Santana Wood mother's day

Santana Wood, left, and mother Traci Youngblood Davis.

“To complain, there was no need. She’d smile, in Mommy’s understandin’ way.” 

— Loretta Lynn, “Coalminer’s Daughter” 

That line sums up my mama to a T. 

Have you ever heard your mother complain? Most of them rarely do so, and for that they deserve all the credit in the world.

Santana Wood family

Pictured are, from left, Andi Wood, Traci Youngblood Davis, Santana Wood and Cory Wood.

Mothers have a way of making you feel like everything is going to be all right even when it isn’t. They know exactly how to comfort you and can say just the right thing to ease your mind. They could be going through the worst time of their lives and still put your needs above theirs. 

Personally, my mama has gone to the ends of the earth for me and if you asked her, I know she’d tell you she’d do it again a million times over. 

When I was little, Mama took us to Babyland General Hospital. Ever heard of it? It’s a “hospital” in Georgia where Cabbage Patch Kids are born. There’s a little nursery and you get to go through a whole “adoption” process; it’s really stinking cute. 

For whatever reason, once we were there I told Mama I didn’t want one. I was probably nervous or embarrassed about it, again, for whatever reason. Because secretly inside, I desperately wanted to go home with a “baby.” My sister, Andi, got a doll, who is still lovingly called Maddi-Woo to this day, and I didn’t. We were who knows how many miles down the road on our way home when I burst into tears. I wanted one. 

Mama couldn’t have whipped the car around any faster. 

We finally got back to the hospital and I got my doll. I named her Lissy and I was so proud to have her. The memory is still so special to me.

Not every parent would turn around and go back, but mine did. She has always managed to get me the things I want. She didn’t raise me to be spoiled, although she did get me a lot of the things I wanted. However, she taught me to be thankful, humble and appreciative of every little thing. 

When I was getting ready to turn 16, Mama had prepared me for months on the fact I wouldn’t be getting a car.

“We just can’t afford it, baby,” she said.

I believed her, through and through. I had come to terms with it. It didn’t matter much to me. 

On my 16th birthday, I was unwrapping my presents and opened a bumper sticker. 

OK, wait, what? 

It felt like a joke for a second. Is she really rubbing in my face I’m not getting a car? What am I supposed to do with this, put it on my school notebook?

Then she handed me a key.

Screams followed. Lots of them. 

Parked out front was a red, two-door 2000 Honda Accord. I named her Loretta. 

To this day, I don’t know how she did it. We really didn’t have the money. But Mama always found a way. 

Loretta wasn’t the fanciest and she only ran a couple of years before she died, but every time I drove her I beamed with happiness because of Mama. She made it happen, like always. 

I do not come from a family with money. We didn’t have much growing up, but Mama made us feel like we had the world. She made sure I had all the latest in-style clothes just like everybody else at school, and even though they came from a yard sale or consignment shop, I didn’t know any different. She didn’t want me to go without, and I never did. She always managed to find a way to get us whatever we needed. 

She always had everything under control, and she still does to this day. 

She’s taught me everything I know and is still teaching me. I still text her and ask her what temperature to preheat the oven to when I’m cooking something, and I can’t hardly do anything without needing her opinion. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without her. She raised me well and taught me to be my own person and to be a strong, independent, intuitive, curious, kind person. I got it all from her.

My mama comes from a long line of amazing women, and to me that’s what Mother’s Day is about — empowering important women around you. Not everyone has a mother, others have mothers who have passed away and others just don’t have a good relationship with their mothers. But I’d like to think there’s at least one person in everyone’s life who serves as a mother figure, whether it’s a single dad who plays both roles for someone or a woman who is your friend, teacher and mentor. That’s what mothers are. 

Whoever you’d like to honor today, give them a big hug and let them know how much you appreciate them. Mothers are special people and deserve a lot of recognition. 


Santana Wood is the assistant managing editor of The Outlook.