Taking a page from my friend over at With these hands, I wanted to express my love, affection and thanksgiving for my sweet Mama (Tutu Nani). It is her birthday and today, she is 56 years young. She was born and raised in Hawaii and moved at the age of 10 to Texas with her Dad, Mom and 4 brothers. Tutu Nani is the 4th and only daughter of 5 children. She met and married my Dad (Papa) in 3 months back in 1972 and 9 months later, gave birth to my twin sisters (Aunt Apple and Aunt Berry). Three years later by the hand of God, she gave birth to me. The Good Lord had a plan for all of us and I am so glad he did.
Tutu Nani and Papa were like most families, even today, struggling in the beginning to make it work. In her desire to be a stay at home mom, she began watching babies and kids in our home during the day. When she started, we had up to 20 kids in our home. This obviously was before she was licensed. Several years went by and she became licensed and began her true journey as an in-home care provider. Many of the kids that were apart of the day care, truly became part of our family. She began training other in-home providers and eventually began a non-profit organization to help support in-home providers. After 19 years in the business, and once I had officially left home, she closed her day care and began training full-time. She wrote a grant and received federal funding for the support of in-home providers and their continuing education. The grant is currently funded at over a quarter million dollars and has began its 11th successful year. She travels all over the State of Tennessee and has a presence in all 95 counties. She works extremely hard and has been recognized with prestigious honors from all over the country. She is asked to be involved as keynote speakers for many conferences and has even traveled to fight for children on Capital Hill in Washington DC. She is a rock, she is a defender, she is MY MAMA!!!
In the midst of building a successful career, she never took her first priority of raising us three girls lightly. She was very much an overprotective mom. She wielded a heavy hand if she needed but also has the softest touch and lightest kiss. I'm so very thankful that the Lord picked her to be my Mom and I know that because of my upbringing, I'm the best Mom that I can be to the Brownies. I thank God everyday for her and I am thankful for every minute I get to spend with her. So, on this Thursday, November 12, 2009, I am thankful for her, I am proud of her, I love her!!!