Here at SOULE we wanted to celebrate our mothers by showing them some love and talking them up. We asked people to contribute their thoughts, ideas, and essays, etc…about this day and their relationships with their mothers.
Wow! Were we surprised? Turns out this day can be beautiful and complicated and complex. So we are presenting three mother’s day pieces for you.
Part I – A Mother’s Love is Like….
First is our interview with our FOUNDER and CEO of SOULE Elijah Li, and the first lady in his life, his mother Ms. Roslyn Dudley.
What comes to your mind when you think of your mother?
Elijah Li: My mother has always been a giving person to everyone. I sometimes think she everyone’s mother. She is always concerned with everyone’s wellbeing. If a kid looked like they were missing in a store she’d instantly volunteer to reunite them with their parents. Even though she is short in stature her love pours out as though she is 7 feet tall.
What is your first memory of your mom?
Elijah Li: The first memory of my mother that I can remember vividly is when she was signing me up for elementary school. This was a magnet school and a very good one at that. I remember waiting with her in the rain to get into this school. In the district, I lived in you had to be 5 years of age by a certain month within the school year and I remember they declined my application b/c I turned 5 in January. I think I saw this big smile on my mom’s face. For a nanosecond, I was sad b/c I wasn’t going to school. But, I think I was even more excited because I got to stay home and hang out with my mom and aunt. When a year passed and the first day of school came I remember getting the longest hug ever as she left me in classroom full of strangers that became lifelong friends.
As this Mother’s Day rolls around what do you think your mother wants from you? What do you want from her?
Elijah Li: I think as this Mother’s Day rolls around I think there is nothing in particular my mom wants. Flowers and such are nice, but not always what’s wanted/needed. This year, I want to surprise her with a homemade breakfast to let her know that I love & appreciate her. Going forward, I want her to relax and be open to being taken care-of versus always being the one giving to others.
Can you remember a time when you really missed your mom and you didn’t think you would?
Elijah Li: I was at West Point Military Academy. It was during the DADT Era. I had selected to go to WP because I didn’t want to be a financial burden to my mother and WP was an excellent school. I thought I was going to enjoy this new chapter in my life. However, I wasn’t enjoying myself, had a hard time eating (WP wasn’t very keen on vegetarian options), had to deal with people that hadn’t lived around black people and I wasn’t able to be “out”. For the semester and 2 months I was there I think she visited almost every month for a day. Like a normal child, I would miss her. What made me miss her most was seeing how unhappy she looked when she visited me every month. When I finally came home for winter break. I had realized her unhappiness was merely a reflection of myself.
Then we went to the source to talk to Elijah’s mom, Roslyn Dudley, is a mother of two (Elijah and his sister Jessica) residing in Suffolk County, in Amityville, New York
What the things that still surprises you about being a mother?
Roslyn Dudley: The children are grown and the job continues. You’re still mothering. Sometimes they are like ‘oh mom we’re grown’ though.
What does motherhood mean to you?
RD: Motherhood nurturing and taking care of someone; overseeing and sharing love. When I was growing up they used to call me Momma Dudley. I was the one in school that would be nurturing with food, and advice and people would come to speak to me.
In some ways, I am now more of a mother for my mother. I didn’t grow up with my mom and now as my mother gotten older that’s the role I’ve taken on as an adult.
I think that’s naturally what I was supposed to be.
How do you express your love?
I grew up in a kitchen with my grandma making sweet potato pies and I would make vegetarian versions of them, so when I go to visit my mom that is one thing that I do. I was the oldest of 11 children. My mom cooked for all of them, making big pans of macaroni and cheese but now she sits down and does all the cooking. I make different stews and soups she likes and we eat them together.
Making some food. In fact Elijah will be looking for some food in my refrigerator. if I have a cake or something he likes.
What do you want for Mother’s Day This Year?
RD: Well, a limousine (she bursts into laughter.) I would like to spend some time with the family. I go to our meditation center with my daughter. Come Mothers Day I would like it if my mom could be here – but she’s in Georgia. We could spend the day together and enjoy a wonderful meal.