supposed to be or at the corner store without permission). Who keep you? That’s always been a favorite expression of mine. Continue reading