"Why I LOVE YOU" continues the blog series is entitled: “The Point of it All”. Every morning Exavier Pope broadcasts a series of messages on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. This blog series is why the messages are sent and the deeper meanings behind them. Other blogs in the series appear here. Please allow it to uplift, inspire, and bless you. Thanks for reading.
The "Math Down"
It was sudden death. The next correct answer would determine which 6th grader moved to the final round in the Chicago’s regional Math Down.
An equation flashed on the projector screen for the two of us to answer in the silent, small, dark, dank, tan colored Chicago Southeast side elementary school auditorium. The tall, blond haired girl which was my opponent buzzed in ahead of me and answered “6/15”. A seemingly endless pause ensued.
My stomach sank to my feet.
I lost…so I thought.
“Your answer is incorrect,” stated the quiz moderator.
I looked down at my scratch sheet and I had “6/15” written as an answer to the problem. I did not have time to follow directions to “simplify” the fraction in my answer. I took my time to work the problem out again, simplified my fraction to “2/5,” circled the answer, buzzed in, and answered calmly.
“You answer is correct, and you move on to the final round!” responded the quiz moderator.
Quickly I scampered down from the auditorium stage. I was upset that I left myself vulnerable to lose. I looked up and my tension was eased by the smile of a tiny, caramel skinned, athletic old lady with miniature moles on her face like freckles in an orange plaid pants suit.
The little old lady put her arm around me, brimming with pride.
“He’s special isn’t he?” she proudly boasted, directing the proud utterance at anyone within shouting distance.
Every superlative known to man she began to speak to me. With every boast and encouragement, I felt a foot taller.
Who is that Lady?
The little old lady boasting and encouraging me was Emmy Lily Mitchell, my foster mother. My foster mother reared me from 6 weeks old until her death of a second heart attack at when I was 14 years old, absent a short 2 year stint with my biological mother. My foster mom raised countless children, counseled families, and fed and clothed many children in my neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago.
My foster mother taught me many lessons. The most important lesson she taught me was about love. She fed me, clothed me, nursed me when I was sick, and was present at every major event, even though she did not share an ounce of blood with me.
What You Crave
There is no better example of what her love meant and continues to mean to me than the “Math Down” story.
The announcer of the final round called the 8 middle school children up to the stage to a round of approving applause from our parents, school officials of our relative schools, and other observers.
I sat down in my seat - excited, thrilled, unsure, and afraid. Our backs turned to the audience, I thought about my near defeat in the previous round, and looked at the empty projector board with anticipation.
Something was missing.
I turned around in the audience to locate my foster mother. Her face shone with proud love and acceptance. Her face had a “knowing” to it, as if she was poising herself to witness success.
I turned back to the screen, feeling injected with high octane fuel.
The round started.
The first question I answered correct. My foster mother yelped from the audience.
The next question I answered correct. My foster mother yelped even louder.
The third question I answered correct. My foster mother still yelped louder, this time exclaiming being proud of her son and other superlatives which probably embarrassed my principal sitting next to her and other parents. Her yelps were not in a taunting, vulgar way, but in a “can’t control excitement” way, like how proud family members get when they exclaim at graduations even though they are instructed not to.
With each cheer I felt bigger, stronger, smarter, and more confident. By the seventh consecutive question, I felt invincible. I was determined not only to dominate the other children, but not even let one of them buzz in to answer a question.
It was the first sweep of the finals in the region’s history. At one point some of the other kids stopped buzzing in and put them away completely.
After my victory my foster mom took me to White Castle for celebratory sliders.
The Point of It All
Any time I am down or faced with incredible odds, I think back to the feeling in that dark Southeast Chicago school gymnasium. I think of how proud “mama” would be of me right now. Being part of the less than 1.8% of former foster youth who attain a four year college diploma (I actually have 2). Or being in such a small number of those who attain a law degree the number is not measured. The group could literally fit at my kitchen table. Lastly, being the only one who uniquely does what I do. She loved me and cheered me to this place, even from the grave.
And she never gave birth to me. She wasn’t paying back a favor. She didn’t have to do any of it. She loved me just because.
I was taught a unique love called agape, a love for our fellow man no matter their race, nationality, creed, color, sexual orientation, disability, or personality.
I have carried that philosophy of love into my own life. Every morning I wake up and send a message to all of my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connection telling them all “I LOVE YOU”. I also share this message to my family upon waking.
I have no problem being open to share my love to everyone, because I have been inspired by a love that has caused me to achieve the impossible, do the unthinkable, and live the remarkable. The love I have was given to me by someone who wasn’t related to me and didn’t owe me anything. They just wanted to love me.
Now that you know why I love you, you are fully empowered to do anything with this love. This love comes from me but it doesn’t start with me. It is flowing inside of you.
I pray for you to achieve the impossible in your life. What is that dream you have pushed to the side? What is the relationship you have always wanted to have? Where is that place you have always wanted to go? I LOVE YOU. You can and will do it.
I pray for you to do the unthinkable in your life. What obstacles do you face to reach your dreams? Are you “undereducated? Do you have no connections? Are you lacking money? I LOVE YOU. You can and will do it.
I pray for you to live the remarkable in your life. What do you want your life to look like? What kind of house do you want to live in? Who do you want to help? I LOVE YOU. You can and will do it.
I shout and jump for joy for all of the remarkable victories and accomplishments each of you will attain. I celebrate you now, just like my foster mother did on that joyous day.
I LOVE YOU.
Exavier B. Pope, Esq. is an entertainment and sports attorney, media personality, syndicated writer, Fortune 500 speaker and peak performance strategist, author, philanthropist, and sports business and law blogger for ChicagoNow. All opinions expressed are those solely of Mr. Pope.
(c) 2012, Exavier Pope
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Other Blogs in "Point of It All" Series
Why Say "Good Morning"?
- "Who LOVES ya baby!"