happy new year

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2015 was life changing. in ways i did not anticipate, it was the greatest gift. it was the most progressive year in self-discovery for me. i’m more comfortable than ever with letting go of timelines for my life, freeing myself from the heavy weight of the expectations of others. i learned to feel less guilty about caring for myself and doing what’s best for my happiness. i fought less against growth, realizing it’s painful only because i’m doing something right.

as a woman, i learned to apologize less for how i am made. i understand that my vulnerability is a good thing and i am captivating in my own way. my desire to be seen and known in a deep way isn’t something to be ashamed of. i learned that if someone is uncomfortable by my depth of thought or intimidated by the intensity of my life, that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me.

as a friend, i figured out the kind of people i want in my circle. squad size doesn’t matter when friendship is based on encouragement. there was a lot of letting go and letting in. it was painful but now they’re free to show up for the person or people that need them the most.

as a young professional, it was a challenging year for business. for most of 2015 i juggled two or three jobs, picking up freelance work when able, and attempted to start a business with a friend. in between it all i managed to travel every single month, for 10 months, from FL to VA. the work hours were long, the jobs stressful, pay was minimal, and the business venture kind of failed. i appreciate the glory though, even in these experiences, as i look forward to new opportunities in the new year. because of the experience, i can search and conquer with confidence. also, the fact that i work from home meant i could travel when necessary or stay at home if my son was sick. it was worth every 80-hour work week i put in.

as a parent, it was my most victorious year. the biggest offering of 2015 was adrian’s return home. a little background story for those that don’t know: in 2012 i felt it was in my child’s best interest for him to stay with a family that had at the moment everything in place that i didn’t in order for him to grow up in a safe and stable environment. it was a decision i wasn’t fully prepared to make, unaware of the intricacies of such a big move. for two and a half years he lived with them. i can honestly say those were the worst two and a half years of my life.

talk about being lost, kicked down and tossed around. things slowly spiraled out of control and one day i found myself sitting in the office of a child custody lawyer. all i could focus on was, “how did i end up here?” i fought for my baby and we won. i’ve had a vision for our small family since the night i found out i was having this baby on my own. there wasn’t a mountain i wasn’t willing to move to keep that vision alive and our family together. parenting in 2015 made me more grounded as a person and focused.

2015 equipped me with the tools to keep building and growing. it was disorderly but in many ways i was rescued and put on a path towards a new life. for the first time in years i feel like i can really own my future. i am grateful to still be here, more resolved than i’ve ever been. i am eager to learn more from life, how to be braver and stronger.

2015, thank you for everything.

 

to be continued…

when i started this blog, i wanted it to be a place where i could safely share my thoughts and experiences about being a young female and a single parent in my generation. even though i wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, this blog was an attempt at creating my own tribe of mothers and single parents. abandonment and loneliness are fears i have struggled with my entire life, which only intensified when i became a mother. i wanted others to know that they weren’t alone, but that i wasn’t alone either. but this project didn’t quite turn out that way…

i have a love/hate relationship with time. while on one hand it makes me mad that with its passing i only get older, on the other i’m so thankful that it moves on, forcing me to move along with it. moving along signifies growth, change, and, hopefully, healing. i think back to who i was five years ago and i am hardly the same person. sometimes i think there isn’t a resemblance at all. i thought differently, believed differently, handled adversity differently, wrote differently. when i read old posts that i wrote (and have since been taken down from the blog) i realize how much i have grown in my understanding of pain and its role in my life. back then i lacked the patience to really process my pain, however that may have meant for me.

ironically, i hid behind my writing. i wanted to immediately shake off whatever it was that was making me feel uncomfortable, make some sense of it, or make sure people knew in a very public way my side of the story of my own life. because i knew they were talking. i knew the mean things that were being said, how i was being doubted, and it shook me to my core that they had it wrong. i thought i was writing for me, i thought i was the main audience, but i wasn’t. everything i was putting out was for others first, whether they deserved to hear my story or not. those were the years i was the most broken.

i didn’t have a healthy relationship with my writing and art. in some ways i was a bit arrogant about it. it never really crossed my mind to calculate the risks involved in writing about certain things or people. it took a few breakups, messups, and, frankly, some time away to open my eyes to see the fine line between telling MY story and still somehow protect the other characters that play a part in it. i’m still deciding if certain risks are worth taking.

