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Berdine's Corner

There's Nothing Like a
Mother's Love

by Kenney X. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

When I was younger, it seems I fell in love when the wind blew...or at least fell in what I thought was love. With only a few hour-long conversations, occasionally night to morning talks, a few kisses, dates, and especially if there was sex involved, I was all in. But many of those relationships ended just as they began, fast. And for most of those girls, I don't even know where are today.

Now I've traveled quite a bit throughout the last 10 years. Thanks to Facebook, I've been able to stay in touch with friends from all aspects of my life from elementary school, high school, college (I attended four), jobs that I've held from Macon and Atlanta, GA; NY; and NJ to all of my travels in between. With that said, I have many friends that I love from the bottom of my heart...from a distance.

Since my mother, Berdine Dennard passed, I have realized that there is a love that nothing else compares to. The only thing I can see similar, other than a Godly comparison would be a marriage of 20 plus years. But even still, that would be different. There is absolutely nothing that could compare to a mother’s love.

A mother's love is a special bond that grows from the time her belly begins to grow with you inside her. A love that only grows stronger when you say your first word, "Mama!" A mother's love is unconditional, without limits and her efforts are tireless from teaching her child to walk, talk, eat, read and write to taking that child to school for the first time. As the child grows, sometimes a mother works a fulltime job, yet makes time to raise that child. She may have to rush home from work to cook a balanced, healthy meal, and then check homework. It would seem a mother's job is never done, but she's a mother, so that's just what it is.

From my own personal view, I can remember things like my mama getting up super early when she was unemployed to fix all of us breakfast before we went off to school. The bus came at 7, so she was up every morning at 6. Sunday morning breakfast would be the most special because she had time before we left for church around 10:00. She went all out, cooking cheese eggs, grits, sausages, bacon and blueberry muffins and seemed to get a kick out of me eating so much, exclaiming, "Kenney loves them grits! I made some extra just for you!" My sister claims I did a dance whenever food was ready that inspired her to cook more for me.

My family shared a special bond that started with my mother's love. I can remember asking my mama for a certain gift on Christmas and having her explain to me that she had a budget and that this gift was too much for it. I understood and forgot all about the gift. Then on Christmas morning, I remember her handing over a huge gift with someone else’s name on it, saying to me, "Open this up for your daddy." I opened it and it would be just what I had asked for. My mama did things like this for us all of the time.

Even as a grown man, I got treated that way. When I first moved away to NYC, I didn’t come home very often. At one point when I had been gone for about 3 months, I decided to fly home for the Fourth of July. The night before leaving I called my mama.

I said, "Mama, you know I'm coming home tomorrow." She said, "Yeah I know. You told me." I said, Well, I got a request." She said, "What do you want now Kenney?" I asked, "Can you cook some chicken and dumplings?" She shouted, "Chicken and dumplings!?" I said, "Yeah, and collard greens and, and buttermilk cornbread and, and peach cobbler for dessert"

My mama went off, exclaiming, "Boy do you realize how hot it is down here and how long it would take me to be in that kitchen slaving over a hot stove? I don't even have the stuff to cook it! You just ask for too much sometimes." I felt bad. I said OK and changed the subject. The next day when I got home, before I could get out the car, I smelled the food. When I went in, I was surprised to see she had cooked everything I asked.

Those are only small examples. I’m sure you can think of your own personal examples. Since my mom passed there's a huge void in my heart, but when I reflect back I can’t help but think, "There's nothing like a mother’s love."


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Berdine Dillard Dennard cooking dinner in 2008.