Dripping River Water


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.


Back to my blog September 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 3:59 am

My showers are now taken after 8pm.  This is after the baby is asleep.  I am able to wash my hair, shave my legs.  Lately, I have been taking baths.  I light candles and listen to Sade.  I was not one of the people who posted about the beauty of her concert.  I was probably asleep.

Someone asked me why I haven’t been writing on my blog.  It’s not that I don’t have time.  I can squeeze in a half an hour if I let myself.  It’s that I am no longer alone.  My life is not just about me.  I have a family with good moments and hard ones.  I don’t know how to write about what is going on when I am not the only one involved.

Right now I will stick to light things like, my son has the cutest spaces between his teeth.  So, does his father.  I remember wanting to stick my tongue between the gaps of his teeth when I first met him.  But I am Muslim and I do not do such things on first meetings.

My days are long and at the end of them I can not speak.  If I do it is to say, I can’t talk right now.  Every moment I want to complain I think to myself, I appreciate that I have a family I really hated being alone. I think, everything is temporary even feeling so tired.  One day, maybe this weekend, I will take a long nap with my son cuddled in my arms and I will wake up all refreshed.

el fín.


05.27.11 May 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 3:09 pm
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I made a new schedule:
Housework – Monday-Wednesday
Writing – Thursday-Sunday

By Wednesday I was exhausted. Instead of doing laundry I stayed in my pajamas extending housework to Thursday. It is Friday morning and I don’t know what to write.

There are two squirrels playing outside my kitchen window. They chase each other up and down the telephone pole. I learned how to climb a tree at 20 years old. I am scared of heights. When I was a little girl Mami let me play in the lobby of my apartment building with Elaine from upstairs. She used to jump three, four, five steps at a time. She was older. After she took her afternoon showers her sneakers filled with new talcum powder left puffs on the stairs. I miss her. I want to look her up on Facebook but her name is too common Elaine Lopez. She taught me about life beyond the walls of my apartment. She was mature even at twelve years old.

When I dream of my home it is always the apartment on 45 street. I wish I could go back to it. I want to see the wallpaper from the 1970s, my mother’s altar in the hallway corner. I want to smell my father’s Sunday cooking and hear the neighbors talk to their children. I want to take a bath in my clawfoot tub for hours like I did when I got bored with reading books and watching TV. There were times I felt I didn’t have a childhood then I remember how I was allowed to imagine. There were plays and dances in my head. I was in the jungle, on ships and in faraway places. I wanted to act in the TV shows I watched after school. I could have been the Cuban cousin Alyssa Milano didn’t know she had and move into that big house in Connecticut in Who’s the Boss?” Only rich kids got to act. That’s what my parent said. In a way they were right. Who would pay for my acting classes and agent?

My son is being raised in an apartment. It is a lot smaller than the one I grew up in. It only has one bedroom. There is sunlight when the sun decided to show itself. The windows overlook the street. We get to watch the neighbors go by and the squirrels play outside. I want him to have a backyard like I always wanted. The first time I lived in a house was in Venezuela. It was a huge house with three living rooms and three dining areas. I spent three months there and each day I wrote in a new place. There were only two people who lived in this house besides me. They had a dog outside that helped me eat the mangoes off the tree. He was a Doberman.  They only greeted him with food. We became friends  I let him pretend he was biting off my arm.  Such a big dog,  I am not sure why I was never scared.  I didn’t really have friends there. All the girls thought I would take away their boyfriends and all the guys made up stories of their rendezvous with me. I may be a legend there. Who knows? I was just trying to be nice to people.

Omar just woke up. I want to write to be continued but I have to be realistic.

The end.


04.12.11 April 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 11:15 pm

I wrote the beginning of a story on paper that once held a chocolate chip cookie. I am not used to being a writer mama. I forget to carry a writing book along with the diapers. I remembered a pen. Two, actually. I wrote in the park as my son slept in his stroller. I was not expecting this moment just for me. He woke up just when I had a good sentence. All I could do was smile as I watched him stretch.

There is a timeline of my life since 2005 on my wall. I wrote it so it could help me write stories. I have been having trouble writing. Part of it is having a child. Now that I am a mother I don’t want to bare all. I want to ask for forgiveness. I don’t want to go into a room and not really tell a priest all my sins because he is a person. I don’t want him to know that much about me. I don’t need to go into a room like that anymore. It should be just me anywhere. My palms up and tears flowing down my eyes reading to God my list of things that He has probably already forgiven me for.

I missed writing on this blog. I tried to write letters to my son but then I didn’t want others to read it. I tell him stories as we walk past flowers, as I hold him in my arms and look deep into his eyes. I record what I want us to remember. He is such a blessing. Right now he is sleeping but there are times I am able to write and he is beside me. He taps on his own keyboard as he flings his legs in the air.

I can not tell him on my deathbed that I have done nothing in this life that he would be ashamed of. I can tell him that my life has been a series of start-overs until I’ve gotten it right. I am grateful for all the bad and all the good. Each day there is more clarity and opportunities to improve.

the end.


