You know that song. Gladys Knight sang it. It goes, “If anyone should ever write my life story, for whatever reason there might be……” Well, it just so happens that I did. I wrote my life story. I wrote it because it has occurred to me that, in many ways, my life has come full circle. I lost my father when I was very young. Because I lost my father, I spent a lot of years trying to figure this whole man thing. And now, here I am trying to teach this man thing to my young son who is very close to the age I was when I lost my father. I am, coincidentally, not much older than my father was when he died. My daughter is now 17. That’s the age I was when I became a father. It’s all quite surreal, when I think about it. I think about it pretty often.
So I wrote it all down. My life, as I see it. Just like the song says, I’ve had my ups and downs. Unlike Gladys, though, I can’t necessarily say that the downs have been few. I’ve probably had more than my fair share of bad days. I mean, I was there when my father died. I was seven. How many people can say that? Really. When I wrote all this stuff out, these ups and downs that have been my life, I did it in a relatively matter of fact way. That’s how I think. It is what it is. No frills, no thrills. No artful suspense and colorful prose. Here’s what happened. I guess its because that’s how it all happened. Matter of fact. I’m not one to spice it up or sugar coat it. I lived it. I’m still here. I suppose that means I’m okay. But, when its all written out like that, it becomes clear that I’ve lived some life. There’s no question about it. I’ve earned my stripes.
Gladys says, “You’d be there, between each line of pain and glory, because you’re the best thing that ever happened to me.” Now I don’t know who Gladys was talking to. But as I read through my life, line by line, I know who I see. Her name is Renae Brock. I call her Dre. She hates when I call her that. I started when I learned that the Spanish word for mother was madre. I shortened it. It stuck. And in my life, so has she. Every time I’ve fallen, she’s caught me. Every time I’ve gotten up, she’s been there to pat me on the back. From beginning to end, she’s in there.
Lots of people love their mothers. Its human nature. She gives you life. She’s the first person on earth you meet. There’s a bond there that can’t be denied. But this one is different. She’s something special. She made three kids who shouldn’t have been okay, be okay. She made us stronger than most, in fact. One guy put it in perspective for me when he observed, “Y’all ain’t just doing okay. Y’all don’t just have good jobs and whatever. Y’all tearing sh#t up!” Maybe that’s true. If it is, I blame my mother.
After writing my life story for the world to see, one thing has become clear. Maybe two. First, I love my mother. Second, I owe her everything I have and more. Thanks Dre.