As told by Tamara Groeneveldt
There are so many names that she is affectionately known by because of her somewhat unorthodox name, Antonine. Many know her as Anto, but I often call her the nickname versions of her name that people often give to her. Some call her Tony, Anton, Doña and Antonina (just to name a few). However, as long as she responds when I call her Mommy, I’m happy. Her name means beyond price or invaluable, which is very fitting to my generous, kindhearted yet very stern and frank mother.
Charismatic. My mother is quite a character and has quite the personality. She is charming with just the right amount of crazy. I love her nonetheless and wouldn't trade her for the world.
Her language depends on who she was angry with. My mom speaks fluent English, French and Spanish. Therefore, she would let you know how angry she is in the language that you are fluent in so that you understand exactly how angry she is.
My mom was extremely proud of me each and every time I graduated with honors from every level of education that I was matriculated in and I was happy to see the happiness and pride on her face.
I admire her generous and helpful nature most of all. Other characteristics that I admire are her intellect of St. Martin’s culture (including her knowledge of food, tradition and different plants), her sense of humor and her determined spirit. However, a characteristic that I admire but makes me nervous at the same time is my mother’s frankness because it makes her very unpredictable. She doesn't keep her thoughts or feelings to herself and will let you know exactly what’s on her mind.
I am like my mother when it comes to the kitchen as my mother is a very good cook. However, I am dedicating this summer to learning some of the traditional dishes that she cooks that I have never tried to make as my cooking style doesn’t have a particular base. However, I feel that if I’m from St. Martin, I should at least master my traditional island food. I’m also like my mom when it comes to her descriptive story-telling skills and being generous.
My mother was a working mother for many years for as long as I knew her. However, she is now retired. When my mother had a job it, benefited me because she provided an example of what it means to work for what you want. Although I tried not to call on my parents too often, if I needed additional help while in college, my parents tried to help me to the best of their ability.
Although she is officially retired, she still works very hard (by caring for her grandkids, the sick, taking her friends and the elderly grocery shopping, and taking care of the home amongst many other things). My mother is the true definition of a busy bee. Being raised in a household by an outstanding woman, has encouraged me to aspire to be just as outstanding in everything that I do.
She has contributed to the St. Martin community with her giving nature. My mother is a true gatherer whereby she loves picking and sharing fruit. Whatever fruits are in season (whether its sea grapes, mangoes, gennips, cherries, hog plums, pomme surettes, almonds etc.), she knows exactly where to find the tree and often gathers and distributes it amongst family, friends, and even strangers.
Not only is she a gatherer, but I must reiterate that my mother is a boss in the kitchen (both cooking and baking). She often shares johnny cakes, puddings, tarts and other treats with others. In addition, if she has a sick neighbor or family member, she would send porridge or soup for them.
Her inspiration is her mother, (who is now deceased) who also had a similar busy bee, kitchen boss, gatherer, family-oriented and generous spirit. My grandmother was well known for her almond sugar cakes as my mother is well-known for her coconut tarts.
The time I needed my mother most was for my grad-school graduation ceremony. At one point in time, she was second guessing whether she should attend, and of course as her last child I would have been very saddened if she didn’t come to all of my graduations. There is no other feeling in the world to see your mother congratulating you after all of your hard work and dedication. I recall that while in college, she would call me every weekend, and send tarts or pudding with anyone that she could find to do so.
A lesson that she has taught me (I will never forget) not to nag her or else I’ll get hit with a frying pan on my shoulder ;). However, on a more serious note, she taught me how to strive to achieve my goals despite the various struggles that I may face. She ensured that her four children received a college education regardless of the challenges that she faced. She even deprived herself of certain things to ensure that her dream of well-educated children was fulfilled. In the long run, I have learned, that once I put my mind to something, it is definitely achievable.
I would want my mother to know that I am appreciative for everything that she has done, and everything that she continues to do. Although she thinks that I’m crazy with some of my many endeavors, I know that at the end of the day she is often proud of me.
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Hello, I'm Rochelle, curator of saltfish & Lace, a St.Martin lifestyle blog that oozes with the sticky sweet love for the written and spoken word, natural Caribbean living and of course, natural hair.