My Mother's Daughter


Her smile spit-shines rainbows;

mosquitoes hush their humming

just to hear her sing;

dusk awaits her warmth impatiently…

Excerpt from “Libations” by Tamara J. Madison


I am my mother’s daughter. 

I clean house on Saturdays and labor weekly over a spankin’ Sunday dinner.  I make luscious homemade gravy and cakes from scratch like nobody’s business while fried green tomatoes and savory sage dressing are just a few of my specialties.

I was raised in church and attended college just like my mother.

I am married, have a house full of children (my own and others), and have friends of all ages that trust me with their confidences at challenging moments.  I have that quick wit and sass and love to laugh, just like my mother. 

And yes, just like my mother, it scares me sometimes when I look at my daughter boldly making her way through life.

I am my mother’s daughter, through and through, but,

I am my own woman…

To my mother’s embarrassment, while still in my youth, I threw out the notion of girdles and other feminine foundations and defiantly confirmed, “My jelly is supposed to shake and breathe!” To this day, I avoid pantyhose as much as possible and abhor high heels. 

I am more earthen in style and rough-edged at times with nappy locks and bright white hair that I refuse to dye (so far).

Unlike my mother, I don’t have a bacon grease can on my stove; I prefer olive and sesame oils though butter remains a staple in the fridge.  Instead of my mother’s beef, pork, and potatoes, seafood, avocado, mango, and organic greens are permanent on the menu at Tam’s Café.

Genteel gypsy, I have lived in seven cities, 5 states, and 2 countries. I speak 2 languages not at all like my mother.

I graduated from college. I rarely attend church and consider my home and body to be my most sacred sanctuaries.  That would have made my mother very nervous.

Unlike my mother’s quiet patience, I am quick tempered and quicker to cuss (though I am working on both of those).  

I was born with a mic in my hand. I have rocked stages before thousands and have penned my passions for all to see. My mother  avoided public speaking and kept many of her own passions neatly tucked away in the family cedar chest.

Though it scares me sometimes, when I look at my daughter, I love the thrill of the ride! I am inspired by her and learn from her every day!  I encourage her to be “her very own.” My mother often worried about how “different” I was.

This week marks the 16-year anniversary of my mother’s death. 

Today, I celebrate her life in me, my sister, her grandchildren and the many others she touched throughout her life as a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, school administrator, and church secretary.

Today I heed my mother’s mantra whispered to me often those last few months of her life, “Take care of yourself, Tamara; just make sure that you take care of yourself.” 

I understand her words meant for me to honor myself and take care of myself completely (body, mind and soul) as a woman first before taking care of all others. There simply is no other effective and healthy way to serve.

I also honor the dreams she tucked away and sacrificed as I embrace my own dreams and desires knowing their sacrifice is NOT required.

I embrace owning my mistakes and failures, victories and successes with equal attention and appreciation.  I embrace my freedom and my voice in ways that my mother never could.

Thank you, Mama, for everything...

Despite the tension and discomfort it often causes, being “our own” does not mean that we turn away from being “our mothers’ daughters.” It simply means that while we carry the legacy and wisdom of our mothers, we free ourselves to birth our hearts’ deepest desires. 

In doing so, we ignite the fire in our sons and daughters and allow our mothers to savor that fire through us.

Thanks for reading this newsletter and for sharing this special memorial moment with me.  Yes, that is my lovely mother, MariOla Martin, at the tempting age of 21 in the photo above.  You can find an audio poem, “Libations” in honor of her here.   

So what about you?  How are you both your mother’s daughter/father's son and "your own" at the same time?  How do you manage to honor yourself and your dreams while serving family, friends, and work?

It’s your turn to share! Scroll to the bottom to join the conversation! What you offer may be a blessing to someone else and will do my heart good.

As always,

Be Joyful,

Be Creative,

Be Inspired,



P.S.  I have simplified the site, added new pics, and poetry!  Check it out and share it!  Let me know what you think!


LaVerne March 19, 2014 @04:30 pm
Yes, you are your Mother's daughter. I am my Mother's daughter . . . and I pray that as my daughter continues to grow and mature, she will say the same . . . and you know Mahji . . .
Tamara September 20, 2013 @11:00 am
Thank YOU, Sonia, for allowing ME to be a parted of your illuminated spirit! We shine so much brighter when we shine TOGETHER! Love you too!
Sonia Roman September 20, 2013 @10:40 am
My beautiful sister... How I love your soul. Your mom was/is the catalyst of who you would become in future years. How I love you woman. Your words touched my soul... brought tears to my eyes. Reflected on mom, and who I am as a result of her, and yet how different our paths have resulted because of that difference. Thank you sis for sharing these amazing thoughts, you allow us a glimpse of your soul, and I am proud to be part of your illuminated spirit. I LOVE YOU TO ETERNITY!!!! PROUD OF YOU BEAUTIFUL.
Tamara September 10, 2013 @05:09 pm
Thank you, Ajeemah, for responding and sharing! I had great teachers on all sides from my mother, my grandmothers, and my daughter! lols!
Ajeemah September 10, 2013 @02:13 pm
Despite the tension and discomfort it often causes, being “our own” does not mean that we turn away from being “our mothers’ daughters.” It simply means that while we carry the legacy and wisdom of our mothers, we free ourselves to birth our hearts’ deepest desires". - See more at: that is a message that many mothers and daughters can relate and should respect and is so very difficult to communicate, however you write so delicately and personal!
Tamara September 04, 2013 @10:25 am
Thank you, Bertha! I will continue for as long as I possibly can! I appreciate the encouragement!
Bertha Weekley September 04, 2013 @10:03 am
What a privilege it was to read this beauty tribute Tamara..continue to be the soil in which you were planted...God Bless You and R.I.H. with perfect peace Sis. Mariola!!
Tamara September 04, 2013 @09:11 am
Thanks for responding, Hope! When you write the book on "Saying NO!" Please let us know. It is absolutely critical for self care and balance! I am glad you are calling your mom today!
Hope Guirantes September 04, 2013 @09:06 am
This made me think of my mom who is still with me. I think also of how am like her in many ways...even my mannerisms. I have a daughter as well and I have felt the same concerns and excitements as I have watched her come into her on and find her own way. I am learning to make space for me and what gives me personal joy. That road has not been easy but I have learned many lessons. Being able to say NO and mean it and stand it has been empowering for me. I laugh because when I say it and mean it, I always get the comment that I say it so nicely. I don't think you have to be cruel when you say it, you just have to mean it when you say it. Thank you for sharing your story, I think I am going to call my mom and thank her again for having me. I usually do it on my birthday every year but I can be a little early this year. Thank you Lorraine for sharing your poem about your mom. I love reading you beloved. :)
Tamara September 04, 2013 @08:38 am
Oh, Lorraine! How lovely! I am glad this brought beautiful memories back to you. Thank you for sharing the poem! My apologies because the site software does not recognize the line breaks. It is not something I can correct or control! Thank you for blessing this blog with such feminine fire!
Lorraine Currelley September 04, 2013 @07:24 am
"My Mother's Daughter resonated with me. It's a beautifully written piece. I heard my voice. You see, I come from a generation that always refer to ourselves as my mother's daughter. Thank you, for sharing your work and this lovely photo of your mother. I called my mother mama as well. My mother died in 1993. I thought of her while reading "My Mother's Daughter." Sharing a poem I wrote in 1986. i be an African classical note a woman of hunger and thirst nature’s raw essence a wanting tongue kiss bursting from Ms. Annie’s sacred womb scatting life rhythms ©Lorraine Currelley 1986. Unauthorized duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
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