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An Open Letter: Dear Ms. Reese

December 6, 2017

Dear Ms. Reese,

Thank you. Thank you for your wisdom, your songs, your stories, your ability to raise my son, your willingness to be a mentor, and a person I could rely on in a time when there were few other people within a 30 mile radius to help me raise my son.

You are a rock. You are a matriarch. You are a woman who has protected, raised, and watched over “your kids” for generations. I still think back on your stories you used to tell me about coaching all the neighborhood kids baseball, running the streets and making them all play, and ensuring that “your kids” stayed out of trouble. I admired your frankness with keeping a rod iron crowbar behind your door for the “crazy people in the street.” I can still see my young infant/toddler son light up when he saw you, ate your Ritz crackers, and chewed on a chicken leg while you sang, cooked, and made him feel as if he was one of yours. I also can still remember the devastated look on my son’s face when his father did not show up in the morning to watch him. However, I knew you were my constant. I knew no matter what you would take my son that day, love him, and help him forget about his deadbeat father.

We educated each other. You taught me when to add rice cereal (probably a little too early) to my son’s bottle and I taught you the NEED to put sunscreen on a biracial baby’s skin.

Since the day I met you, I knew I wanted to be a women like you in my older age. At 72 years old I still want to be able to get on the floor to show the young ones how to dance and stretch, but also be as wise as you. A women who helped single moms, moms in distress, moms who didn’t understand what the hell the men in their lives were doing. You let me leave my son at your house overnight when I just needed “me time.” You only made me pay $20 a day (a steal for how long he was with you). You helped the poor, single, stressed out, young moms that needed someone to be there for their kids and for them, and you were. I don’t think I can ever repay you enough.

I still tell people that my son is so smart because for the first 18 months of his life he was constantly talked to, loved, held, sang to, and pushed to be the best. And he is the best.

Over the years we have lost touch, but I think about you often. You left a mark on my life and I want to say “Thank you.”

Sincerely.

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