Today I am remembering my beautiful Aunt Thelma, the woman who raised me, on what would have been her 93rd birthday. She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother and great grandmother who touched so many lives. To me, she was a mother, a hero, a role model and a dear friend.
Thelma was 51 and had already raised her own two children and multiple foster kids when she and my Uncle Lincoln welcomed me into their home. At that point in life, some women would not have been so giving and selfless, but that wasn’t how Thelma rolled. Her brother’s wife was dying, and he needed her help. All he had to do was ask, and she and my uncle were setting up a crib for me in their house.
My aunt said it was a seamless transition, me moving in with her and Uncle Lincoln. She said I slept peacefully in my new home on the very first night. I was only 2½, but I believe I sensed the love in that house and felt safe. I was exactly where I belonged.
No one was a stranger in Thelma’s house. She welcomed everyone. In fact, her kitchen was kind of like a 24-hour diner: You never knew who would show up. From my dad, to his friends, to all my “aunts” and “uncles” (which was how children respectfully referred to their parents’ friends back in the 1970s), there always seemed to be someone different sitting at her table. My aunt was a great cook, for sure, but she was an even better friend.
Happy birthday, Mom. Thank you for everything you gave me, for your love and friendship. Thank you for showing me what it takes to make a happy home and marriage. I would not be the person, wife or mother I am today if it had not been for you. I was, and continue to be, blessed, and you are the reason.