 

 

i tell you all this because things may continue to be slow and quiet around here for a while. my writing for the public has been picking up a bit lately. i’ve even shared a few short pieces on my personal instagram page. but for the most part, i’ve been taking the time to write for an audience of one: me. no pressure, only pure pleasure. my vision has become more focused on what really matters. at the end of the day, all risks considered, i am ultimately the only one that needs to be okay with my writing and anything i produce during my other creative ventures. creative is who i am and i need to create in order to be a whole person. echoing the words of one of the world’s greatest, Brene Brown, so much of my self-worth lies in the stories i tell and i am not in the business of abandoning them. someone’s opinion of my story is not a prerequisite to my healing. which i guess means that some backlash for anything i do is inevitable. but the driving force for all that i put out comes from a different place now. whatever i am now willing to share publicly will come after i’ve had time to process it and decide that it’s something i really need to tell.

so i’ll be back. i am not rushing the healing process this time but when i’m ready i’ll know it and you’ll hear from me again. i might stop by to say hello once in a while. i’ll probably just post photo updates of my little for the time being since this blog is also about him.

or, who knows, maybe i won’t be back at all because i will have joined the circus. or did i already do that?

to those who are still here because you genuinely care, thank you. thank you for helping me find the strength to do what’s best for me and not feel guilty about it.

 

 

adrian’s school diaries: day 1

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for 5 years i imagined what the morning of adrian’s first day of school would be like. he would wake up super excited, feeling proud to be big enough to go to school. i would win extra mommy points for preparing an elaborate version of his favorite breakfast and snap the cutest photos of his smiling face, rocking his new backpack and first-day-of-school outfit. we would leave the house with plenty of time to get through morning traffic, arriving to his school early enough to chat with his teacher and help him settle into his new classroom. after the other children poured in, i would step out of the room and stand outside the door and just watch my boy not miss me, me sobbing because i don’t want to let go of him needing me for everything just yet.

well, obviously i was a new mom when i had this “vision” because except for the crying part, our morning on adrian’s first day of school unfolded exactly the opposite in every way.

for starters, i slid out of my bed almost an hour later after my alarm went off. i let knowledge of the fact that i’m technically off work (from my main job anyway) for the week get to my head, so i did not feel like being productive before 5:30 a.m. finally pulling myself together, i got dressed and pulled out my laptop to send out a few important work-related emails (i couldn’t help myself) before it was time to wake up adrian. who, by the way, came crawling into bed with me at 3:30 in the morning. which is fine, obviously, but i don’t think either of us got any good sleep past 3:30 because my bed is shockingly too small. as a point of reference, i’m a 5-foot, 115-pound woman and adrian is, well, a 4-year-old kid. his toddler bed accommodates us better than mine.

adrian woke up happy though, spoiling me with the best hugs. he stretches in the morning much the same way he did when he was a baby – clenched fists, puffed cheeks, toes pointing downward. that sweet sight lasted for all of 5 minutes until his eyes became a waterfall of tears at the mention of the word “school”. “let’s get you dressed for your first day of school!” i said. “but i don’t want to go to school!!” he replied. i don’t know where his fear of school stems from, so it’s never made sense to me. from his infancy i’ve been deliberate about instilling in him a love of reading and learning, something i’m proud of. he loves working on art or science projects with me and does equally well with playing by himself as he does with other kids. i’ve tried fishing out of him what exactly did he not like about the idea of school and all i got was “because”.

since getting him to use the bathroom, put his school clothes on and tidy his bed took so long, and i had gotten up “late”, there was no time for a fancy breakfast. oatmeal it was.

the school where adrian’s enrolled at is exactly 2.8 miles from our house. on any other day leaving with 15 minutes before he has to be there would be a generous amount of traveling time. yesterday i was reminded that when the school year is in session you have to over-estimate how long your morning commute will take. your sanity will be preserved if you do this, even while a loudly wailing 4-year-old is strapped in your backseat.

