This month, I’ve featured mothers on the blog, to acknowledge the impact they have made. But today, I want to make sure to acknowledge the MEN who mother us, as well.

Generally, women are considered natural “mothers,” thereby “nurturers.” In fact, a number of us have been nurtured by fathers, brothers, pastors, and uncles.

The man who has “mothered” me the most in my life is my Uncle Jesse.

Uncle Jesse was the resident “father” of our entire neighborhood.

He was actually the one who took me in after Momma had hurt me and I ran away. (This was before Nanna was in my life.) Uncle Jesse talked with Momma and convinced her to let me stay with him.

I asked him once why he helped me. Uncle Jesse said, “Venus, I can see you in a few years having your own apartment and car. I believe in you, kid.”

Uncle Jesse is ALWAYS there to listen, offer a kind word, and make things better.

Oh, and he cooks better than most women! #holla!

In 2005, I had a bad breakup. It was my first serious relationship with a woman, and I was in what I call “stupid” love. (You know the love your momma told you NOT to mess with? That one!) Well, it turned out she was a functioning alcoholic and tipped out on me.

She also maxed out ALL of my credit cards, emptied all my accounts, didn’t pay the mortgage for months, and was so far behind on the car payments that it was about to be repossessed. Even worse, by the time I took my head out of the sand, she had left me for another woman.

I was on the floor for six months.

Somehow, I got up the courage to call Uncle Jesse. And I was so embraced.

There I was, about to lose my house—the first house anyone in my bloodline has ever owned —money gone to the point I have to roll pennies for gas.

But I called anyway because I knew Uncle Jesse wouldn’t judge me. I needed someone to tell me I wasn’t a bad person … that I wasn’t stupid for having loved so hard … so blindly.

I called Uncle Jesse and told him what happened.

He listened and loved on me.

He then said, “It sounds like you are going through a rough patch. I am going to send you $500 dollars to tie you over until you can get some things together. You will get through this, Punchy. I know you will. I believe in you.”

I cried. I was speechless. Here I was with a Ph.D. from Stanford without money to buy gas, or food, or anything, and here was my uncle who didn’t finish grade school who had fought the devil that came in brown paper bags (and lost more often than he won) sending ME money???

Yes. That’s exactly what was happening. #humbled

When I received the $500 dollars—five crisp $100 dollar bills—I left them in the envelope and put it in the top of my closet. I didn’t spend it. Whenever I would get scared or feel bad, I would go to that closet and look at the five $100 bills, and I would remember that Uncle Jesse loved and believed in me.

Then I would go and do something to get my life back.

I started gigging – teaching and performing at youth centers and summer camps to bring in money.

I created my first business, “Creation Consulting Practice,” and started to find private coaching clients to help them create their response instead of reacting to life’s challenges.

I went home to see my family—my blood family—at Uncle Jesse’s request. Everyone was kind to me (even Momma ☺).

Uncle Jesse guided me.

He protected me when I was a teen.

He nurtured me when I was at the lowest point in my adult life.

And he has ALWAYS believed in me.

That $500 dollars he gave me taught me how to save.

His words got me back up in the game and creative about how to bring in money.

He loved me and saw who I would be DECADES before I could. And he still supports me to this day, allowing me to interview him for my upcoming documentary.

So I honor you, Uncle Jesse. Thank you for being my mom—all of our moms—when our real mothers couldn’t.

What men do you wish to honor for mothering you?

Share below so we can bear witness.

With all the love my heart can hold…

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