• Tracey N. Bonner

"Are You Married Yet": A Tribute to My Grandmother

If you have been keeping up with DateYourselfGirl, since the early days, then you know both of my grandmothers have been an integral of my healing process. The wisdom that both of them have shared has been a valuable part of my road to healing. Unfortunately, in December my father's mother, affectionately known to us as "Mama Lillie", took a fall and broke her hip to which she would later succumb to her injuries. It was probably the most emotionally difficult time I'd had in a very long time because I immediately thought, “Where am I going to get my strength from now?” The gems my grandmothers share have helped me get through some very rough times in my life. Just when I’d feel like giving up, I could always count on them to bring me some much needed laughter, wisdom, and most importantly HOPE.

My most recent memories of Mama Lillie are of the times we spent talking about love and relationships. I would love to surprise her with a visit and every time I'd come around the corner and through the kitchen she'd be sitting right there in her chair to greet me. The look of surprise and adoration would always make me feel good because she was older, 99 years old to be exact, and her memory wasn't as strong as it once was. After we'd greet I'd sit down and she'd immediately ask, "Now, it's none of my business but are you married yet?"! That would instantly start a friendly debate of us going back and forth about the difference in the times. See, by the time my grandmother was my age she was having her 10th child and first grandchild. She came from an era where marriage was looked at as a way of life. Being a helpmate was an important part of building a family legacy. She was a homemaker & teacher’s aide while my grandfather worked as a cook on the trains. They had very little. As a matter of fact they raised 10 children in a one bedroom, one bathroom home. They managed to make ends meet all while figuring out how to maintain their love for one another. Back then marriage was revered as something sacred and no matter what the circumstance families worked hard at remaining intact.

Fast forward 80 years later, there is a noticeable shift in the family dynamic. Relationships aren’t as easy to come by and even harder to maintain. So many women my age are meeting and marrying their mate later in life. Even becoming a parent at an older age is becoming a “thing”. I believe the institution of marriage isn’t revered so highly anymore. Marriage is looked at as too much hard work with little to no return. There’s way too much energy placed on money, material things, and status as opposed to a person’s character, faithfulness, and ability to love. There’s no real vetting process when it comes to dating either. It’s jump in bed first then ask questions as you go. I call it loving in reverse or lusting in reverse. I had even given up on the idea of love. I began to think that maybe I’m not deserving enough to be someone’s wife and that having an occasional lover would be all that’s in store for me. But having those conversations with Mama Lillie would really give me the boost I needed to endure this crazy dating scene. Her words of wisdom and humor would restore my hope and would reactivate my faith in love. She would just have to remind me to be patient, prayerful, and to continue to live life to the fullest. And that is exactly what I plan on doing. Her passing has been a tough one for our family but I’m so glad I was able to capture so many moments on camera because it’s like I still have a piece of her with me. And for that, I am grateful.

So ladies, remember the wisdom of your elders. When you feel like giving up just remember what our ancestors taught us. They taught us to be patient, kind, and loving. They taught us to be resilient, tough, and wise. They have prepared us to be good women so let’s not get bogged down by all the rejection and frustration that dating in 2019 can bring. Let’s remember that we are stronger than we realize and that our ancestors will always have our backs. So, in the mean time in between time remember to DateYourselfGirl!

#areyoumarriedyet #love #relationships #single #mamalillie #grandmothers

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