we arrived at his school 4 minutes late. i guess that’s not really a big deal, considering i showed up 30 minutes late to a job interview before and still got the job, but, i don’t know, i guess i just don’t want to be known as that mom.

we step out of the car and as we’re walking to the front of the school adrian has a complete melt down. right there, in the middle of the parking lot, as other parents quietly passed us by with their kids, giving me the most pathetic looks and saying, “awww”. we finally make it inside the building, i clock him in – 7 minutes late – and head down the short hallway to his classroom. adrian starts to quiet down as we walk past the table with seashells and a play area. he instantly recognizes his teacher, ms. smith, and starts to feel a little better knowing there’s another familiar face around. hesitantly, he hangs up his backpack on a hook that has his name tag above it. the classroom is beautifully set up and kids are already playing on the floor with colorful magnetic shapes building castles and boxes. adrian joins the kids on the floor, timidly at first, but then starts to loosen up as his excitement builds over what he can do with the shapes.

i fill in ms. smith on our morning and she mostly just nods her head in understanding. i didn’t even bother taking first-day-of-school pictures. after a couple minutes i kneel down to say goodbye to adrian. “i’ll see you in a few hours,” i tell him kissing him on the cheek,which was of no comfort at all. he starts to cry again, then scream, and a part of me wanted for the ground to open up and swallow us both whole. i let the teacher take over and as i walked away i couldn’t help myself but turn around and look at my boy. yes, it was embarrassing, but it was even more heartbreaking for me. the nearly three-year-long chapter of our lives before this one just ended, and it’s still a bit fresh for both of us. the look on his face, the tone of his cries, were too reminiscent of the worst day of our lives. maybe that’s the part of the idea of school he didn’t like – i wouldn’t be able to stay with him.

i made it outside the room before adrian or his teacher could see me cry. though i refrained from peeking inside the door window, i stood on the other side of his classroom walls, listening. another parent asked me if that was my kid making all that noise and when i said yes, she admitted that her kid was the same way on his first day of school. her words weren’t of any comfort at all – “this is different,” i thought – but i appreciated the effort. after about 3 minutes i realized the crying stopped. i thought maybe i was lost in a daze and had gone tone death to reality, but the crying and screaming really did stop. maybe he was going to have a great first day of school after all?

my mom, who is visiting from out of the country, was waiting for me in the car. i let out a sigh of relief as i got back in. “how was it?” she asked. “he cried bloody murder when i left, but he seems better now.”

to be honest, i must’ve checked the time on my phone a million times throughout the day, figuring how much time was left before i had to go back and pick adrian up from school. i wanted to know if he was having fun, if he had changed his mind about school and if he’d ask to go back. but i was really looking forward to picking him up because i wanted him to see that mommy isn’t going anywhere, that i’ll always be here for him everyday.that i’ve always been here for him, even on the days when he couldn’t see me.

when i walked back into his classroom later in the afternoon, i could tell that the first day of school ended up being a success. he and two other little boys were at the far side of the room playing with a wooden castle, dinosaurs and wooden blocks. “he did great,” his teacher told me. “after about 3 minutes he stopped crying. since then he’s been really engaged and attentive.” i tiptoed around to get closer to adrian and his new friends. i listened for a little bit to their play monologues. “ahhhh! he’s trapped in the jail!”

“this dinosaur is super fast.”

“ahhhh! crasssh!”

i was so happy, i kind of wanted him to keep on playing. but i knew the teacher was ready for us to go home, so i let adrian know i was back and that we needed to go home. i was thrilled when he asked to keep playing for a few more minutes. “you’ll come back tomorrow,” i said, at which he lit up and said, “yay!” so not the boy i had dropped off in the morning. i was able to get my first-day-of-school pictures after all.

the entire ride back home he couldn’t stop telling me about his day. he was able to play and read books and go outside and play with water. “i love school, mommy.” i wanted to shout out my window to my fellow highway travelers, “my son loves school now!” but i think the best part of both of our day was seeing each other again.

though, let me say, i love his school too. the school, Creative Inspiration Journey School, was actually under construction 5 years ago when we first lived in florida. i didn’t know much about it then, whether it would be public or private, or just a daycare center, but i drove past it all the time. when i moved back to florida last august to help take care of my late grandfather, CIJS had opened for their first school year. one day after a post office run for work i decided to drop in and see if they’d give me a tour. the owner and director of CIJS was the first to meet me and she gladly obliged.

