THE POWERHOUSE MOM BEHIND IT ALL: DONNA HESTER

raise their kids

What was life like growing up for you? What kind of family did you grow up in?

Life was simple compared to today. We loved to fish, play horseshoes and volleyball. Every Sunday was church and a big family meal with all the kin around. My mother was strict and we had a 12am curfew. We would try to sneak out and got caught most of the time. And the times we would try to sneak back in house, we would be met with a belt in the dark. ( I laugh now at it all)

Were you a dreamer growing up? What kind of dreams did you have?

I was definitely a dreamer. As a young girl I dreamed of being a drummer like Sheila E and my mom purchased drums for me. I wanted to be a scientist, so my mom bought me a science lab kit. I wanted to be a cowgirl and she got me a cowgirl vest and skirt with a holster. Then I thought I would be the secretary of the president of United States. (too young to understand, that didn’t mean just typing for the president) but my mom got me a typewriter anyhow. As I got older and exiting high school, I wanted to be a lawyer or psychiatrist because I wanted to help people. Now I want to help the elderly. I was doing that through my church.

What type of legacy do you wish to leave?

I would love to leave the legacy that can benefit generations after generations. I want to help my children that when it comes to their own children, they will have no problems helping them to believe in their dreams. I want the elderly to know, we count and we are alive. Life doesn’t stop at a certain age. I would love to be able to leave homes for the homeless. A place for moms to raise their kids.

I would also like to leave the legacy of being a caring and supportive GRANDMOTHER (did you hear that Jasmine)?

What is the one dream for yourself you most look forward to having come true?

I want to start a small home village where moms can raise their kids and not be concerned about living on the streets. I want to start an elder care, and elder means (experienced, trailblazers) not old. Somehow people think once you get old, you are to sit there and just exist. Not living your life but just existing. I want (experienced) all types of the elderly to join the club and let’s live. You have lived so long giving and caring for others, let’s take a part of the time left for ourselves. Let’s not stay indoors, let’s go to parks, zoo’s, casino’s, cruises and have our party like a rock star night. Let’s do whatever activity we want as a group.

How long have you been married? What’s the secret to a happy marriage?

As of April 30th, I will have been married to my beloved for 36 yrs. I don’t know the secrets to a happy marriage, if I did, I would be rich. I trust that God put us together. We fight fair, we argue about things at that moment not allowing either of us to go back and argue about things of the past. Things that we said we had forgiven the other for. We don’t allow friends or family, or kids into our marriage or arguments. Only God is invited into our marriage. We agree to disagree. We talked a lot about our beliefs, ie: sex, politics, religion, rearing children, discipline, marriage, family size, abortion, finances before we got married. My husband will lead and I will follow, however, when there is something that I am more knowledgeable in, he will fall back and let me take the lead. That’s a leader to me, knowing when to allow someone to step in to do something they are more knowledgeable in.

Why do you think that most relationships fail today?

People go in thinking it’s going to be a happily ever after, and it very well could be if you are willing to see that happily ever after is not like the fairy tale. It takes time, commitment, listening and hearing the needs of the other. Each bringing their values and short coming to the table. If the foundation is shaky any storm can destroy your home. God is our cornerstone, but it has taken years to build a solid foundation. We are just in the stage, 36 years later that we can start building on the bedrooms and kitchen to this foundation. Your house should never be completed, you should always be adding on, sometimes remodeling. If the foundation is solid, sometimes you can tear down and rebuild.

The reason marriages fail today is because people are looking for a Turnkey relationship, everything is already there and you didn’t have to do anything but move in. You didn’t have to work at anything to build the home. Marriages fail because one party came to the relationship with a lot of baggage. Baggage you weren’t built or meant to carry. So you fell under the weight and pressure of it all because you didn’t realize that the other person’s baggage is their baggage. You are there to help them unpack and not carry the weight alone. Therefore, the only way you feel that you can escape the weight and burden of it all is to divorce. I understand that at any moment my husband could come and say he wants a divorce. We have invited God to live in our marriage, so if my husband ever wants a divorce, only God can draw up the divorce papers for me to sign, because God is my lawyer and judge in the courtroom. And if God didn’t draw up the papers, I’m not signing nothing. Lol

Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

Ms. Isabel ( my childhood neighbor) was the closest thing I had to a grandmother. I always wanted a grandma and was very envious of kids that had them. She knew that I was the kind of person that gave deep thought to a lot of things. She knew my heart bled for people and things bothered me differently. She would teach me how to garden, grow plants and flowers to get my mind off things. Push me to read and allow my imagination to grow.

