As I was about to enter a Starbucks this morning I yelled at my kid for not swallowing the egg he chewed up and had in his mouth for about 30 minutes. I whispered under my breath how breakfast time before school is always a fucking nightmare and that I was over it. I did this, not realizing he was actually about to throw up. Asshole parent 101. This wasn’t the bad part. Nope. I sat him down on the couch but before I could join the queue I heard a splatter in the floor. I looked back and there he was throwing up his little guts. Things I don’t even recall him eating was coming up. I was in a panic but tried to remain discreet about it as we were in a food establishment and spoke quietly to the barista when I asked for a mop. An older male scoffed and was so disgusted he moved his thousand books, laptop, 4,000 papers, phones, 3 jackets and aire of premium douche to another table. Thanks for the privacy Grinch!
While I was busy wiping up my sons vomit splashed face the sweetest barista-Tyler got to work and threw an apron over the whole thing, scooped it in a bag then mopped. He even ‘handled’ me by giving me a rag told me to clean off baby’s shoes so he isn’t walking around with throw up on his feet all day. When my grasp on the event was insufficient, he used a wet rag and wiped baby’s jacket, pants and shoes again. I felt sad but so grateful for the humanity of the moment. He spoke with my son with such kindness and was not even the least bit annoyed that at 8:30 in the morning he had to be mopping up a little kid protein spill. He kindly said to my son ‘Are you ok now? Did you get all of it out and will you do it again?’ My son replied ‘yes, yes and no’. To which Tyler said jokingly, ‘great, and don’t worry if you have to do it again, this time get mommy’. We had a good laugh and I thanked him profusely for jumping into action and for being such a sport about the whole ordeal. When he walked away my son said in the tiniest little voice, ‘If I do it again mommy will be upset.’ Twisting arrow to the heart explains how shitty I felt. I would have definitely deserved that protein shower, not that motherhood hadn’t already given me my fair share. I apologized and let him know I didn’t know he was throwing up and that it’s perfectly ok to do so. He was back to laughing and being himself right then. I, I was embarrassed. How sordid do you have to be to treat a kid like that? All I could do was make a pact with myself to never yell at him again. I felt like primo shit. I absolutely didn’t mean any of it but he humbled me and I trust that it won’t be repeated.
I wish you were here to meet my son. My father never needed to deny or not take care of me because my photo was permanently affixed on your dresser. Every time you looked in the mirror I was there. You acknowledged me. I wish I could talk to you so many times. Just to fill in the blanks in my life and understand me. My burdens are so heavy sometimes. My worries are circulating with no end and the pressures of life are seething into each other. I miss you so much on many days and get angry when my memories of you start fading. When little details are no longer clear it breaks my heart. You loved all of your family and I’m so glad you taught me that. Everyone that came your way was taken care of. Your palms were always open. In my weakest moments your memories are always there. When time brace against my responsibilities and I am just one woman against the world I feel you behind me. Every fall I take I scream at the audacity of the dips trying to keep me low knowing I have fighter blood in me. Today I cried because I couldn’t remember your face. It felt like the ultimate betrayal. The things that come with aging in life doesn’t discriminate. It was like you were forgotten and dashed. How scary it felt I didn’t dare utter but was sure to dig deep into my life and there you were coming back to me. Coming into a clearing. A love like yours was never again graced and though I aim to be like you, my ego knows I’m no measure. I need the conversations of an older woman I can trust. The ties that bind that makes you never ever to leave me. The woman that can tell me the history of my lineage and clear up why things are or will be. That female bond that binds in times that men cannot understand exist. The older, experienced wisdom that nurtures and soothes. I need access to your blueprint to mothering; it’s so bloody hard! I miss you so much and need the strength of you by my side but I get up; still. I try to move mountains with what feels like a pencil and use the rubber to remove the unnecessary figures from my life. Never forgetting what life with you was like and aspiring to that joy in my childhood life. You made the best roti I have ever had in life. I loved our supermarket trips. The hot patty lunches. I was so horrible to you when you tried to control me, not knowing better; I’m sorry. I wish you were here still grandmother; to just be.
….’As a child, there were them times I didn’t get it, but you kept me in line’…’All them grown folk things, separation brings, You never let me know it, you never let it show, Because you loved me enormously’…’And you never got a chance to see, How good I’ve done’…’I wish that you was here to celebrate together, I wish that we can spend the holidays together’ …’I thought you were so strong, You make it through whatever, It’s so hard to accept the fact you gone forever’….