it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the place and their curriculum. almost everything i believe in when it comes to education for children they put in practice with the students. the curriculum is Reggio-Emilia inspired (from Italy), which basically means it’s less worksheets and more hands-on, project-based learning. the teachers tend to follow in whatever direction the kids are showing an interest in, on any subject.  this approach takes the frustration out of learning even in early education, and encourages critical thinking and creativity.

what makes the school even more of a dream come true is how environmentally conscious they are. they teach the kids about our responsibility to care for the earth by doing simple things like recycling, not being wasteful, and respecting wildlife. throughout the week the kids participate in various outdoor activities, like gardening and play. and get this, their meals are even made from scratch, using very little processed foods! the kids eat family-dining style, assisting with table settings and clean up.

CIJS believes in small classroom sizes, as do i, thus allowing the teachers to have more one-on-one time with each student. i appreciate this so much because every child is at a different level in their learning and development, and i believe they should be met where they’re at, not forced to keep up with other kids or some overarching ideal.

i could go on and on about how impressive CIJS is. it’s a miracle that school like this even exists in our neighborhood. i couldn’t have asked for a better start to his school journey. what an amazing opportunity!

my only hope is that by next year when he graduates kindergarten that they will have added 1st grade to their grade levels. it would be so wonderful to keep adrian there another year, not to mention the social benefits, because i don’t know if i’d want to put him in any other elementary school after CIJS. but i know this, if i can’t find a school just as good as CIJS then i will just home school my kid. i shock myself when i say that because just a short year ago i didn’t think i could do it. mostly because home schooling isn’t an option for working single parents. but since my promotion and proposal acceptance to work from home, plus the couple of freelance writing side gigs i’ve been able to snatch up, home schooling may be more within our reach than i thought. we’ll have to cross that bridge when we get there to see.

in the mean time, here’s to a great year of school! i’m eager to see how much adrian will grow and his love for learning deepen even more.

*this is not a promotional post. i was not compensated in any way to write this post. 

next stop: home.

to all the beautiful new mamas and mamas-to-be, i only have one bit of advice: cherish it all. cherish the early morning feedings and the projectile poop on the curtains. frame the crayon drawings on the newly painted walls. smile at every fully loaded diaper tossed in the trash – that means you’re feeding and hydrating your baby well. hold your babies every second you can, echoing their gentle coos. squeeze their hands a little tighter as you skip through the park. build the muscle needed to do the underdog swing push if that’s what makes them giggle. be very involved in their daily learning and let them have a part in everything. be intentional about creating an environment where your child can make real childhood memories.

because you never know if you’ll come too close to knowing what it’s like to lose them.

i know how easy it is to beat yourself up for having moments of doubt, but remember you pushed a human being out of your vagina. you got this. even you single mamas out there, the ones i’m really talking to here. don’t believe anyone who says you deserve your guilt. we do what we think is best for our kids at the time, but just like them we’re not going to get it right the first time, or every time. what matters is that we learn, we grow, and we move forward. this will be a daily occurrence. i wish i had believed in myself the way i do now this time three years ago. now i know that courage only can grow when watered with darkness. we all have our pasts, our children will one day have theirs, but every soul is redeemable and worth loving. let’s love on our babies today and for as long as we live. and no matter where they may go in life, may they always know that home is where we are.

Home

daddy issues

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throughout our entire lives we spend every day trying to do “our best”. at least according to the standards we have created for ourselves. we attempt to lessen the sting of our mistakes or the disappointment we feel towards ourselves by rationalizing the choices we’ve made.

we often use the excuse of trying our best in order to forgive ourselves or somehow validate our existence. we expect for the world to accept our trying to be enough. we expect that our biggest mistakes will still be better than never trying. but it’s different when it’s someone else who needs our forgiveness. like an abusive parent. it’s difficult for us to let go of a hurtful past when the ones responsible for all the sorrow are so close to us. the pain chokes us, unable to recognize that in their own twisted way they tried their best, too.