My mother, because she is the strongest person I know. I didn’t always see it like that, but with growth and maturity, I recognize her strength. My mother has 6 children and I would often ask her questions, why, why, and why. After many deep and sometimes hurtful conversations, she would always let me know that she never worried about me, because with my mind and my stance on life, she knew I would make it. I wouldn’t be controlled by a man as she was or money. My mother is gone now, but before she left this world she let me know that I was her most wonderful child. I am so proud, so humble to be Rebecca’s daughter.

My husband because he has sacrificed so much to keep us together, protected us, provided for us. He is my covering as God covers him. He will pray for me and love me even when I am unlovable. Even when he doesn’t know what to say or how to help me. He just holds me, not pretending to have all the answers. He makes me laugh because he will tell me that he talked and told God about how I was behaving that day. If I disagree with him and my kids, he tells the kids, “moms okay, you know she just processes things differently,” I get a good laugh out of that statement.

My pastor Rev. Jones because he sincerely cared about the state of my soul. He held me accountable. He would genuinely tell me right from wrong.

How do you advise your daughter to maintain herself in territory in a competitive and unscrupulous industry?

Jasmine was raised in the church with JESUS as our foundation. She knows that pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. It has taken her this long because she wouldn’t compromise her morals or body, even if it was something that she wanted so badly. We were so proud of her for that and honored that she could talk to us about it. We taught her that what God has for her is for her and no one can take that away from her and to rely on God’s timing. Sometimes it would be hard when she would see the people who started off with her gain success and take off. When I would see her sad, that’s when the mama in me would be like P U S H, you have came to far, push. You are not a quitter, push. I have let Jasmine know that I am not a “yes mom,” I will not say,” yes,” to everything, I will call her out on her foolishness, so don’t ever get the big head or place yourself higher then others. We have taught her to keep her circle small because there aren’t a lot a trustworthy people that are competing against you that want to see you win. And believe people when they show you who they are the FIRST TIME.

What advice do you have for others who have THE Dream ?

No, means no for the moment not forever. Because in this field you will get a lot of No’s to get a Yes. But if you stay steadfast the yes will come. Don’t think you can take everyone with you because everyone was not meant for the journey.

What are some things you do to wind down and relax after a long day?

First I take a moment to converse with my family about their day, then I retreat to my she shed where I do my crafts like acrylic paint dutch pouring or resin art.

What’s your definition of peace and success?

Peace to me is when I can lay my head down at night, without regrets and knowing that I have done the best I could for the day. Peace to me is knowing God has my back. Peace to me is knowing my husband is good and my children are good.

Success to me is raising wonderful children and having a loving husband that would do anything for us.

Success is when the outside world tries to bring us problems, we unite and fight back as a family. And when times are good we come together to rejoice and laugh with each other.

Success to me is when we can celebrate each other. To me, success is not having all the money in the world, but it is having the means to go out and have fun with your family and friends. Success to me is raising a loving family. Success would also look like having the means to be selfless. More time to actually slow down and listen to each other.

When I see my family, my children, my husband loving what they are doing, that’s success. And when my daughter is on television, big scream, or stage and she is loving and living her dream. It will be MY SUCCESS and honor that God allowed me to birth a beautiful, talented and generous daughter.

What advice would you give to young women and to young men about growing up in today’s world filled with music, tv, that’s not always in their best interest?

Do not base your morals and values on negative television or music. This is purely entertainment and entertainment changes from day to day, year to year based on what is selling. Don’t allow the music or television to control the narrative for your life. Each life is unique and different, so don’t try to have the same narrative as some superstars, because you only see the end and the glamour, but you didn’t see the struggle it took to get there. Never try to walk in someone else’s shoes to make them fit, you will always be uncomfortable.