He had no idea of the impact she had on my life. Before I met Miss Jenkins I feared that I would be just like my mother. See my mother was not the worst person ever she was just broken. She was given up for adoption when she was only a day old and bounced around from one foster home to another. So, from one motherless child to another I understood why she used drugs and had sex with random men. It helped her escape the pain like basketball helps me but when I met Miss Jenkins she filled the shoes of the mother I never had since I walked through those doors in eighth grade. She treated me like I was her daughter and supported me in everything.
She never missed my games and when I needed advice about anything she was always there to guide me. She is the reason I know God today and attend church every Sunday. Raven, oh yes Mr. Baker are you even listening to me yes sir. I will tell Miss Jenkins you asked about her. Sir what hospital is she at I would love to send her a letter or something. He wrote down the address for me not knowing I didn’t plan to write her but to go visit her. I had to go make sure she was okay. It’s not fair that she is going through this all alone. She has always been there for me and I plan to do the same.
Miss Jenkins was at Saint Marie’s hospital not too far from the school. The next day after school I took two buses to go visit Miss Jenkins. When I arrived the woman at the front desk told me that only family is allowed back so I lied and said I was her granddaughter. As I walked back to see Miss Jenkins I got butterflies in my stomach. She had missed so much, my acceptance, news about being valedictorian. We have so much catching up to do. I walked into her room and there she was but she did not look like herself. Miss Jenkins is the prettiest woman I know with long gray hair but her hair looked so thin and she looked so tired. She looked over and saw me standing in the door way in shock and said Hey you! I said hello Miss Jenkins, how are you?
She said I am great but it didn’t seem that way. She said to get in here and have a sit what’s been going on. I sat next to her and told her all the good news and before I knew it- it was dark outside. I asked her if it was okay for me to come visit her tomorrow and she said sure.
I went up there every day. Sadly, she missed my graduation but I came up there and showed her pictures and the recording of me giving my speech she had helped me work so hard on. I was hardly at home now because I was up at the hospital so much but figured it wouldn’t matter since my mother is never home.
We are now at the end of June and I have a summer job at the mall. I work at Sassy clothes. Surprisingly, my mother has been around when I get home. She isn’t high and there aren’t random men in and out. It’s Friday night and I came home and my mother is in the kitchen cooking. Only God knows the last time I saw my mother cooking. She asked me if I was hungry and I shake my head yes in shock. She fixes my plate and we sat in front of the tv and watch reruns of Martin. We didn’t say a word to each other just watched Martin and ate dinner. This happened for like two weeks straight and honestly, I finally asked what was going on. My mother told me she had been going to church and getting help. She said sister Lauren had pulled her aside one day in the store as she was stealing of course and told her you are not your circumstances and your circumstances aren’t bigger than God. My mother said I don’t know why it hit me but it did. Something came over me and I just began to cry. My mother said I put the stuff back and sister Lauren said to come with me back to the church. They helped me sign up for rehab and prayed for me. I sat there with my mouth open. Unfortunately, I didn’t even notice my mother was gone. It’s hard to notice someone gone when they are hardly around. I felt bad because my mother said she had been clean for seven months and I didn’t even notice. I just assumed she was out doing the usual. She asked me to forgive her for all the pain she put me through and not being a better mother than her mother.
The next day she asked me if I wanted to go grab breakfast with her and some of the ladies from church and I did. I got to meet sister Lauren and thanked her for helping my mother. It was so refreshing to see my mother out with women who empowered her, encouraged her, prayed for her and loved her despite where she’d been or what she’d gone through. They accepted the new woman God was molding her into. I was so proud of my momma. She’d gotten a job working as a waiter at Sisters Soul Food and volunteered down at the church helping people. She was even signing up for some classes down at the community college. My mother was a walking testimony of what God will do in your life. And my mother shared that testimony with the people she encountered down at the church.
After breakfast I went to see Miss Jenkins. Unfortunately, I only see Miss Jenkins on the weekends due to my work schedule and on this day she wasn’t in her usual spot. I came in sat down and turned on the tv. She walked out the bathroom and was fully dressed. I said hey pretty lady where are you off too? She said I am going home. Sister Lauren came into the room and said mom you ready to go. She looked over at me and said hey Raven what are you doing here? I was so confused because had I known she was coming this way I wouldn’t have taken the bus. I looked at Miss Jenkins and said I didn’t know you had a daughter. She said yes I have two daughters. Sister Lauren looked at her mother with the you better not but Miss Jenkins said come her sit next to me.