Tanya Stephens is no 'infallible' mom
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
Unable to verbally express what she was feeling at the time, Tanya Stephens put her conundrum of emotions into a song. The song, Infallible, which is also the title of her latest album, describes the relationship she shares with her daughter Kelly Stephens.
"We went through a little rough patch and I didn't know what to say. I ran out of words and people who know me know that is almost impossible 'cause I chat so much. For me, that was a very vulnerable moment," she told The Sunday Gleaner at H2O Restaurant and Bar in Ocho Rios, St Ann, which she co-owns.
"I couldn't talk so I made a song. I made the song with the sole purpose of giving it to her. I just give her the CD and seh go listen this and she come back a bawl."
In the song Stephens sings:
"I am not trying to mess with your happiness,
I just don't want life to break you.
I am not infallible, I am only human.
I used to frustrate your grandma too, that much is true man.
I am not here to tell you what way to go
but can I please tell you the things I know."
Kelly explained that their relationship has had its bad and good times, but there are those quintessential mother-daughter moments that keep them grounded and their bond strong.
"Sometimes up, sometimes down," Kelly stated. "We like to play video games, watch TV; I watch her play Farmville. Sometimes we just get up and drive go somewhere. When I am not at school, I am at home so I am always around her."
Stephens said spending time with Kelly is important and something she makes the effort to do despite the demands of her job. Most of the time they spent apart was earlier in her career when she was touring more often. During that time, Stephens said she was often blackmailed by her daughter to buy Barbie dolls because of her absence.
"When I am not on the road I stay home a lot. We actually make the effort. I am not a perfect mother, she is not a perfect daughter and a we kinda meet somewhere inna di middle. We live a compromise and it work. Honestly, mi wouldn't trade har fi any other daughter," Stephens said.
Becoming a mother at 21 helped her to mature more quickly.
"Motherhood has matured me and I like it. I grew up after getting pregnant. Prior to that I didn't have growing up in mind at all. I am still childish in many ways, and refuse to mature in many ways, but I am responsible now, as opposed to before," she said.
"I actually enjoy it (motherhood), even when we fight. And mi appreciate it when she fight back, when she actually have an opinion and voice it. It mean seh I actually have a daughter who is alive and who going to have her own personality. We have different views on many things. To some extent I think I have done my job. I have brought up an individual and not a clone."
Because she didn't get a 'manual for motherhood', Stephens said she is a work in progress. Naturally, she said she does not want her daughter to make the same mistakes that she did. Her experiences with Kelly have also made her appreciate her own mother even more.
"Mi see myself a turn into my mother cause what my mother used to mean to me and how incredulous she used to look to mi, mi see myself a become that person to my daughter and now mi understand my mother better and love her more," said Stephens.