I can’t count how many times I’ve cried since I’ve become a mother. It has to be an enormous gigantic number of times though. Nonetheless, today I shed tears for the end of a chapter. A safe chapter. A chapter that never once made me fear for my sons’ life or the unknown. Especially after my cousins’ son almost lost a thumb at his daycare! My son is out of daycare and is going to school full-time. We are so grateful for the school community that’s been going well so far but we still brace for the impact of what might occur. With this came the need to stop sending my son to daycare, an uber safe space we all enjoyed for the past 3 years. Safe people and spaces are extremely uncommon when it comes to children. The most seemingly harmless of souls will disappoint you. My sons care has primarily been just his parents, no grandparents or relatives played a major role in care, mainly due to distance. Our daycare coordinator was phenomenal though. We all genuinely love her and have been so grateful for how well she took care of our son. She really became a grandmother to him and would guide us with a light touch. When we had emergencies, we called her first and she would always say ‘bring him come’. People complain so much about the cost of daycare without perspective. Fuck the money. None of it met her value. Especially when I had to dart to work, school or to handle family issues and she made herself available. When he was hospitalized one Christmas our first stop when we left the hospital was at her home so that she could see him. When my ‘naturalista’ mommy ways consumed me she went along with every extreme request and never once complained. Every time he was sick he was loved on more and was fed home made soup and given lots of tea.
She always checked in on me and Tam and sent us pics and vids of him throughout the day. She quelled our busy minds without us even asking. Always pleasant and ready to take him, no matter how late the request. A part of me screams at how unfair it is that she can’t live with us or be around all the time. Or just be his teacher. Or adopt him and we visit. Or just go to school with him everyday. Crazy, I know. You just can’t forge a bond like that. It was a wicked click of worlds that held together in raising a sweet lil boy. He dotes on her and her entire family. As a new parent with limited span and a small circle, most of whom live far away, she was our source. She was pivotal in jump starting and getting through stages from eating solids to language development to manners to potty training. I feel so tremendously blessed that we escaped common daycare complaints and had such a beautiful, safe, nurturing support. Whenever we were unsure she was there to say lets try xyz. Which was her way of knowing what baby needed and just doing it and fixing things. I read the other day that most parents know what they’re doing; maybe but this would be excluding us. So we are extremely washed with sadness but so grateful and happy she was in his life during the crucial years. Angels are on earth, and when you encounter them you will know. The innocence and nurturing of your child is not a game and when someone respects and understand that its so amazing.
You know the hardest part about being a parent? Not being able to keep your child with you 24/7s or be able to see them in a moment when you need to. It’s true, mothers can just look at their children and know when nothing in their world is right. When mothers are down, their children often pull them out of their funk. It’s an instant mood elevator to see the face of your babe. Their smiles, laughter and general silliness wakes your soul to look ahead. Even if you’re wondering just what the fuck they’re doing. As a working mother, this has been my gripe for days on end. If you didn’t think your mind was powerful, you can literally think your way into a major tragedy that puts your heart in a bind. You will literally hyperventilate at the thought that a predator might be eating your baby alive. Only to find out all is actually well and there is not a single need to panic. Children will teach you so much about yourself and your body. They will literally call your bluff when you’re voicing something different. The way you miss them makes you ache and seeing them lifts you high.
I used to think it was ridiculous when people would say ‘I just couldn’t leave my baby’. ‘What could be so great about them?’, I would think. Then I had my son and I got it. It 100% rips my heart out when I have to leave him. I literally want to fight myself for not being further ahead in life or better accomplished so that I could afford life at home with my son. Creatives that take the non-traditional route so that they can be home are goals to me. I want to scream every time I have a horrible thought or a bad piece of news cross my path and I can’t hold his hand or glance at what mischief he’s getting into. They are so pure, and give so much all the time. Children give you 100% of what you give to them. They have no filter and are the most genuine human beings you will ever encounter. They teach you how to live, question life and wonder about things that you’ve never thought of before. It is also why you can almost immediately tell when an adult wasn’t nurtured by love but raised to exist. They’re like green limp flowers, misunderstood and out of reason. In each stage, the babes give us life, whether we want it or not. I I could define it, the sound of my soul…is the laughter of children the world over….
This post: Especially the last line!