my brothers and sisters tell me that dad was physically and verbally abusive towards them. scenes that have been seared into their memory forever, the inexplicable heartache haunting them to this day. though i never experienced the downright abusiveness of my father, i wasn’t exempt from it entirely. he had other methods with me. i witnessed his wrath from time to time, particularly towards my mother when he became mildly violent. i was six years old. as a result, i grew up being fearful of my father and hating him, even when i didn’t know how to explain what i was feeling. at the tender age of eight when my father asked me if i was afraid of him i didn’t answer for the very reason that i was afraid of him.

but i still wanted to have a relationship with my father, or a father. i envied my friends who had their daddy’s laps to sit on. i longed for the comfort of my father’s embrace. i missed having someone to run to and show my latest trick or discovery. i craved the satisfaction of making my dad proud. i listened out for his powerful baritone voice projecting beautiful, melodious tunes. my dad had been my hero, my person, and when he left the quickness in my step went away too. i so desperately wanted his encouragement, his friendship. it wasn’t until adulthood when i fully realized how much his rejection had destroyed me. and at nearly twenty-six years of age i am still picking up the pieces.

there are people who, like my dad, started life with no real chance at all. they know nothing else except how to alienate people from their lives. dad has spent his life hiding away from the consequences. i don’t know everything that happened in the dark corners of his life, but they made up the person he eventually became. the truth is, my father probably never got an accurate picture of what real love looks like. he grew up feeling like the black sheep of the family. whether those feelings were justified, i do not know. but someone had hurt him so deeply, influencing his capacity from an early age to positively connect in all subsequent relationships in his life.

my daddy issues were real. the absence of a father figure wasn’t the only thing i struggled with, but they were what set me up for almost everything else that followed. not knowing how to deal with it all, i blamed a lot of it on my mom. once i was able to separate my mom from every bad thing that happened in my life, i was left alone with an important truth – i harbored a lot of bitterness towards my father.

i’ve accepted this truth about myself. it’s an ugly truth, something i’m not proud of, but i own up to it. i’ve tried, goodness i’ve tried, to let go and move past the hurt. i want to get to the point that when i think of my father i don’t think of the liar or cheat or fraud that he’s been in the past. instead i want to extend to him the same empathy and acceptance i only hope to be given when i royally screw up.

i say that without discrediting my years of accumulated pain. i find it insensitive when people ignorantly say, “at least you have a dad.” pain is pain. no one can say that not having a father is worse than knowing you have one but doesn’t show up. do people really expect someone to tell them which one is worse? when you’re six-years-old you don’t understand why mom and dad can’t get along. at ten-years-old you try to figure out what it was that you did to deserve for your father to call you dumb and then completely disappear for two years. when you’re too young to have the maturity to process these feelings you grow up with a gaping wound and confusion that you carry into adulthood. once you arrive to adulthood everyone tells you to just “let  it go” and to “move on”. but you can’t just drop a half a lifetime’s worth of baggage without first coming to terms with it. in order to move on a person has to understand that abuse, in any form, is never their fault. that even though it hurts it doesn’t mean they were never loved and not everything that happens will have a logical explanation. and that oftentimes those that hurt us have been deeply hurt themselves.

again this year i called my father to wish him a happy father’s day, enduring the five minute conversation that followed. talking to him is always so bittersweet and awkward because i can never think of anything good to say to him that i actually mean. he’s a lonely man and the excitement is quite evident in his voice when i call. i imagine his eyes lighting up with joy for those five minutes we spend chatting about trivial things. it’s enough to make me want to cry.

and yet like every time, in an attempt to remember the less lonely days long gone by, he’ll say, “remember that time when…” and I never remember – because it never happened. and all too easily i remember why it’s been nearly two months since I last picked up the phone and dialed his number. a slideshow of scenes from my childhood play in my mind. i think of all the broken promises, the blatant lies, all of the rejection and belittling, and i’m weaving in between doubt and certainty, lies and truth, hope and sadness.

i guess ultimately what had hurt me the most was my father’s inability to feel for us his children for the hurt and shame he would inflict on us with his words. he was never sorry, and even if we had said awful things back (which we did), the difference was at least we knew. we felt the pain of what we had done. i’m not sure if he ever did.

