The powerful impact of positive mother figures

Andrea Cowart (right) said the late Daisy B. Lawson added an additional level of mothering value to her life; for that, she is eternally grateful.

BY ANDREA N. COWART, Contributor

The St. Petersburg community has recently suffered the loss of a great woman of faith in that of Mother Daisy B. Lawson. While her impact, both locally and beyond, cannot be summarized in a brief article, I wanted to “say her name” during this season of celebrating mothers and honor her legacy.

For many, myself included, she did not represent a mother replacement but more of an addendum. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word addendum as a supplement; to clarify and add things that were not initially part of the original. She added an additional level of mothering value to my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Some mother figures add sistership, some add fun and spontaneity and others may add career guidance and mentorship, to name a few. In my case, some of the ways Mama Daisy added to my life were through spiritual insight and practical life anecdotes.

She had 10 additional years of life experiences, wisdom and mother-wit to that of my own mommy (shout-out to Bonnie D. Davis, aka Nana, aka Ms. Jenkins, I love you dearly).

One instance of this insight was her guidance in helping me find my own way during a pivotal season of life. After I kidnapped her for a trip to the beach, upon our return, she held my hands, looked me in the eyes and emphatically stated, “Nikki, don’t let people hold you hostage.” A word!

Mama Daisy was a rebel with a cause. She was, without a doubt, her own woman. She was her own woman who yielded respect with her formidable wisdom and cunning grace. Her own woman in that no matter who was at the table — bishops, local, state, or national title holders — she always understood the value in the wealth of knowledge she brought to those tables.

Even in her almost 60-year marriage to the love of her life, William Lawson, Sr., she was her own woman, for it was within this marriage that she was able to show up as her whole self, with her opinions, her leadership roles, her ministry travels, her love of shopping, flaws and everything else in between.

Papa Lawson took no issue with all of who she was and understood, supporting her, never diminishing who he was. And for all who knew her, she was a fashion rebel, rejecting full-priced anything.

She conveyed a runway-ready style on a consignment-level budget. Her life was a living example of how to walk in your own power and be who you are, who God created you to be, with no reservations and without clamoring for the approval of others.

Mama Daisy was not my biological mother, and certainly my level of grief cannot compare to that of her own children, whom she loved fiercely and wholeheartedly. Nevertheless, I am grateful to have found ways to hold space for my own disenfranchised grief, which is the experience that people have when their grief experience does not match societal expectations of loss.”

One such way is by recently volunteering with a local community cheerleading organization Dynamic Xplosion. Here, I will start to serve, see, and speak into the lives of dynamic young girls following Mama Daisy’s example.

She served her God and her church selflessly and faithfully. She saw me and other spiritual sons and daughters for who we were and could be. She spoke into my life and the life of others words of encouragement, comfort, and even words of chastisement with grace and unconditional love.

It is within this organization where I hope I can leave young girls with positive words and tools that impact their lives long after they age out of cheerleading and grow into educators, activists, politicians, professors, engineers, lawyers, wives, mothers, mother figures, etc.

I am truly grateful for the numerous phone calls where I conveyed how much I loved and appreciated her, giving flowers while she was still here. However, in memory of her on this Mother’s Day, as one of the plethora of ladies from all ages and stages of life, near and far, to whom she mothered and ministered, I want to publicly say, “Thank you.”

Thank you for all the seeds you sowed, the words of life you spoke, the gifts you gave, and the love of God you so graciously shed abroad. You are missed.

Andrea N. Cowart is a Lakewood Sr. High alum with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. She currently resides in Tallahassee with her two sons, Chase and Chandler.

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