Maya's mom appears atypical - but at the heart of it all, she was simply a woman trying to do the best with what she was entrusted. Early on when Maya and her brother were 3 and 5 respectively, her mother sent them to her mother to be raised, because she did not know what she was doing. When they were about 13 and 15 they were sent back up north in California to reunite with their mother. I did not know that Maya Angelou's foundation was in Northern California.
Maya was very upfront with mother for being abandoned and her mother accepted it; she apologized. That was the start of the rich display of a mother's love. Her mother supported her in any endeavor she attempted. When she became a mother at 15, her mother was very practical about the whole thing - "Do you love him? No; no use in ruining three lives then." To her mother, this was a slight inconvenience, not an opportunity for scandal.
Maya Angelou has a beautiful economy of words; her sentences are short and to the point, but joined together they tell a rich story. Maya's mom was a dynamo, and with Maya back in her life she remained a dynamo. Her mom, Vivian Baxter was admired by most of San Francisco's black community. If it had not been for her mother's love and total acceptance and respect on both sides, we may have never heard of Maya Angelou. Her mother told her, you are one of the greatest women I have ever met, and that was not an empty sentiment.
"Baby, I've been thinking and now I'm sure, you are the greatest woman I've ever met. You are very kind and very intelligent and those elements are not always found together. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune and my mother - yes you belong in that category. Here give me a kiss." That is just a powerful statement.
There are many other examples in the book of the mother daughter dance to total acceptance and love for each other.
This book was written to examine some of the ways love heals and helps a person to climb impossible heights and rise from immeasurable depths. I hope I can inspire my children as Maya Angelou's mom did.