Monday, October 12, 2015

What Mama Gave Me

I inherited a great deal from my mother–the most cherished had no monetary value but were priceless just the same. They include a strong belief in God, a desire to educate myself, how to be courageous and a love of reading.

There were two things my mother wanted for her children: a faith in God to rely on and a college education. Sunday school and church were mandatory when I was growing up–a habit that has served me wall later in life. Summer vacation also included vacation Bible school. As an adult, I feel truly blessed to have the community and friendship of fellow church members, as well as my faith that has carried me through difficult times.

Mama’s insistence and dogged determination got me and my siblings through the rigors of a college education. When growing up, homework came first and anything less than good grades were not tolerated. I’ll never forget fall semester of my freshman year in high school. I came home with bad grades and Mama tore my report card in half. Needless to say, my grades were much better the next semester! I didn’t want to go through the embarrassment of returning a Scotch-taped report card to my teachers. If I had a difficult time with a certain subject, Mama through nothing of hiring a tutor to assist me. Somewhere along the way, I developed a love of learning that I still retain.

My mother was one of the most courageous people I have ever known. When she was in her twenties, she lost her mother to cancer. She became a widow with three children at the age of thirty-three. She buried two sons and suffered from cancer and a crippling stroke. Despite everything, she remained strong and carried the rest of us through the darkness. She told me more than once to keep it together during a crisis. Once everything was over, I could indulge in the luxury of tears. She emphasized the need for our family to be strong for one another. She also reminded me that whatever difficulty I was going through would pass. Her famous words, that I still hear, are “this too shall pass.” Those words got me through a lot.

I was lucky enough to come from a family of readers. Both my parents encouraged in their children the love of literature. When I was small my mother introduced me to the local library. When I was sick my mother would read to me. My favorite book, of course, was Little Women. I wanted to be just like Jo. When I was in middle school, my mother took me to a bookstore and let me pick out a book to read. It was a 1000 page book called House Divided by Ben Ames Williams. After that, I began to write as well as read.

Well, there you have it–my inheritance–a rich one, indeed.

Belinda Stevens is a Yazoo City native and a practicing criminal defense attorney. She has published two books, Just Out of Reach, a historical romance that takes place in the turbulent 1960's, and 50 Shades of Fur, a fun parody with a cast of canine characters. She is working on her next novel, a legal thriller. For more information, visit