Every time I see my mother we get closer. I know that seems bogus but here’s the explanation; for most of my life I lived without my mother being a door away and my father was non existent. My grandparents took over my welfare when my mother moved to the US so that she can have the opportunity to provide a better life for me and of course in time assist me with coming to the US to find better opportunities myself.
When I was younger, I never really missed my mom. I was with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who were all close and lived and operated as a unit. I moved to live with my grandparents when I was 7 so I was still making childhood bonds and was completely carefree in thought. It wasn’t till I was much older that I would think the living arrangement I had being away from my mom for a long time was peculiar.
It started with the books I read really: descriptions of nuclear families and how they functioned; visits to grandparents and the occasional meeting of cousins for some special family changing occasion. Then came the teasing. Yes. Kids can be cruel and in a society where children and parent were discussed and gossiped about at length it wasn’t long till almost everyone I knew in my class was sure I was a nobody. No father and a mother who was an echo of times long gone.
Being a mixed kid or appearing as a mixed kid didn’t help either. Indo/afro Caribbean tensions were high and children are often the forerunners with what they hear at home. A lot of importance was placed on the purity of my family; some were indian and other were not and it became a frightful spectacle at times during recess. Not being able to play with the indian kids or the black kids for fear of teasing.
I made it through primary school early and well beyond the years of the kids around me and to a good school but the lesson I learned in Primary school will never leave me and being in the US it is reinforced everyday since I’m considered a minority in this country as well. There are people that will think they are better than you simply because of how they look, their race and who their parents are. This way of thinking is a irrevocable stain on the people who are in charge of moving us forward as a country and as a civilization.
Coming full circle with my rant here, just bear with me.
I used to blame my mother for the choices she made, as a teenager I was bitter and angry that I had to go through the teasing and the pain and I wanted her to at least ask or acknowledge that things could have been done differently and that I could have a voice in my own life and how it was led but I realize now that I’m adult myself that adults aren’t always privy to making the right decisions and I saw that only after making my own mistakes and having to deal with the repercussions emotionally and other wise.
I knew she was trying her best, trying to raise me as best as she could even though she wasn’t there to do it. What kind of relationship would we have if I was with her at 7 when she was working two jobs and barely getting enough sleep before she had to start the next day.
Now I can see that being away from her was the better option and little by little that feelings of hurt and neglect are receding as quickly as they came.
I love my mother. There was never any doubt but now I can also appreciate her as an adult can appreciate another who has sacrificed much of their life for them.
So every time I see my mother our relationship gets stronger and every time I hear her laugh I know that every thing is going to be just fine. I wish that I would be half as resilient, wise and beautiful as she is one day.
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