Dripping River Water


Thoughts on Being a Mother July 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 10:27 pm
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The other day I thought of Coco Fusco.  I don’t know why.  I always liked her art although I couldn’t understand her book, English is Broken Here.  I was still grateful that someone was doing performance artistry and academia in such a beautiful way.  I could never be as smart as Coco Fusco but I do hope one day I could have her motivation and determination.  That is one thing I have realized while spending so many hours at home caring for my child: I let fear keep me from succeeding in ways that were possible for me.  Now I am a stay-at-home mother and I feel like I have to start all over again.  I can do that, inshaAllah.  You make a mistake and you start over.  It’s like riding a bike but I learned how to ride one when I was 30 years old.  Call me a late bloomer.  I don’t think I have blossomed yet.    I have planted my own seed this time, I am starting all over again and this time I will work harder than before, inshaAllah.

I take parenting seriously.  I am always thinking of ways I can cultivate my child to be the best person he can be.  I read an article about Coco Fusco’s parenting in this new website on motherhood called Mater Mea.  She stated this and I felt we were on the same page:

What kind of man do you hope your son becomes?

I want him to be a thoughtful person and a caring person, a moral and an ethical person who understands right and wrong and wants to do good in the world and treat people well. I also want him to be a person who’s happy with himself, who accepts himself as he is and accepts others as well. I think that’s really important. I don’t want him to be narrow minded; I want him to be an open-minded person. You know, we talk a lot about these kinds of things and I try to find ways to talk that he will understand.  -Coco Fusco

My friends came over and gave me a break yesterday.  Hana took Omar to visit her in-laws and Kathy took my stepdaughter, Ella, to the movies and back to her place to make almond milk.  They both brought me food.  I was and continue to be so grateful.  I have friends that really love me and support me.  I didn’t nap but watched a movie with my husband.  He took a break from tiling the bathroom and schoolwork to spend time with me.  I hope I could be as good to others as they are to me.  I hope that my children will demonstrate the same kindness and thoughtfulness that my friends and family display.

I have two more weeks to my due date.  I am glad it takes this long to have a baby.  I am finally at peace and looking forward to meeting my daughter.  I know that “my life will be on hold” for more years to give the best care for Azalea and Omar.  I sometimes struggle with that.  I feel not that intelligent, not that motivated. I feel very simple and not myself.  I feel bad about complaining because it may seem I am not grateful.  I want to give to my children but I also want them to see my strengths and I hope that will influence them to be good citizens in this world.  I know I can’t have it all at the same time.  Some things have to be sacrificed during certain points of my life because it is not just about me.  I am not aiming to just please myself nor sacrificing myself fully for others.  I want to think of what benefits everyone: myself, my family, my friends, my community, society-at-large.

There are moments that I feel alone but then I read articles and see my friends and laugh really loud and cry while I pray and I know I am not alone.


the end.


Why I still nurse my 21 month old son May 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 4:37 pm
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This is not Omar but it sure resembles him.  Adam would not like me posting a picture of me breastfeeding.  Thanks www.mommajorje.com for this pic.



I really wanted to stop when he was 18 months old.  That was the plan.  I started to wean Omar when he was 15 months and it was really difficult.  I was still in my first trimester, pregnant with my second child-a bit crazy.  I am not the sanest of pregnant women.  I realized after experiencing it twice that I have perinatal depression.  It sucks.  I am much better but it still sucks.

I couldn’t take him crying and screaming and begging for my milk.  I was alone in the house with him and I thought knocking my head through the wall would be a better option.  I never did that.  I just stopped trying to wean him.  Without the physical support from my husband or anyone else I couldn’t do it alone.

I cut down on the milk by having him fall asleep in the car instead of in his bed while I nursed him.  I took him out to the parks more often and he would forget about my milk supply.  All he wanted to do was play.

I had somewhat of a break.

My mother came to stay with us for a month and a half and I thought surely that would be the best time to wean him and potty train him.

I was wrong.

I found out while my mami was here that my unborn child has a single ventricle heart defect.  I went to get the ultrasound by myself and knew when the technician wasn’t so cheery telling me all the details as she moved through examining my daughter’s body parts that something was just not right.

