May 12, 2013

The Original Super Single Mom

Life lately has been tough.  Something I did not think I would be doing is raising children on my own.  While there father is a participant in their lives, it really is not like I can say I have a partner in raising these children.  I find myself giving 99.999999% of what should really be a shared experience. I have wrestled a very long time with this fact.  I attribute this to my own childhood.  Sarge was always a very active participant father and most loving partner in my childhood.  I was truly blessed to have two parents in the early part of my life. Lately my lovely insomnia has hit me at 3 AM.  Somewhere in my mind something was stirring, maybe the fact that some days I feel stretched over two times over, worried about Kindergarten progress, summer vacation plans, how to effectively get help for getting the kids around.  I have felt pretty alone and overwhelmed lately.  Then it hit me the other day.  I am not the only one this has happened to.

October 9, 1983 Mami became a single mother and a widow.  I remember sitting next to her holding my hand just outside the IC unit that my father was in when a nurse came out to call someone else in the hallway.  This moment is burned in my memory only because the nurse had blood, my fathers blood all on the front of her crisp white scrubs.  Mami pulled me in close and tried to shield my fragile 12 year old eyes from seeing what I was seeing.  In her arms I shook with fear.  We both held each other for what seemed like a very long time until the doctor came out and said my father was gone.  Our world as we knew it was gone. 

I still remember listening to Mami cry night after night after he was gone.  Somehow in the mornings all that was gone and she got breakfast on the table and me out the door to school.  While I was at school she managed to arrange for a funeral, my care after school, and make other arrangements for our future. Mami became my advocate when people insisted that I wear black to the funeral when she knew all I wanted to do was wear my dad's favorite dress for me.  She didn't know I heard that argument she had, but I did.  I became less alone at that moment.  Mami would always have my best interest at heart.  She knew I was grieving the loss of my best friend.  She made sure the school knew I was going through issues and that I would not be the same child. 

Mami found a way to babysit children at home and get me what I needed.  I needed for someone to home to after school, security.  I always had clean clothes, a roof over my head, vacations, someone to show up at my school events. The most amazing thing to me was that she didn't drive a single day in her life and still doesnt' to this day.  The first vacation we took after my dad was to Florida, on a bus. Yes, a bus from California to Florida.  Years later I wondered, how? How did she come up with the money, how did she make the arrangements, how did she know we were going to be safe on the trip?

I looked back on that recently and knew, just knew that it was the same love I feel for my own children.  For many times that I feel defeated and alone, I remember Mami.  She did this alone, with no family nearby to support her.  Just her will to give me everything I needed and things that I wanted.  The love a mother knows no boundaries.  It does not know about her own grief, but knows about her child's grief.  I am the super single mom today thanks in part to all those experiences that Mami gave me and made it seem effortless.  Her grief, her loneliness, her struggles, all set aside.  So when people question how I do it all for my the Things I just hold my head high and say "I'm Super Mom Jr.". 

On this day I honor you Mami,  you survived my teenage years alone, I too shall make it through.

Happy Mother's day all!

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