If I could use one word to describe my time with Christine and Jean it would be warmth. These two light up the room with their similar smiles and contagious laughter. Our time together was full of both as we covered growing up, being part of the church, high spirited little ones, and graham crackers. They both told these wonderful stories of life for both of them and what they have learned and were thankful for from each other.
Jean grew up on a farm in an area filled with family and other black farmers who worked on inherited land in the Virginia Beach area. Jean's childhood was filled with hard work, and simplicity. Her mother exhibited to her resourcefullness, and perserveance while raising 6 children of her own. She took that example and poured it into her business with Mary Kay and raising 2 beautiful daughters of her own. She taught her daughters those same traits while also being an encourager and a loving example of a leader and teacher. Christine watched her mother grow in her business and how to balance it all. Her childhood was one of a lot of love and closeness. She said that friends would oftentimes say her family were like the real-life Huxtables.
During our time together I ask one question to each Iya and daughter. To the Iya I ask for one piece of advice about navigating the world as a black woman and to the daughter I ask if you could say anything as a thank you to your Iya what would it be. Both of their responses were perfectly telling.
Jean encouraged Christine to keep God at the focal point of life and to also make sure to keep watch on her circle of influence. They will dictate and shape where you end up, keep that circle filled with people who are wanting the best for life because it will influence you and your future.
Christine thanked her mother for teaching her that she can be exactly who she is as a Black Woman. That she was taught that no matter what she can be her unique and wonderful self while sidestepping all the expectations, pressures, and assumptions that surround being a Black Woman in this world. Jean describes her daughter as a level-10 woman. Someone that is confident, someone that can and will get things done. She is a Black Woman, period, she never has to pretend to be anything else because that is what she is.
Thank you so much Christine and Jean for spending time with me, and for sharing so much of your life and heart with all of us. Thank you for being your unique selves and filling the world with awesome examples of blackness and beauty.