i’ve never in any way have wished harm on my father. even with all my daddy issues i knew i would be the one out of all of his children to commit to his care the day he becomes too ill to fend for himself. it’s a bit backwards, i know. it’s been hard for me to show him unconditional love during his years of health, yet i wouldn’t think twice about being there for him when old age begins to wreak havoc on his body.

coming from an emotional home, i hold tightly to the few fond memories i have of my dad from my early days. moments that, when i think about it, remind me of the caring father deep down behind all the abuse.

it’s a struggle to get the point where i can look my dad in the eye and feel nothing but pity, but i want to get there. i want to be able to one day take his calloused hands and say with a heart full of forgiveness, “i love you.” i want to be able to set aside my anger and fiercely love the broken and lonely human that he is.

i don’t want the day to arrive when he can’t hear me anymore without having said all the words i need to say. i want to be able to say goodbye without any regrets. i want to be able to create real memories with him so he won’t have to believe the made up ones in his head anymore.

where to even begin finding this kind of forgiveness, i do not know. except to pray for it and, well, try. try for family, for my son, for the possibility of it being worth it someday. if there’s one good thing i can say about my father is that he loves children and his grandchildren are no exception.

it’ll be one of the hardest things that i’ve ever had to do in my life. there will be days when i won’t be able to stand sifting through the crap, but i want to get in the trenches with my dad. we may have had an unpromising start, but i want to make a new ending. God put me in his life for a reason, and i want to find out what that is. if i believe i am more than my past, then i must believe that as long as his heart is beating he is more than his yesterdays too. it may be too late for a new life, but it’s never too late for peace.

Mine.

Every now and then I when I think about where I am in my life I have no words. I am mostly amazed, really. Amazed at all the unexpected things that have happened, the good, the bad, the new friendships, the broken relationships.

The most amazing thing of it all is that I’m a mother. Yes, even after two years this is still shocking to me. Whenever I see Adrian’s smiling face, full of life and joy and beautiful innocence, I am often left breathless. He is a wonder to me, my post prized gift.

Seeing that this blog is about single parenting, I figured it would be fitting to give you further background into how the story of Adrian and me started.

This letter I wrote for Adrian just months after he was born. I had posted it on an older blog I used to have and under my Notes on Facebook. I remember very well the day I wrote it. It took me a while since I would have to start and stop to tend to Adrian.

The letter was finally finished late that night. Adrian was sound asleep in his crib next to my bed. Our room was small, but it accommodated us well. The lights were shut off and the only light visible was the one reflecting from my laptop screen. As I finished typing the last few words to this letter I pulled my knees up to my chest and stared at the screen for a little bit. The words and images in front of me began to blur as I let out the tears.

I write for many reasons. To preserve my sanity, for love, to help others, because I have a voice, and I want to be heard. But ultimately, now, I write for and because of Adrian. I am not afraid of people reading my inner honesty. I want Adrian to know my feelings and hear these stories from me. I want him to know from me that I have not been, nor ever will be, the perfect mom but I have loved him more than life since the moment he took his first breath.

And God forbid that one day I will not be around to tell him these stories, I want to leave a record of them for him to read. I want to be able to leave some sort of legacy for him.

This letter I have not edited since it was first written. Ignore any typos or grammatical errors. You should be doing that with all my posts, anyway.

———————-

Two weeks old and smiling.

Two weeks old and smiling.

December 8, 2010

Dear Adrian,

Every day I catch myself thinking that I can’t believe you’re actually mine. You’ve been in this world for eleven and a half weeks now, and eleven and a half weeks later I still feel like I’m dreaming. I have always wanted to be a mother but I just didn’t think I would be one now.

I remember the night I had found out that I was pregnant. It was a Friday night. Your biological father was away on a business trip. I had told him how weird I had felt throughout the week and my suspicion about me being pregnant. He really didn’t want to hear any of it but we had agreed that when he returned I would take the test just to make sure. But I couldn’t wait. I was feeling nauseous (just so you know, one of the worst feelings in the world) and wanted to know what was wrong with me. What if I was just sick with a stomach flu or something? Why wait to start treating myself until he came back? So I broke the agreement and went with a friend to Wal-Mart and bought two pregnancy tests.