I began nursing my son more.  How could I not indulge him?  I weaned him from night nursing.  It only took one night of him crying and yelling at me for an hour while I sat patiently next to him.  He still wakes up a couple of times a night.  I lay next to him and pat him on his back.  I mainly sleep in his bed.

Sometimes I go to this playgroup in my neighborhood.  The mothers are Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Guatemalan, Moroccan and Eritrean.  It is a diverse bunch that sometimes splits off by language.  I go between the Latinas and Muslims.

The Asian women were surprised with my big belly.  Omar was 9 lbs and 1 oz when he was born.  I am only 4’11 1/2.  This belly is smaller than when I carried him.  They tried to give me more food because I am eating for two.  I told them, three-I still feed Omar.  They gasped and then got on my case about still nursing him while pregnant.  I nodded and smiled.  The polite thing I’ve learned to do when people give me unwanted parenting advice.

I haven’t gone back.

Now I am in my last trimester and stay home when I am not at the three doctor’s appointments I go to weekly.  We go from room to room, to the backyard and sometimes go on walks in the neighborhood.  Being so physically close to me is a great reminder for Omar that I can still give him milk.  He asks more often and I nurse him.  Not because he wants it but because I want the opportunity to lay down, read a book and maybe take a nap.  Sometimes he wakes up around 5 in the morning.  I am so exhausted in the morning that I make him go back to sleep around 9 A.M.  I can only do this if I nurse him.  We sleep for another two hours and I thank God for this precious gift of milk.

Knowing that I may be in and out of the hospital because Azalea, my unborn child, may need heart surgery right after birth I figured I would still nurse Omar through this process.  I won’t be home as much and I want to be able to bond with him when I am home.  I want to hold him like a baby and tell him that I love him while he nurses and looks into my eyes.

By Islamic standards it is a great benefit for the child to be nursed until he is 2 years old.  2 years 4 months the max.  I always told myself two years and then have wanted less than that because I am pregnant.

Sometimes it hurts.  My supply is low but it is still there.  I figure this is the best I could give him.  I can only pray that I will be able to give Azalea the same.  I don’t know if I will be able to breastfeed her.  I don’t know what she will drink.  If she will latch.  It seems odd to me that a baby who will need so much nutrition may not be able to breastfeed.  InshaAllah that won’t happen.

the end.



Everything on the line April 29, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 8:34 pm
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My husband put up a clothes line for me.  Our backyard is in shambles.  He is demolishing the back unit that we thought we would rent out to pay for most of the mortgage.  Unfortunately, we found so much mold and termites that we could never have someone live there.  Now there are boards and pieces of walls knocked down.  There are nails all over the ground; I have to watch where I step carefully.

I don’t like to be in the backyard right now unless I am drying clothes.  It reminds me of being a child.  In our small apartment in Brooklyn we only had a washer between the sink and the stove in the kitchen.  In the spring and summer I would help my mother dry the clothes by putting them out on the line from the windows of our bedrooms.  In the concrete backyard  there was a big pole that had spokes to connect a clothes line or two from each apartment.

As a child I color coordinated our clothes line.  I pretended to be out in the country somewhere; the sun shining on my face, wearing an apron with a pocket big enough to hold all my clothes pins.  I pretended to be somewhere else and now as I put each article of clothing on the clothes line I am reminded of all those memories.

There is something peaceful when you let yourself be present in your chores.  I stop complaining and start smiling.  I take the moments to hear the birds chirp and the planes go by.  I watch my son play on the small trampoline and enjoy his laughter.  I then want to do more like water the plants and take out the weeds.  Then I imagine a backyard like I always wanted with flowers and vegetables; bunnies and goats; a swing and some toys; the barbecue going and some company.

Alhamdullilah.  I live in a house with my family, I have bad days and good days.  I take showers with hot water and have a fridge full of food.  I have friends who care and parents who I talk to almost every day.  It’s beautiful, really, to be given a life and try to understand what everything means.  My learning lessons are sometimes hard, sometimes I am the one that makes them the most difficult.  I cry a lot, when I think of all the mistakes I’ve made.  Then I try to forgive myself.  Then I try to present.  Drying clothes on the line helps.  Thank you.

The end.




