An Open Letter: Happy Birthday Mama

Birthdays were always so special to my mom. She always made our birthdays an incredible event no matter what. And now that she’s an angel, I find comfort in the thought of her reading these letters and knowing her birthday still means so much to us as her children. Happy Birthday Mama.

These open letters for me, are not sad. They aren’t about conjuring up sympathy or feeling bad for myself. This is my way of sharing the light my mom brought into this world. They are my way of honoring her. I share them on this platform because I know they help someone else not feel alone. And honestly, I don’t give a crap what anyone else thinks about my choice to share these.

Grieve is truly one of the loneliest experiences. If you are struggling with grieve, you know it’s not easy to express your feelings. And most of the time you just don’t want to talk about it. When my therapist recommended writing a letter to my Mother every year, at first I thought it was silly. But after the first letter, I felt so empowered and so connected to her in more ways than one. So if you’re struggling, reach out for help and find some creative ways to connect with your lost loved ones. Something that works for you and brings you peace. This is just one of the things that works for me.

Hi Mama,

Wow it’s been a year. I’m sure you’re up there right now protecting us all and I am so grateful for that. You know I’m a germaphobe so, it’s been an interesting year to say the least. I just very politely tell people not to come next to me just like you taught us?. At least it’s “polite” in my head.

I’ve been braiding my hair a lot this year because of quarantine. It had been so long since I braided my hair. But it has really helped me feel a bit closer to you. I have to admit, we really didn’t like when you braided our hair on the weekends because you know, it meant We had to sit still for a few hours and it was a real struggle for us. But man do I wish I could sit at your feet right now while you braid my hair and tell me all the juicy neighborhood gossip.

But instead, I’ve been enjoying braiding my hair while watching the real housewives! I don’t think you would admit you enjoy the housewives but I know you would totally watch it with me and have a lot of opinions. I never really thought I would enjoy ratchet reality shows as much as I do. But I’ve come to accept it as a part of my journey. So I’m telling myself you would be proud of that.

Now I know the African Mama in you wants me to tell you about my future husband already. Yea, I don’t have any prospects right now, but you know I’ll let you know once it happens. As for now, I’m enjoying my sink and bed space.

Let’s catch up with your other kids:

Your other children on the other hand are married, with the kids, dog, white picket fence, the whole nine yards. Caroline had her second baby last month! Ricky and I were suppose to go and stay for a few weeks but you know, COVID and 2020 had other plans. But baby, mama and NJ are all doing well. Ellen Moore’s little girl Marjorie turned 2 years old on Sunday! I still can’t believe it. I have no idea how all the nieces and nephews are growing up so fast! It’s insane! Ellen looks more and more like you everyday and it still blows my mind. Every time I see her face over FaceTime or on social media I feel like I’m honestly looking at you.

As for Miracle, she’s in college now! Yea don’t even get me started on how grown up she is! It’s too scary. She’s so smart and creative though. You would be so proud of her. Now, your son Mr. William Ricardo is doing what he does best; Living his best life! He doesn’t let anything bother him. A quality I wish I had. He says Caroline and I still get on his nerves. But hey, I say it’s our job.

Grandma and Aunty Ora are in Liberia as you know. I miss them like crazy. But we video call and talk to them often which is great. But Caroline, Ricky, Miracle and I are planning a trip to LIB hopefully next year (if we can safely travel) to spend time with them. It’s going to be a wealth of emotions going back and I’ll definitely keep you in the loop.

Uncle Everett is of course still keeping me on my toes. We live 20 minutes away from eachother and he calls me about 5 times a day. At least it’s not 20 anymore so I guess that’s progress.

Due to the civil war in Liberia, most of our family photos were destroyed or are missing. My siblings and I have very few photos of my mom and our childhood. So I choose to only share a couple of the photos I have of her. I like to keep the others to myself. But isn’t she sexy?! So gorgeous. This photo was taken at church. She was very active in church and loved it. She made sure we grew up knowing we could make our own decisions about faith once we become adults. But while we were still living in her house, we were going to church every Sunday and choir practice every Saturday ?.


Now I know this isn’t a surprise to you, but I am still incredibly giddy about publishing my first cookbook a few weeks ago! I feel so grateful and blessed that I get to cook for a living. The kitchen, cooking and eating has always been a huge part of our family for generations. And to be doing this means the world to me.

I know you’re proud of me. I feel it. But feeling one of your hugs would be so incredibly nice right now. I don’t cry much anymore when I think of you everyday. I am doing more smiling than crying and I know you have helped me get to that point. I’m trying. It’s not always easy. But I am always going to keep celebrating you, your smile, your brain, your heart, your soul and your incredible kitchen skills.

I love you Mama. Happy Birthday

Love, Charlotte

Read past open letters to my Mother HERE.

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hHi Charlotte: I am doing a group 10 day detox and the woman running the program shared one of your recipes with the group which led me to your website. I’ve enjoyed reading and learning about you and in particular enjoyed reading your letter to your “mama”. My mother died this past April and although I didn’t have the same closeness you had with yours, she was still an impactful and important part of my life and I miss many things about her.
Thanks for sharing your stories and recipes. I look forward to trying some of them! Kind Regards, Jennifer in CT!

Thank you so much, Jennifer and I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so happy I’m able to be able to bring you comfort.