I grew up in a family that (in the beginning) didn’t have much. We were in the 60s, early 70s. We received what was needed, didn’t go hungry, but I didn’t get the “extra” things. I went to an all-black elementary school where I did very well. I then went to an all-white high school. Not saying they were smarter, but growing up in the south at that time the education system was not equal. My books went from used written in and missing pages to new and the pages were crisp. My classes went from packed to very few. The curriculum was broader with items designed for teaching in higher learning. I was shocked! My easy A’s now became difficult and the classes I took were high honors. I felt as if my back was against the ropes. My first report card had me with a C in math. I was always an A student, but I got for the first time in my life a C. My parents were good parents who worked hard. But during their time school was not allowed in their formative years. Growing up black in Alabama at the time, they were limited and in some cases forbidden to get a higher education. The University my son graduated from (University of Alabama), they were not allowed to attend. My mother never had to push me. I was wired to achieve, but it was easy. However, when I brought home the C, my mother was not happy. She was questioning me, why? Did I study enough, was I applying myself? I used every excuse and told her I was dropping the class for something easier. The math was too hard. As she was sitting at the table I was holding my Geometry textbook. Now my mother was not educated on my level and I feeling pressured, needing an excuse, did something that I regret even to this day. I disrespected her. I placed my book on the table in front of her and opened it. I said to her, “If you can solve one of these problems, I will make an A. She looked down at the book….. I then turned the book because it was upside down to her. I said, “If you can read the problem, I will make an A.” I stood there numb because I was in a place I had never been. Growing up in my time you did not challenge or disrespect your parents. As I waited for an answer, my mother said nothing. Did nothing. She would not lift her head. It wasn’t because she was trying to read the equations, but she was crying. She said nothing but kept her eyes down on the book. I took the book and went to my room expecting something to happen, but she never said a word about it. I went to school and told my teacher I was dropping her class because I could t keep up with the A students. It was too hard and I didn’t measure up with my “new” classmates. She said, “No, you are not dropping my class. I don’t care if you fail it, but you will not drop it.” I was angry and wondered why. I was left with no way out so I began to apply myself “more”. I studied more, questioned more, stayed after class more. At the end of the year, I finished with the highest grade in my class. I finished with an A+. It was at that moment I realized what I had done to my mother and then realized what she had sacrificed for me. She wasn’t educated in books, but she had a degree in life. And her degree allowed me to cross a bridge to a place she could not go. And she built that bridge on her back so I would have a better chance of achieving what she could not. She wanted to make sure I took advantage of things she was not allowed to have. Today, I am fortunate my mother is still alive and I use her wisdom to help me in life. No, she couldn’t read mathematical equations, but she has a degree in mathematics and physics. Being able to stretch a dollar and understanding how to get more out of her children. How to make them positively use their energy. She was fluent in languages. In speaking to teens and young adults. She has a Ph.D. in Parenting, Hardships, and Direction. She is a CPA, a Phycologist of life, a Pharmacist who could make a sick child well. A Theologian in how to live life spiritually. To this very day, it pierces my heart when I think of that day. I thought my mother cried because I embarrassed her. Now I realize those tears were not because I embarrassed her, those tears were tears of fatigue from building the bridge that carried me over. That same bridge I use today carried me over when I lost my kidneys. That bridge has rails I hang unto when I feel weary. It carries me over troubled waters. When the storms of life come even if I have no shelter, I can go under the bridge to keep dry and rest. There was a competition where artists were asked to paint a portrait showing peace. Some drew mountains with a cabin. A beautiful sunset and a boat on the water. The winner drew a stormy day with wind, rain, and lighting. In the bottom corner, there was a mother duck with her right-wing extended out. Underneath were her ducklings playing………….