Gratitude and Forgiveness April 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 11:18 pm
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Yesterday there was a woman on the corner of my block selling strawberries.  She stood underneath a tree for shade.  She held her son, he was two years old.  I drove into my driveway with my son who is 19 months old.  I ran to her and asked if she wanted a chair for her son.  I told her about mine and she said that they were fine.  She couldn’t find anyone to watch him so she stood there in the midday selling strawberries with him.  I  pointed to my house and told her if she needed anything to just knock.

That night I was thankful that I was on my way home from yoga class when I saw her.  I was thankful to not have to sell strawberries while I carried Omar; I was thankful for my home and family; I was thankful for the nice hot showers I get to take, the meals I get to make, the time I get to spend being grateful.

Today I asked for forgiveness for worrying.  Most of the days I am positive.  I touch my belly as Azalea kicks and moves.  I try to stay focused in the present as I watch Omar smile.  Today as I made him lunch, I cried and I cried.  I went to my new OB today; she reminded me that Azalea could have a genetic defect.  I hate when they remind me of that.  I hate when they tell me she could be stillborn or born premature.  I know this may be the case and I try to accept it.  I also don’t like when people tell me everything will be just fine and she will be great because they don’t know.  No one knows.

So I pray.

Sometimes I don’t even know what to pray for.  Should I pray for her to be healthy and live a long life and if that doesn’t happen will I get too depressed?   I can’t change what is written.  As I sit on my prayer mat I try to find the right words, I try not to ask for too much, I try to maintain my gratitude and contentment.

The imam at my mosque asked me awhile back if I’ve dreamed with her.  I did in the beginning and she looked like my husband’s sister as a little girl.  I haven’t since then and I wonder what that means.  When I was pregnant with my son I had vibrant dreams of ancient Sufis dressed in royal blue with long beards making salat in our mosque.

I want those dreams again and peacefulness in my heart so I could handle things.

the end.


My warrior princess March 15, 2012

Filed under: life,love,writing — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 9:51 pm
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Her name is Azalea Paloma Noor.  She lives in my womb.  The night before last she woke me in the middle of the nights with her kicks.  I felt them strong and I laughed.  Not loud enough to wake up my husband and son each sleeping beside me.

I always knew that she was a girl and I picked out her name once my pregnancy was confirmed.  I knew I was pregnant the moment she was conceived.  I took three home pregnancy tests and they all said no, you’re not pregnant.  But there is a craziness I feel when I get pregnant.  My hormones are so wacked out I want to scream all day.  I had to go to a clinic and finally the test said, yes, you’re pregnant.

We moved to a house and I forgot I was pregnant with all the unpacking I had to do.  My son flamenco danced all over the house, enjoying the hardwood floors and the tremendous amount of space.  We moved from a 1 bedroom apt to a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, office, laundry room and a kitchen I could actually do some good cooking in.  Alhamdullilah this is my first house ever.  It even has a backyard.

I am fat again with a bigger belly than I need to have but my stomach muscles are weak.  I keep on fantasizing about doing hours of Abs of Steel after giving birth and just eating lots of greens, quinoa and beans.

Azalea has her own song already; I sing to her when I am taking a shower.  I hold my belly and rock to the melody.  I sing it because I want her to know that I want to mother her for as long as I am allowed.

Last week in my second trimester ultrasound I found out that she has a heart problem.  The next day I went to Children’s Hospital in Oakland and I learned she has a single ventricle heart defect.  She moved around lots.  Good sign.  I loved hearing her heartbeat.  I had no tears to shed because I cried profusely the day before.  She has a good chance of surviving, inshaAllah.  Will have to go through a few surgeries, inshaAllah.  I can’t have her train to be a ninja.  Sadness.  But  I will raise her to be a warrior princess, inshaAllah.

Lately I have found that I don’t have the strongest of wills.  Old friends remind me of my strength and I wonder where has it gone to.  This is not the time for me to fall apart or hide what I truly feel.  I am being tested in such a great way but I still find comfort in being grateful for all I have been blessed with.  Even this.  Azalea is a blessing.  She is the size of a banana and kicks like a soccer player.

the end


First Day of 2012 January 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 6:53 pm
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This morning I woke up writing in my head.  That is a blessing.  I wrote a rough draft and cried a little.  It was a beautiful way to wake up.  My son slept beside me snoring between snacks of my milk.