I was scared about what I would find out. If I was really pregnant, what would happen? First of all, how would your father take it? Sure, I expected him to freak out, because I knew I would, but after a few minutes of processing what “my girlfriend is pregnant” meant, I also expected him to be there for me, and more importantly for you. For always.

But there was also my family to worry about. What would grandma and grandpa, Bela and Belo, uncle Ernest, and Uncle Steve say? Would they disown me even though I wasn’t the first of them to have kids out of wedlock? And what about school? I had just started my first semester at Southern Adventist University, something I had worked hard to make happen, and I didn’t want to take a break from school. It would put my career dream on hold.

Finally, what about the world? What would the world say of me? I knew I would lose respect and friends instantly, and people would gossip and point their fingers at me. Was I really ready to take all this? Was I ready to accept the consequences of my actions?

But the real question was, could I be the mother that you deserve. Could I give the very best of everything for you? Could I be a good role-model in your life, gently and patiently teach to do right, even though I have made mistakes in my life?  Could I teach you the importance of thinking for yourself, and to follow your conscience even when everything and everyone is yelling in your face to do otherwise? Could I teach you the value of hard work and earned money, to be grateful for all you have though it may not be much or as nice as what everyone else has? Could I pass down to you my love of reading and knowledge, and the value of getting an education? Could I teach you to follow your dreams and overcome obstacles? Could I teach you what it means to treat others with kindness, respect and equality, and how not to break a girl’s heart? And if your father decided to move on with his own life, could I teach you how to be a real man? Could I teach you to believe in God and make religion your own? Could I be the kind of loving and nurturing mother I had always dreamed of being someday, now?

All of these questions ran through my head a million times as I waited for the results to show on the pregnancy test stick back at the dorm room. My friend, Crystal, and her sister, Michelle, were with me. After about five minutes Crystal read the results to me. It showed positive. “But you should take the test again tomorrow night just to make sure,” she said. I said okay, but I already knew it was true. We went to Friday night vespers after that. My mind was in a fog and nothing made sense to me. I remember going up for the appeal at the end of the service, not really paying attention to what was being said, just needing to unload myself to God in a way. I felt like I was in a dream and I needed someone to shake me out of it.

It seemed like an eternity before Saturday night rolled around. I took the test again and again it read positive. It was really true now. I was pregnant. I sat on the bed and cried rivers. I wasn’t mad at you. You are innocent. I was just scared. I didn’t know what would happen next and the road in front me seemed long and dark. I called your father that night. He wasn’t happy I broke the agreement, even though I explained to him why I did. The news was more he could handle and that’s why he’s not with us today.

It’s been a rough journey so far. There have been some lonely spots along the way, times of uncertainty, frustration and anger. I hate myself for not using my common sense to obey the red flags when I saw them. I hate myself even more because now, as a result of my wrong choices, you’re without a father in your life. Sure, you have your grandfathers, uncles, and godfathers to help model real manhood for you, but it’s not the same. None of them can’t be a real father to you because of circumstances, some which are obvious. I don’t know when I’ll ever fully forgive myself.

But you’re here now. It’s amazing how you make the pain I feel inside easier to bear. I get butterflies in my stomach every time I see your face. I could be having the most crappiest of crap days and you never fail to make me smile and forget, for at least a moment, all the imperfect things about our lives. I love everything about you. Your smile, your giggles, the way you make noises as if you were trying to talk, your little fingers and toes, your belly button, your fat thighs. Your hair is like silk and your skin is so perfect. Your love is perfect. You’re perfect. You have made my chaotic life better. You’re my handsome prince. My favorite. My everything.

Having a chat.

Having a chat.

I hope every single day of your life you will know that I love you; always have and forever will. I know we’ll be best friends. Can’t promise you I’ll do everything right the first time, because I know I won’t, but I hope you’ll never doubt that my motives are pure.

You’ve given meaning to my life, a purpose to live for. You’re my motivation to being better, being more,  doing better, doing more. Everything I do now or dream of doing it’s with you in mind. I live only for your happiness. You’re my pride and joy.

I can’t imagine my life without you.

Love,

Mommy

Us today.

Us today.