This is one of my first attempts at nonfiction which is not my favorite genre. This is something that I had been trying to write since late 2012 but never managed to write until I took a class last year. I am still trying to tweak it but I am sharing a bit of the piece today.
When asked about myself, I have often led with the fact that I am a mama’s girl. I have always taken pride in being my mother’s daughter. And in the moments on October 11th, 2012 when our family found out that her death was imminent I felt as if I had been struck. The idea that I would end 2012 without her was like a physical blow. I remember bending over her and saying that I wasn’t strong enough to live without her. I didn’t know how, or whether, I would be able to exist without her. She was my first best friend, my confidante, and the barometer against which I measured myself. Although she had spent our lives together raising me to be strong, independent and an individual.
My mother was seventeen when I was born and sixteen when she became pregnant with me. Our closeness was partially a result of that short gap between us and partially because of who she was. I was always inquisitive so I knew when I was fairly young that I was at my mother’s graduation and by the time I was thirteen, I knew that my mother didn’t have to give birth to me. My mom was her parents baby, as the youngest giving birth to a child as a teenager would cause her to forfeit her dream of being an architect. Although, she didn’t become an architect, she wanted me to accomplish all of my dreams. From her hospital bed, she proudly told her respiratory therapist “my baby is working on her second Masters.” She always made sure to let me know when she was proud of me and when I could do better. Our closeness does not mean that she wasn’t a parent to me. She was always, first and foremost, my mother but she wanted me to know that I could tell her anything. When I was in the third grade, I got suspended from school for one day for throwing a workbook at a classmate and cutting his neck. I remember waiting for my mother on out front porch in East Trenton, New Jersey with trepidation. I can clearly recall thinking of all of the things that I wouldn’t get to see once my mom killed me for getting suspended. I would never become a teenager, never have a sweet sixteen, never go to college or get married. When she arrived home from work, she sat beside me and asked what was wrong. I told her in broken sentences what happened earlier in the day. Her response, laughter. “You hit him in the neck? But you can’t throw!” she said between tears. I sat there stupidly looking at her. Here I was thinking that I would never see another day and she was laughing.