Family

Dear Mother, We had a pleasing day on Sunday as the six of us cooked for you, washed your feet and fixed you up as our Queen who still reigns over us after all these years. I am glad that you enjoyed the coconut-cassava-callaloo soup that I invented specially for you. It felt good for us to be boss over you for just this one day in the year. Yeah, we loved it and Mamsie says she has never seen you look so lovely. She saw every crease in your face, even those wrinkle lines on your hand glow with love, and you know Mamsie, she is good at noticing things the rest of us can’t see. We love you, Ma. Plenty. But something is on my mind, troubling me. All of us, even little Kwame, we find you to be a smart woman who can manage tough problems. I mean even the manager at my workplace would...
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Dear Friend and Single Mom, I wanted to take a moment this Mother’s Day to say “thank you”. I know you don’t get the consistent affirmation or accolades that you deserve for all that you do. And even on Mother’s Day, when moms all across America are being honored and celebrated, you may not get breakfast in bed or have a collection of hand made cards presented to you. You may not get the “day off” from cooking or taking care of the kids. And I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you, but you probably won’t get to sleep in like you often dream of. There probably won’t be anyone to tell you that you’re doing your job right and celebrate the positive influence you have on your kids. But that is not a reflection of the job you are doing. Today, I want you to know that YOU ARE AMAZING...
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Dear Gayle Riedmann CNM, I don’t remember you, and most likely you do not remember me, but we have met. Twenty-Six years ago on this day in 1988, at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, you were the midwife to my twenty-year-old mother. Even though we do not remember each other, my mother will never forget you. She never forgot your name and she never forgot how you two had gotten to know each other in the months prior to my birth in her prenatal visits. I’m sure she was scared and undoubtedly nervous about giving birth to her first child the day I was born, and I am sure that she leaned on you for strength and compassion. My then 18-year-old father had departed only 3 days prior to my birth for basic training for the Army, but whenever she has spoken about her first...
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Mom, I know you read my work, so I'm writing you this letter here to say many things I have said before, but probably not all at once, and perhaps a few I have never said. It all basically boils down to this: you were, and are, a good mother, and although I am not what you expected, you didn't let that stop you. I think sometimes you have trouble believing that. You were born and grew up in a different time, in a different world. The world of the last fifteen years must seem very strange and very complicated to someone raised as a little girl in the 1950s and grew to womanhood in the 1960s, entering the workforce in the 1970s. Although you never mentioned it to me when I was a child—you were far too busy—you have since told me how much you truly desired what society told you was your...
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Dear Friends and Family, By now, you have probably noticed that there is something different about me. I’m conspicuously absent from family get-togethers, tailgating, happy hour, and sadly enough – even some of my kids’ school or sports events. If I haven’t seen you for awhile and we start talking, my mind probably drifts off into somewhere else, only to zone back in 20 seconds later as I nod and I try to fake like I know what you just said. Forgive me, it’s not intentional – it’s really not. If I had my choice, the two of us could sit down for coffee and chat for hours on end and you would have my complete undivided attention. You see, I am trying to accomplish something for my career and my future that is extremely draining on just about every level – emotionally, financially,...
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Dear David, I think it is such a shame that things worked out the way they did between us. It was so stressful to spend that month or two with you. I kept hoping you would somehow awaken from the darkness in your soul to let some light in, to let the truth in. I still can’t quite believe that you threatened to slit my throat. But you did. I feel sorry for you that you insist on believing that I didn’t respect you or your work. I feel sorry for you that you believe that being abusive is a sign of manliness. I feel sorry for you that you have not fulfilled the potential you had. What a waste. You were so beautiful. So talented. How is it that you ended up so mentally misguided? I remember that as a child you used to pull the feathers off the parakeets and they died. I remember...
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My dearest darling child. I am writing this letter to you as a permanent reminder of how wonderful you are, and to tell you that no matter what happens, you will always shine. I say this not just as your mom, but because of how much you have enriched all our lives and how you will go on to enrich the lives of others you are yet to meet. Things you have struggled with have become my struggles, while all the wonderful things you accomplished in your short life so far have brought me more joy than anything I could have ever imagined. When I look into your eyes, I see such hope for humanity, and for the type of world we should all live in. A world filled with kindness for everything and everyone, whether it is a smile, a simple gesture or simply being there. This is what you bring to...
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Dear Parents, My baby girl never heard me tell her I loved her the first two years of her life. It wasn't that I didn't love her, or that I didn't tell her every day, but rather that she had a hearing loss that went undetected for those two years, and was unable to hear any speech. There was no newborn hearing screening process in the hospital where she was born. You may now be home from the hospital with your new baby, up to your EARS in diapers and midnight feedings, and enjoying the new life that has joined your family. If your baby was screened for hearing loss and you were referred for a second screening/ or diagnostics, now that you are home, your inclination may be to just let it go, and wait. Please don't. Go back for the second screening, and if advised, on to an...
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Dear Parents-to-Be, You have no idea -- NO IDEA -- what you are getting into. I am thrilled to be a mother. Really, I am. My three darling children cause me -- in addition to the rare headache and occasional string of obscenities -- boundless degrees of happiness and immense pride. I love being "mommy." I can't get enough hugs and kisses, despite the excessive mucus that sometimes accompanies them. I adore the idea of molding these little beings into contributing members of society. It's a challenge I relish. Despite being madly in love with motherhood, I can't help waxing poetic on occasion about my pre-child days. If anyone tries to tell you that your life will be the same after children as it was before, they are lying to you, plain and simple. Honestly, everything changes...
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The thoughts of this woman have visited me many times and today I get to talk about it. I get to say it how I have seen it for the past two years. Since you never said it before, I suggest you buckle up and listen up. She is a slave, but a free slave. She is not your typical woman, not by a long shot. The things she does can seldom be quantified. She has lost the last dignity she’s been holding onto since she was young because the society expects….err…. demands so much from her, 10 times more than they demand from her companion – the man. Despite showing a happy face, catering to her husband, to her children and to the society; she cries, but her crying is never heard. Every time she comes home, Uganda’s unpaid woman is worried because she knows that she is coming home to double...
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