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Just Saying

Embracing Love: A Mother-Daughter Blueprint

By February 20, 2024No Comments

By Tracy Chiles McGhee

From mundane moments to life’s greatest milestones, my affirmations for my daughter, Sasha, are an enduring prayer for her well-being. The thoughts and words are illuminated by our unbreakable bond of self-love, shared and wellness.

For any Black woman who is a mother or daughter, I’m hoping you find resonance in my shared journey of unconditional love. Here’s a Valentine’s gift that will keep giving after February – my blueprint for navigating your life-long passages together.

Speaking of Love. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made it a habit to tell Sasha that I love her in a sing-song chant, regardless of where we are or what we’re doing – “I love my Sasha…I love my Sasha.” Even when she’s not physically near, I find myself verbalizing this love song, hoping that wherever she may be, she feels the warmth of my unconditional affection in her spirit. Here I tap into the scientifically-verification that repetitive messages powerfully seep into our unconscious mind.

Acting on Love. Backing up words with action is essential. I vividly recall a moment from Sasha’s childhood when she handed me a list of her needs with remarkable clarity and respect. The requests included: “Be a little bit more nice; Spend more quality time together; Try to listen to what I want for my room; and Be a good listener please.”

Sasha’s list was my wake-up call to be more attentive and responsive to her emotional needs, leading me to adopt a gentler demeanor and prioritize quality time together. Being a single mom and newly stressed-out Legal Aid lawyer with a heavy caseload was no excuse to deny my then 9-year-old little girl a fully-present Mommy.

Loving Yourself Through Self-Care. In a candid exchange, Sasha, now 26, assured me that she feels deeply loved, particularly by me, contributing to her strong sense of self-love. Her daily self-care rituals include affirmations, morning meditation, exercise, reading, and setting healthy boundaries with others. Our conversation revealed how our relationship fosters love between us but also encourages our individual wellness and self-care.

Supporting Dreams. From encouraging Sasha’s interests in technology as a teenager to exposing her to various experiences without pressure, I’ve supported her dreams and fostered her personal growth. While I was never a helicopter mom, I was an invested Momager acting as a springboard for sound business advice and encouragement as her dreams manifested.

Striking this balance helped empower her to pursue her passions fearlessly on her own terms. For Sasha, this has led to remarkable educational and career achievements, inspiring her social justice initiatives that empower young women and girls.

Staying Connected. Despite living busy lives in different states, Sasha and I make a concerted effort to stay connected through daily phone calls, texting, and sharing humorous moments/stories. And when we get together, whether it’s trying new restaurants, binge-watching provocative films, taking brisk walks, or plotting our next adventure, our bond remains unwavering. It is strengthened by open and consistent communication.

Respecting Boundaries. This has also been crucial in maintaining a healthy relationship. Sasha’s understanding of my need as an introvert for solitude and recovery time speaks volumes about her consideration and respect for my well-being. And my awareness of when I am getting on her nerves by picking up mostly subtle cues is a must for me. I know when to back off.

Grounded Positivity. Sasha now works for a global company and is also author of the best-selling children’s book, Sasha Savvy Loves to Code. We grabbed some quality time during her recent visit to Washington (in town to make a presentation to children at a local hospital). After hours on my couch, snacking and watching movies, it was time for her to head back home. Our farewell ritual – a super short hug and ungushy “goodbye”—reminded me of the unbreakable threads that binds us. We give more weight to “hellos” than “good-byes”. We remain grounded, rooted in love and positive outlooks.

Although my daughter and I have encountered and overcome many challenges, it’s never been a lonely journey. Whatever life’s uncertainties, we’ll face them together with the inner strength, spirituality and the support of our loved ones and dear friends.

Tracy Chiles McGhee is the author of the acclaimed novel Melting the Blues and Constituency Engagement advisor for Unerased | Black Women Speak.