Becoming a Mom made me appreciate mine even more. I wish she were still alive so I could tell her how much I appreciate her for what she’s done for me. I never understood the amount of time, motivation, dedication, and strength it took for her to keep a roof over my head, to keep me bathed, fed, and clothed. Never mind the extra stuff, like having toys and being happy and content.
As a child, I didn’t have a care in the world. I never worried about where my next meal would come from or if I’d have a bed to sleep in at night's end. I never worried about money, laundry detergent, or tissue. I never knew about all the pressure there was just to make it day to day. That was the responsibility of my Mother.
I never felt her heartaches, tears, or misfortunes. I know what it feels like to be loved and cared for. I know what it looks like to fall six feet deep, just to rise an inch, and still be happy. I know how to take care of a household all on my own, with or without the means to do so. I know what it looks like to start over with a few blankets, sheets, and pillows for a bed and thank God just to be alive. Each time we’d have to start over, my Mother would say, I don’t care if we live in a cardboard box as long as I have my kids. It meant nothing to me then and everything to me now. She hid her pain from us so well. I can count on one hand the number of times I remember seeing my Mother cry. Most of those times had something to do with my sisters and me.
My Mother gave her life to raise us. She gave it all she had to provide us with a life better than her own, even when she had nothing to offer. Don’t be like me, be better than me. In her own way, she broke many of her own generational curses. Being a single Mother is not for everyone. She fought her demons and still had time to fight the monsters before they ever made their way under my bed. If my Mother were here today, I’d tell her I understand. I’d apologize for any pain I caused and any mean things I said as a teen and an adult. Thirty years later, I fully understand.
My son was born on August 10, unable to breathe on his own, with low blood sugar. He spent five days in the NICU, where they monitored his breathing and sugar levels. Before each feeding, they checked his sugar by poking the heel of his foot with a pediatric lancet. It probably hurt me more than it hurt him. Each time he cried (which wasn’t often), the sound of my voice was just enough to soothe him. It was in those moments I realized the kind of power I had. He felt safe just knowing I was there. That’s how I felt with my Mother. My entire world could be falling apart, but I knew I would be okay if I had my Mom. At just two days old, my son believed I could heal all his wounds. And I had no idea how I would raise this little boy to become a man all on my own. He trusted me. In a world full of chaos and pain, he was looking for me. Not to make it all go away but to stand beside him until it was bearable enough for him to be on his own again.
I never thought I could love anyone as much as I love my son.