I’m her provider of food and clothes, rest and shelter, love and guidance; I'm her Mama. When she sees something new, she always asks, “Mama! Did you see it?” When she sings to a song on the radio, she demands, "Sing, Mama!" When I cuss at another driver on the road, she scolds, "Mama!"
She's my world, the air I breathe. My life.
I remember updating my Facebook account days after first being home with her to include a quote: "This is what it's all about."
I meant her.
She's the reason I was put here on the earth…the reason I lived the shitty times…the reason I kept going. This became clear the moment she was placed in my arms.
I imagine that every parent feels this way, right? I mean…they must.
My mom was barely 18 when she had my sister. The first four years of my sister's life was spent with my grandparents. After my mom met and married my dad, my sister moved in with them and my dad adopted her. My parents then had my brother, and years later, me. We lived the American Dream in a suburban bungalow. When I was 9, my parents split and my mother morphed into a partyer. I became the parent while both my siblings escaped by joining the armed forces as soon as legally possible.
By her mid-20s, my sister had her first two kids. When they were pre-teens, she left them with her soon to be ex-husband, seeing the kids when it was convenient for her. Years passed and she remarried and had a third child whom she left when he was 11. She still has a relationship with all of her children (and a grandbaby), but, again, she’s flying solo these days.
My brother was a daddy by 23. Several years later, his wife left the boy with my brother and the two became inseparable. About eight years later when the boy started becoming rebellious, my brother allowed him to live with his ex-wife. My brother then moved thousands of miles away and it’s been years since he’s even talked to the boy, now 20.
I know these lives are theirs and not mine, yet I still can’t help but wonder if I will follow this same path. I pray daily that it stops with me.
It must stop with me, I think as I sit back down next to my lovebug. “Thanks, Mama!” she beams, taking the sippy cup from my hand and laying her head full of curls back on my chest.