Alethia Ramsey is a qualifying broker at a realty agency in Dothan. She has three children: Hartley Ramsey II (41) married to Ariel Ramsey; Precious Freeman (36) married to Biko Freeman; and Raymond Ramsey (35). She has 12 grandchildren: Tyrell (20), Ken’ajia (20), Harmoni (19), Lillien (15), Je’more (15), London (11), Leah (11), Virtue (9), Titus (9), Etta (6), Harley (10 mos), and Joy (6 mos).
WP: Your children are grown now, but do you think you ever really stop mothering?
AR: My mother would always tell me that I will never stop mothering. I didn’t understand that until I realized I was doing the same, so NO, you never stop. If you feel like you have messed up as a mother, there is still something in you that wants to keep trying.
WP: How is being a grandmother different from being a mom?
AR: I find I try to make up for some of the mistakes I’ve made as a mother through my grandchildren. Where I wouldn’t allow certain things, I now allow them. Ice-cream for no reason, candy when I know I shouldn’t. The biggest thing is that I allow my grandchildren to ask questions, which I did not often allow my children to do. I still do not allow talking back or calling adults by their first names.
WP: Your daughter, Precious, describes you as being a mom to everyone. Do you often find yourself encouraging, guiding or helping others through difficult situations?
AR: Yes, I try to encourage everyone that I meet. After pastoring for many years and meeting so many women, I’ve had the opportunity to listen and instruct women of different backgrounds. My wisdom comes from the Lord, my own mistakes, and my successes, too. I also glean wisdom from my awesome mother, Lillie Shelton, and the many senior ladies I have loved and served throughout my life.
WP: The past few months have been rough on everyone. How do you stay motivated?
I get tired and discouraged, too, but I have friends with whom I can call to vent and laugh. Having a few strong friendships is very important. Not everyone knows how to handle something as tender as your heart.
WP: A lot of people say that today’s generation cannot raise their children the way their parents raised them because that world no longer exists. What are some of the things you taught your kids that you think today’s parents should still be teaching?
AR: I came from a single-parent home of 8 children. It was a tight ship for a long time. I firmly believe you should always teach your children to have respect for others. Precious had a teacher tell her that she didn’t have to say “Yes Ma’am” in her class. I sent a note asking her teacher not to undo what we have been teaching her at home because we believe it is respectful. When we were young and did not say “yes ma’am/sir” or if we inserted ourselves into adult conversations, first there was the stare (all parties), then there was the “wait until we get home.” It was understood; we just knew what was to come. I believe that learning to treat adults with respect made me a better person.
WP: What’s something you hope your children and grandchildren are learning from you, even if it’s not a direct lesson?
AR: No matter what happens in life, you can still keep going.
WP: What’s something you’ve learned from your children or grandchildren?
AR: The WordPerfect world is gone. Many don’t even remember what that is. But things have changed, and I would be left behind if they weren’t there to help me with the constant changes in technology. So I learn new things about technology from my children and grandchildren every day.
WP: This has been a difficult year. With Thanksgiving coming up, we like to celebrate the things we are thankful for. This year, what are you most thankful for and why?
AR: I am grateful for my health and the health and safety of my family.
WP: Speaking of Thanksgiving, does your family have any traditions?
AR: When the children were younger, Christmas was our family’s favorite time of year, and we try to keep it going. We start our Christmas traditions well before Thanksgiving, starting with Hallmark Movies. My children have started their own traditions for Thanksgiving, which is how I believe it should be. My birthday this year is Thanksgiving Day, which I plan to spend with my mother in Indiana.
WP: If you could give your daughter one piece of advice, what would it be?
AR: Keep doing what you’re doing; it’s working.
WP: Any words of wisdom for new moms?
AR: Connect with moms that share your same value system and listen to the older women; we probably have made more mistakes than the highest number you can count.