If ever anyone was able to be a spokesperson for being able to put on a brave face and never let anyone know how much pressure comes throughout this roller coaster called life, it is JoAnn M. Harrison.
JoAnn never had much growing up, but you would not know it by talking to her or looking at the success she has had in life. She has always kept herself in line and has worked hard to pave a path for her children so they could have a life full of happiness and love.
She is someone who has made sure that her children feel compassion, but she has also been a role model for how to treat others.
“She has instilled a kindness that is lost on most of the world,” her daughter Keonna said. “She has always been a living example of treating everyone she meets as equals.”
JoAnn does not care about social status. She believes that everyone deserves to be treated the same, and she believes that everyone deserves to be loved.
Keonna said her mom has always worn her heart on her sleeve, and she is someone that has always lived by doing. She is a model of loving everyone, and she has always made it a point for her kids to do the same.
“My mom is my heart,” Keonna said. “She is my very first best friend; my very first example of love. She means the whole world to me. She is my heart outside of my chest.”
Everything Keonna and her brother Reginald have learned and modeled have been from their mom. JoAnn has always instilled the best life lessons into her children, and these life lessons go outside of the way you treat others. It also includes the way you present yourself and the way you act.
“What makes her who she is is her style,” Reginald said. “My mom’s a hell of a dresser. My sister and I got our styles from her for sure. She’s also articulate, smart, heartwarming and always wants to help people who are in need. She is funny and quick witted, and she is quite the poet.”
JoAnn is such a selfless individual. She wants to make sure that everyone around her is taken care of. She loves on people all the time, and she shows them what true acceptance looks like.
This acceptance starts with her own family, as she does not believe that family is rooted by your last name or even by blood, but family is the people you truly care about and who you are willing to go to the ends of the earth for.
JoAnn loves her family more than anything, and she would do anything for them in any situation. She is so genuine, and her family knows it.
“She is a great mom and grandma because of her ability to be accepting of everything,” Reginald said. “She’s more giving even now than she ever was. There are no hyphens in our family, as she does not look at my step-son as a step-son. If you are part of the family, you are family. She’s eager to keep the family close. My mom always tries to make time for her family, no matter what we need.”
Family is the most important thing in the world to JoAnn, and nothing will ever come in between her and her family. She truly loves them, and she has somehow become even more loving since becoming a grandmother.
“She is the best GeeMa ever! The characteristics that make her a good grandmother are the same ones that make her a great mother: her intentionality,” Keonna said. “I will never forget the first book Kassidy ever received was from my mom and while reading it, before purchasing it, we both cried in the middle of Target!”
That’s just the true genuineness that JoAnn shows every single day. She puts thought and care into every single thing she does for the people she loves, and she is always doing things for them.
She spent Reginald and Keonna’s younger years in particular making everything look easy in their eyes, and despite the intense pressure she was under at times as a single mother, she never let that show.
“She put up with all my knuckleheadedness growing up,” Reginald said. “Now I’ve seen how difficult I made her life. I want to spend the rest of my life making it easier for her.”
All the years she put in the tireless effort has paid off for JoAnn, as her kids now realize what all she did for them, and their appreciation for her has become even greater.
Now, they just have one thing that would make them even more appreciative of their mom. That one thing? Her moving closer to one of them.
Reginald and Keonna love their mom so much and they hate that she lives so far away. They want her to move closer to them and the grandkids, and they want to continue to give back to her in any way they can.
“Words fail to fully encapsulate how I feel about you, Mom. You’re such an incredible person and I feel so blessed to be your child. Being your daughter genuinely feels like a gift. I am so grateful for our relationship. If I can be a quarter of the mother you are to me, to Kassidy, I would consider myself successful. You are my template for what love should feel like.” – Keonna
“Mom, I just want you to know how much my sister and I appreciate your sacrifice, hard work and perseverance to get us where we are now. We would not be here if it were not for you staying strong throughout all of the tough times. I want you to know that when we were younger, we may not have understood the reasons for all that you did, but as we are older, we totally see how hard it must have been. Love you, Mom!” – Reginald
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