Dripping River Water


That Type of Mother March 29, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 4:21 am

I was a sickly child, colds with high fevers.  Mami cut garbage bags into shirts to make me sweat it out.  She also made circles to put over my back and chest out of big brown paper bags; she rubbed Vicks VaporRub on them like her mami did.

I remembered this as I put blankets on my son after he fell asleep.  As I was reading him a book he asked for more medicine.  He either has a cold or bad allergies; I had already given him Claratin and Chinese herbs.  I then remembered the Vicks VaporRub, a staple in any Caribbean Latino’s home.

There are things that are so different with my kids than how I was raised.  We live in a house for one thing.  I let my son play by himself in the backyard.  I watch him through the window as he sits in his plastic jeep without a battery contemplating life.  He waters the garden and comes in to play.  I let him get dirty; I brush off his knees when he falls; I dare him to not be scared and he isn’t.  We have books and instruments and we spend lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking.  I let him stir and pour ingredients.  When he acts out I ask him if he needs a hug.  He says, “lo siento” and I forgive him.  My kids watch my husband and I kiss.  They see love between us sometimes they see us argue-I would like to stop that one.

The things that are the same is the lessons taught in manners and ways to be.  I sing them the same lullabies my mami sang to me.  We talk to our family, we eat rice and beans.  I teach them about Cuba and have started to tell them about my childhood.  My mami was the first person to teach me to pray as I have taught my children.  It may not be the same prayers or in the same ways but I am building their love of God just like my mami did with me.  There are hugs and kisses and I love yous.

When I look into my children’s eyes I see their love for me.  That look reminds me that being a mother surpasses any other occupation I’ve ever had.  I sometimes don’t feel the same when I clean or do their laundry or change their diapers but when I hear their laughter and play the drums with them I feel content.

I was a lonely child.  My mami swept as I told her stories but she didn’t listen to them.  When I find myself absorbed in my own thoughts or what I am reading on the internet while my child is talking I stop myself.  I know I can’t be perfect but I don’t want them to remember me not being there for them.  I want them to know I go through various emotions but I don’t want them to think they have a crazy mother.  I want to be stable and loving and someone they could trust and turn to.  I want them to think I am beautiful.  Maybe I am being vain but I want that.   I want to teach them about life and have them understand me.  I want to not judge them or hold them back or be resentful of their mistakes and choices.    Maybe I could do that.  Maybe I could be that type of mother.

the end.


After heart surgery March 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 8:45 pm

My daughter is home now.  She acts like nothing has happened.  There is a scar down her chest.  Not such a straight line from her collarbone to beneath her nipple line.  Each time we changed the dressing in the hospital they told me it looked good.  I didn’t believe them but then thought it could be worse.  There could be puss or blood or who knows what.  Azalea sits at the kitchen table eating black beans and gnaws at some broccoli.  She pretends that she didn’t spend five days in the hospital, a couple of them drugged up on morphine.

It is surreal.  I check her breathing constantly.  I am waiting for something to happen.  It won’t, inshaAllah.

I started writing stories about asking the world to pray for her.  I never finished them.  I didn’t have time before her surgery.  I asked everyone who I knew; everyone I spoke to; I even asked the two Jehovah Witnesses that came to my door.  You never know who’s prayers God will listen to.  Even the people who don’t pray and just have positive thoughts, I asked them to share their positive thoughts with my daughter.

Azalea smiles a lot and even laughs at my baby jokes.

I slept most of the nights at the hospital.  My son, Omar, had to adjust to not have me in my bed to cuddle up with when he woke up in the middle of the night.  One morning I came home right around fajr; I prayed and crawled into his bed and held him in my arms.  I still hadn’t been able to hold Azalea with all the tubes and wires coming from her body .  He woke up and said, “Mami.”  His smile and eyes showed his surprise.  I missed him.

I am with my kids everyday.  They are part of me now.  I am unsure how to be without them.  I lost a part of myself and then gained so much more.  I wonder what kind of mother I will continue to be.

the end.