Saturday, February 25, 2006

She who grows up to be mama

January 27, 2006

Jasai - 30
Los Angeles, CA
2 children - boy (10), girl (4)

Not doing it hurts. Running to the page is like energy. Like sunbursts. Like I’m crossing the finish line with every word and not doing it hurts. Holding off stings, cracks, bleeds, scabs over but never heals. Writing the story out heals. Keeping time and keeping up with the world in my head helps heal me. I did not know I was so hurt by his absence. So sliced open by the void. So blank where he belongs. So sad he’s gone.

My father has been gone for more than twenty years.

If I had a Pasadena Star News I would be able to say exactly how many seconds of absence I have experienced, piled one on top of the other, since he plowed his late model Lincoln or Cadillac into a couples only son, splitting him and me in half.

He died. His family has had to live with that grief.

And I have had to live without mine.

There is no way to carry the grief of an absent father when you are trying to fit into your cliques and bras and skin. There is no clear place to put it so you sit it down. It gets shuffled around until it’s firmly under your step-father’s suspicion. His suspicion that you have lost your mind for slipping his home number to more boys than you can see futures with. But you haven’t lost your mind. You have lost your father; your way, your safe lap. And so you search laps from Pasadena to Muskegon and like that traveling girl with the golden locks, discover that so many of them are too big or too small, too warm or too cold. They are not kind or true and so you swallow the losses; the things you have to leave as toll; currency for the exploration of nothing. Nothing just right. Never. And so “never” is your new song. Never love. Never trust. Never fall for it. Never care. Not ever. But “never” is a kind of paralysis. Never move. Never cry. Never try. Never paint. Never write. Never share. Never help. Never give in, until the absence throws you up like so much bad fruit. And so you swing to the worse; “always.” Always call. Always do. Always cry. Always give. Always believe. Always burn, seethe, peel, tear, never heal – and back again. Spend it all on love (read:sex), then clothes, then books, then therapy, then gas - $2.98 a gallon to drive to a sprawling Lancaster prison and search his face for all of the tiny pieces I need in order to put it together; to fix and fill my life.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Go ahead, ask me. I dare you.

February 20, 2006

Robin - 31,
Raleigh, NC
1 son (2)

I love my job.
I love my husband.
I love my little boy. He turned 2 in January. He is a joy.

But ohhhh...

Some days I want to come home and not have anything or anybody need something from me. The dog needs me to take him outside, the baby needs his diaper changed and he needs a cup of juice and he needs a snack and he wants to watch the Wiggles and dinner needs to be cooked, dishes need to be washed and put away, the kitchen floor needs to be swept and the laundry needs finishing, the bed sheets need changing, the bathrooms need cleaning, my husband needs me to proofread his website or give him advice on his business, his mother needs us to help her move to her new house, my dad needs me to call him at least once a week, my emotionally needy friends need me to listen to their potential life mistakes but not offer any con
trary advice. The first time I sit down is at dinner while I eat. Nobody even thinks to ask what I NEED or WANT…..

I need to pee when I first get home.

But I am mama and I must persevere. I must take a deep breath, and do all that is asked of me. Some days are better than others of course, and it’s nothing I would consider walking away from.

But sometimes I feel like screaming.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Operation: Stepping into motherhood

February 20, 2006

Schunetta Burns-Wilson - 31
Pomona, CA
4 Step-Children: 3 girls (13), (10), (8) and 1 boy (4)

Wow, to be a mom....

I often wonder what it would be like. I watched my mother struggle as a single parent, doing the best she could with what she had. I often thought,"man oh man she is strong."

I have felt like a young mother at times when I had to watch my little brother; nurture him the best I could while she was away. She would always say "don't worry, just have a little talk with Jesus. It goes a long way." In those days I always told her that I would never call another woman mom. We even joked sometimes about step moms and I always commented, "steps are made to be walked on."

That was until July 31, 2004 when I became a step-mom to four beautiful children who adore me. This helped me realize that I am just that, a step for them. I want them to be able to take the right steps and avoid some of the pitfalls that I had to deal with. I want to help them with making the steps, to do even better than I did and step into every phase of their lives with their heads held high. I truly believe that God is preparing me for my own motherhood, which is to come soon -by faith I claim it.

Oh God, how awesome it is to be a mom. I can’t wait for the times that I can just look into the eyes of what you have made through me, and praise you for all the opportunities that I have to love them. I will do my best to give them back to you as my mom has done with me.

Monday, February 20, 2006

They ain't heavy, they're my babies

February 19, 2006

Julia - 51
Padsdena, CA
3 children - (33), (30), (21)
5 grandchildren -(10), (7), (4), twin boys (deceased)

My baby just turned 21 on Friday, Feb 17, and it made me take a long hard look at the years when all of my children were growing up. There have been ups and downs, as in any family; disappointment for sure, but the joys far outweighed the disappointments. I truly believe that trials and tribulations make a family stronger. Especially if your perspectives are in the right place and there is unconditional love and commitment.
I have always known that my children have been my saving grace, and no matter how bad things looked, there has never been a time when I regretted having them. Oh! I would have liked a little vacation away from them (which I took as often as possible) or to run away for the day, but for the most part I can truly say that I enjoyed raising my children. They helped to keep my priorities in order, and to realize that at this particular season of my life that it wasn’t about me, but about them.
I thank God that he has blessed me with the love, wisdom, strength and courage to be the best mother I could be in the face of my wonderful blessing. There are things that I wish I could have done differently - most definitely - but there were lessons learned, even in those things I thought were failures on my part.
My children are all very unique and different in their own rights, yet my love for them is unconditional and unwavering. They are all trotting their own paths in life, and I trust God that He will continue to work a good work in them, never give them peace in sin, and that they will love Him with all their hearts. My constant prayer is that they realize and know that “They can do all things through Christ that strengthens them”, and that He has a wonderful plan for their lives; as men and women, son and daughters, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives. I pray that they realize the value of the relationships with the people God places in their lives and to know that there is a lesson to be learned from those relationships. That they to will know the joys of being parents to the fullest.

And God has now so graciously given me 3 wonderful grandchildren to love and nurture. I know that Niem and Nasir are watching over their Nani from heaven. Thank you Lord for the brief precious moment I had with them.
I watch in amazement at the wonderful job my children are doing as parents. Their parenting skills may differ in ways, but I thank God that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the love that I gave my children continues to flow to my grandchildren, unconditionally and unwavering; it is what truly matters.

God is good