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I admit that like most kids and teenagers growing up, I didn’t want to look like my mom. I mean, really? She’s MOM. The one who made me wash dishes and warned me against dating the guy I went to prom with. She was not cool (okay, not always) and just too familiar. I remember wanting a different name like Danielle because for some reason I thought it was more exotic than Tiffany. And besides, how many other brown-skinned girls in my class had the same name? It was so boring and unoriginal.


But something happened over time. And I mean a long period of time. I was a full-fledged adult by the time looking and being like her did not irritate me — it was just expected because I was her daughter. And don’t mistake my quest for individuality for a bad or damaged relationship — quite the opposite. She was the closest person in the world to me and in very many ways my best friend, but after many years of sickness, she passed almost 8 years ago. It really rocked my world. I was her caregiver and she was my cheerleader. I was her chauffeur and she was my backgammon buddy. The sharp pain that came with the loss is now a dull ache — never unbearable but there like the scar on my knee from childhood. Her passing allowed me to see her not just as my mother, but as a woman. She had dreams, passions, hurt and quirks just like us all and now I walk in greater appreciation and maturity as the years go by.

And something pretty amazing happened along the way — I see her in the mirror, as I baby-talk to my cat Maxwell (whom we both loved and spoiled), in my love of art and culture. Just this month, I’ve had three people tell me I look just like my mother: a childhood friend, a pastor from my church and a family member. Now I consider it the highest honor to be in any way reminiscent of my wonderful mother. Margaret Lisa Haney was the sweetest, most thoughtful and loving person I’ve ever known. She had such a big heart and even when she didn’t have much, she gave what she had. My mom thought of others when she was going through her own trials. I hope that I not only resemble her physically, but that I reflect her caring and warm spirit as well.

And as another Mother’s Day approaches, I reflect on the fact that though my mother is no longer physically with me, I carry her in very precious, eternal and ingrained ways that time and distance cannot take away from me. For those like me whose mother is no longer alive, take this time to remember all the precious times and the ways she’s imparted her love to you and made you who you are. And for those who still have mothers, take time to build bonds — whether strong or weak right now. At our very birth, God gives us such precious gifts. Let’s embrace them while we still can. Love you Mama!


My cool 20-something mommy!


Rocking my Afrocentric look in my 20s.