One morning I woke up to a dream that I didn’t understand.  My son, not Omar Ali, but the first whom I miscarried, came to me in my dream.  If he would have lived he would have been almost 20 years old.  A young man with light brown hair and olive tone skin; he is handsome and likes to wear flannel.  He walked into my dream and said, “Mama, I am up.”

I awoke immediately and looked at Omar sleeping in my arms.  I knew this young man in my dream wasn’t suppose to be Omar older, it was my first, a soul who keeps on growing.  I keep thinking of him not understanding how he appears to me that old.  I don’t understand the spirits of the dead ones and the ones who were never born.  I don’t understand why he told me he was up.

There is an unseen world that many of us do not want to ever see.  I used to when I was a child but it scared me.  I forced myself to stop.  Now I try to imagine all the angels around me.  I try not to think of jinns that want to hurt me.  I don’t know what they look like.  I want to feel the angels.  When I think of them the world seems a little more peaceful with millions of angels spending their time in gratitude.

It is 2012, the first day of this gregorian year.  I knew I had to write down my goals quickly.

1-Be more grateful.  Find solutions to the complaints.  Love the moment I am in.  Be thankful first.

2- Write every day 5-60 mins.  Even a few words will be get me closer to completing a body of work.  When my heart gets all tied up, cry and keep on writing.  Be grateful for this gift of words.

3-Be gentle with myself and those around me.  I spent too much time last year hating myself for my imperfections.  They are all blessings that have built my character.

4- Run.   Physical activity is good for my heart and brain.  It is good for my entire body and spirit.  It is good for my family.

5- Love. This action stands alone and can make beautiful changes in one’s day.


the end.



New York, New York What a Wonderful Town! October 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 3:00 pm
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I took Omar to New York for a week.  He walked around Park Slope as if he lived there.  He watched the cars, heard sirens and wanted to touch the dogs.  Sometimes when he didn’t want me to hold his hand I carried him in the Ergo on my back.  I like him there.  I sometimes feel his heartbeat.

We went for my friend’s wedding party in Upstate New York.  If you think Hurricane Irene didn’t affect NY then you are wrong.  The reservoir looked like the sky during sunset.  I was told that is where the drinking water comes from.  Yuck!

Omar’s nails were full of dirt from playing outside.  He wanted to be friends with the chipmunks and birds.  Instead he got bit by mosquitos.  He played and watched the older kids.  One day he will play like them, inshaAllah.  The wedding was beautiful.  I danced with Omar on my back.  He fell asleep to Michael Jackson.  My son is so cool, mashaAllah.

On that Sunday back in Brooklyn we went to get frozen yogurt on 5th avenue.  The place had a TV screen playing NY1.  I forgot about that channel.  As I fed Omar yogurt I watched protesters at Wall Street.  It was the first time I learned something was going on.  Wow!, I thought and moved on.  I hadn’t read the news in days-I mean checked my Facebook account. I don’t have a smartphone.  I just want a phone to call and text on, maybe I am old-fashioned.

New York was muggy.  It was hard.  My hips still hurt from having Omar on my back.  We walked Brooklyn, we walked Manhattan.  We ate good food and hung out in small parks.  I saw some sweet friends and he met his Uncle Paul who spoke to him in Japanese.  I have to find out how to say uncle in Japanese.  It would seem more appropriate.  I am glad I no longer live there.  I have a really chill life in Oakland.  But I miss some things like how people say orange.  ARE-ange.  How lovely that sounds.

My only regret is that I really didn’t know what Occupy Wall Street was when I was in New York.  A few seconds on NY1 didn’t really answer anything for me.  If I would have known I would have taken Omar to Zuccotti Park.  It would have been his first protest.  I would have had him carry a sign.  Ok, that would have not lasted long, he’s one!  I still would have tried.

I am really happy that people are out there protesting.  May they keep their momentum.  May their message be clear.  May they be the makers of change.

A couple of months ago I moved my money to a credit union.  That is a start.  I want to do more.  I want to do my part.  My husband and I want to travel with our family.  I always wanted to raise children and live oversees.  I want them to see different realities of life and experience them.  I don’t want Omar to be at home all day watching TV and not being in touch with nature.  I don’t want him going to a store and wanting more and more and more.  I want him to be content and to share what he has.  I want him to try his best in making things right with himself, his family, his community, his country and the rest of the world.

Mothering: the toughest and most loving job I’ve ever had.

the end.