Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Adventures of motherhood

I closed my eyes and when I opened them, my helpless infant who did nothing but eat, sleep and cry had become a strong willed and determined little girl, who chased and tormented our two little yorkies with her walker. It’s been nine short months since the addition of baby Z (aka baby Diva) to our family and we could not be any happier. She has added an element of fun and adventure to our family that we did not know was missing but have become accustomed to.

In the weeks that I spent at the hospital, I had limited contact with her. I worried that she would not remember me or that she would not know that I was her mommy. In the hospital, my most vivid memories of her were as a tiny helpless baby, just starting to discover the world around her.

Baby Z and I before our separation
photo courtesy of Mister Lule Photography

Upon my discharge from the hospital, I came home to an active and spunky little girl who instantly recognized me as her mommy.

Just when I thought that I had this mommy thing down to a science, little Z manages to switch everything up. Her personality is a perfect blend of her mommy and daddy. She has been guilty of giving people the side-eye (which everyone accuses me of) since the day she was born. Just like her father, nothing can deter her when she has her mind set on doing something. This little girl is a smart, stubborn, free-spirited firecracker. I never knew anyone could bring me such joy but she shows me a different side of love with each passing day. I enjoy seeing her personality develop. I love to hear her laugh. Her smile melts my heart and can brighten even the darkest of days.

 Reunited and it feels so good!

I have accepted the fact that I am not the perfect mother. I try to be the best mother that I can be. I am her mother, and I am exactly who God chose to love, comfort, protect and teach her. Motherhood keeps me looking around the bend for more adventures to come!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Bereavement

“Don't go far off, not even for a day, because,
I don't know how to say it - a day is long and
I will be waiting for you,
as in an empty station when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.
Don't leave  me, even  for an hour…”
 – Pablo Neruda

“What is wrong?” She asked me with trepidation in her voice. Perhaps it was the distraught look on my face or the pool of tears that instantly welled up in my eyes. Either way, she knew that I had just received some bad news. I struggled to hold it in, to reign in my emotions, afraid that if I let myself cry, I would never stop. I got off the phone with my husband and pulled myself up to a sitting position in my hospital bed. “My grandmother!” I exclaimed through bouts of broken breaths. I did not need to say more;  she understood. She came over to where I sat and gave me a hug. She enveloped me, and I simply clung on. I managed to calm myself down and when I was ready, she sat with me. My only grandmother was gone… Dani, my direct connection to my roots, was. no. more. Reality refused to sink in. I started to bargain with God. Lord, if you only let it not be true then I will do whatever you need. I got angry. Why would this happen to our family, especially at a time like this? I even experienced hope.  I expected my phone to ring anytime and for me to hear that everyone was mistaken, that she was alive and well…the phone never rang.

                All the regrets and wasted time flooded my mind. I knew she was old, but she had always been there, a permanent fixture. Dani was always there as long as I could remember, she always looked the same, never changing, never looking old, but still old because of the passage of time. I cursed time. I cursed the distance, and I cursed my inability to do anything meaningful. I felt powerless. She never met my husband; she never met my daughter; I never said goodbye. My friend sat there and simply listened. She knew because she had also lost her beloved grandmother. In the hours to come, my friend and I talked about our grandmothers. She showed me a picture of her beautiful and regal looking grandmother. We celebrated their lives through our memories. By the time she left my hospital room, I was calm and ready to face my reality. Then the night came and with it. My memories and sadness resurfaced. I cried all night and the next day, and the next. The nurses who came to my room reassured me that all would be alright. I could tell they wanted to do more, but felt powerless. Sometimes I smiled, sometimes I cried. They did not interrupt, they just let me be, and let me know that they were there if I needed anything.  

Grief is a strange beast. The stages are random and they can occur at anytime. If you are reading this entry hoping for wisdom and insight, I am sorry, there is none from me. I just needed to see my thoughts written on paper, to make sense of and cement my loss.  I have to accept and believe that things will work out. We each have a purpose to fulfill in this life, and my Dani had simply fulfilled her life’s journey. She may not have lived a lavish and lush life, but she lived a long time. A child of the 20’s in the harsh conditions of Africa, she lived through some things. My hope is that she has found her way through the maze of eternal life. I look forward to being reunited with her when God calls me home, then perhaps I would be able to tell her all that I wanted to say.  As for me, my heart is still broken and I am still patiently waiting for acceptance.

                                Rest in Love Getruda Kipande Okello, my Dani. Until we meet again.

Olorun mi, gba adura mi (My God, hear my prayer)
When you take all the ones we love
We’ll carry on and it won’t be long
I pray to be strong
Olorun mi, gba adura mi (My God, hear my prayer)

                                                                                     -Tiwa Savage

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

McDonald's needs a table

Apparently a lot of things go on in the Athens Texas McDonald’s bathroom floor and changing babies happen to be on that list! While traveling from Austin Texas with our newborn (Baby Diva), my husband and I found ourselves passing through the huge metropolis of Athens Texas (population 12,846). We decided to stop, eat, change and feed the baby. The Golden Arches of the small town McDonald’s beckoned. Our decision was cemented by the fact that this particular McDonald's had a huge play area (think slides and ball pit). Surely a kid friendly place like that would have a changing table...right? WRONG! I apprehensively went to the bathroom to change my little one (Even though I have a small portable changing pad that I put on top of the changing stations, I hate using the changing stations in public areas.) It was too cold to attempt to change Baby Diva in our cramped car. I went to both restrooms and could not find the changing station. Fearing that I was missing something, I flagged down an employee who was sweeping the floors outside of the restrooms. I asked her where the changing stations were and her answer left my jaws agape. With a straight face she answered, that they did not have any but mothers usually change their babies on the restroom floor... Yes, you read that right...the restroom floor...WHAT THE HELL McDonald's! You can afford to have an intricate and obviously expensive indoor playground, but no changing table! Where do they do that at? (Yes, I know that I just ended this sentence with a preposition, but the tomfoolery warranted it). If no changing table, how about a small table? Common sense would dictate that any establishment that purports to cater to children should have something as simple as that. Parents and customers who frequent the establishment should demand a changing station instead of changing their babies on the germ infested restroom floor. I am still shaking my head at the entire experience. McDonald's in Athens Texas gets a huge side-eye from me.