KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
I was sitting at our dining room table as my mom brought in our dinner.
“Watch this!” My brother announced as he gripped the edges of the table cloth.
“Don’t you do it,” my mother said as I realigned my vision to the table to spite my brother by not looking.
I saw the fabric vanish, leaving the wood of the table exposed. Not a single crumb was disturbed, no drinks splashed. I still don’t know how he did it, but it is the coolest thing I have ever seen to this day.
“Oh my god that was amazing, nothing even moved,” my mother exclaimed. We all started laughing hysterically.
I didn’t need my birth father in my life, because my mom taught us everything we needed to know and was there when we needed her.
Being able to call myself a mother now is strange, almost foreign. When I think of my mother I think of a warrior who fought to keep a positive environment and secure a future for me and my brother.
My mother taught us important lessons at a young age that I hope to teach my child; don’t bite other kids, tacos can be more than meat and cheese and he can be whoever he wants to be, unless he’s a bad person.
I have been scared this whole first year of raising my child, Nova. His first two months were spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit during the pandemic in a different state.
We couldn’t stay every day, but his father, Michael, and I drove up there every chance we got to see him. We had to go into the hospital one person at a time because of the limited visitors due to COVID-19.
It was hard, I wouldn’t have had the strength to stop myself from worrying without Michael there.
Once we got Nova home, it was a series of nights waking up to feed him or check and make sure he’s not too cold or hot and still surviving with a clean diaper.
Every day turned into a balancing act between work, time with Michael, time to myself and time to take care of Nova. Walking the tightrope has opened my eyes to what I have around me, such as my net, Michael, who can catch me if I fall.
As Nova hit the one year mark, I feel I’ve outgrown a lot of my worry, like he’s outgrown clothes. He’s a happy little baby that looks away to smile when strangers say hi to him.
I can’t wait to be there to help him grow, learn and try new things. The word “Mother” may not resonate with me, but I do feel like a mentor, ready to show my son how beautiful life is and how to value it.