Dear Omar-my new blog January 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 4:56 am

I haven’t been writing much on this blog lately.  I have been focused on other writing.  My book, some short stories and a new blog.  I love writing on Dripping River Water.  Right now a new blog fits right into my new life as a mama writer or writer mama.  I am keeping all my posts up here and ask that you come visit my writing at http://www.dearomar.tumblr.com  I would just put a link to it but I am having difficulty.  My apologies.

much love,

Maceo Nafisah


What Luke said October 27, 2010

Filed under: life,religion,writing — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 5:58 pm
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There is a table in the lobby.  It is long and wooden positioned right below a big mirror.  There people leave things they no longer want: old fax machines, magazines, sneakers, books.  I am the resident manager and this leaving of things annoys me only when no one takes it.  I am left to throw away these items.  Things that could have easily been given as a donation, somewhere else, not in the lobby of my building.  There was a pocket sized New Testament once.  I picked it up.  This is a book I couldn’t throw out, I couldn’t leave it on the sidewalk, I couldn’t give it to a random person.  I had to keep it and for a year it lived between my Moroccan Arabic Phrasebook and El diccionario de sinonimos y antonimos bought in Venezuela when I was there in 1996.

My son is now 5 weeks old.  He has lived his days between arms of those who love him.  I have only been away from him minutes at a time, missing him and calling my mami to see how he is doing.  Yesterday I went for a walk with my friend.  I left my mami with 5 ozs of my milk.  I gave her instructions and hoped that it wouldn’t be too hard for either of them.  The sun was out.  Its rays hit my toes.  There was a chill in shady areas.  I was afraid to catch a cold.  I thought of myself confined in my bedroom pumping milk, sweating and sick, not able to see my son.

We went to Arizmendi.  I was treated to pizza and a root beer sitting outside.  I watched the beautiful people of Oakland pass by.  I saw the mamas pushing the strollers or carrying their babies on their backs.  I saw the dogs.  The endless amount of dogs take over the sidewalk.  I wondered if my skin would darken sitting outside of Arizmendi.  I have been home for weeks looking out the living room windows at the trees and the birds.  The root beer was good.  It became my new favorite.  There on the table was the cap.  It had writing.  In the inside it read, Luke 1:37.  I thought the root beer bottling was more hipster than religious.  Or maybe it was both.

For the past five weeks I have only written in my head.  I write books and plays while I nurse my son in his sleep.  I wish that the words would leave my mind and walk unto the page.  Any page.  Somewhere else.  But the words don’t.  They are locked away and I wonder if I will be able to write.  Then I read stories of writers who have shared similar nights.  Perhaps not nursing their sons but still in bed writing words on the walls with their pupils.

For the past five weeks I have begun learning what it is to be a mother.  I have learned what it is to remain still, to be totally dependent.  There is a scar above my bikini line.  It is black and sometimes it is sore.  All throughout my pregnancy I was pleased not to have any stretch marks.  Instead I got a scar where they pulled my baby out.  That scar reminds me of my imperfections and my failures.

I wonder sometimes why I couldn’t give birth at home.  Sometimes I have a hard time completing things.  The end is always so hard.  I go through my over fifty hours of labor at home and four days in the hospital.  I try to figure out what exactly went wrong.  I know everything is God’s will but somehow I feel at a loss.   I wonder if somewhere in back of my mind I was too scared to finish the job.  I couldn’t give birth naturally in a birthing tub, in my kitchen because it meant I actually had to complete something.  I needed help.  Like heavy drugs to soothe me, to make me relax, to actually fall asleep.  I went to the hospital, a place I still don’t want to give birth in again.  They helped me.  I had sweet nurses who gave me more pillows and filled my water bottle.  I knew that with a touch of button someone would be at my side.  So the whole time I had to not be upset.  I had to take everything in stride because I had my baby in my arms.  And if I got frustrated at the nurses constantly coming in and asking me the same questions, at them grabbing my breasts without asking me anything to see if my milk was coming out, at my son being picked up all hours of the night to be weighed, I would have made it worse for myself and I would have been ungrateful.  I still have to write about that.  All of that.  But I am afraid that it will make me cry.

On my bedside table there is a tube of Barq’s root beer lip balm.  I don’t like that root beer but I like the taste on my lips.  I put it on last night before getting into bed.  Then I remembered.  Luke 1:37.  I went to the living room to the shelf where the pocket size New testament lived.  I took it into bed.  My husband perplexed.  I have not read the Qur’an in weeks and here I was with the Bible.  I opened it to Luke right away.  There I read: “For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Sighs and smiles.

the end.


Please help this community of Cuban Muslims September 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 8:44 pm
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There are no mosques in Cuba.  You can not find any halal markets,  Muslim bookstores or Islamic schools.  There is little or no access to the internet.  Without these resources the Muslim community in Cuba continues to grow.  In November, 2009 I went back to Cuba to visit my family and I visited Muslims in the small city of Holguín.  Last month I began writing about my experience there:  Eid in Cuba, 2009 part 1 .  I received an email from Abdul Latif and Aisha yesterday with the great news that they have the opportunity to buy land for two families to live on.

This is their vision:

– to raise goats and lambs for their consumption

-to sell halal meat to the other Muslims in the area

-to make clothing for the sisters

-to provide a space for the education of Muslims in the area and those interested in Islam

-to build a place of worship outside their homes


I was asked to provide them with a loan that I can not do at this time but I can ask friends and family to help them in this endeavor.  I need to raise $2200 in the next coming weeks.  Things are quickly changing in Cuba and this is a great opportunity for this community to grow and be of service.  Please donate what you can, even $5.00 will help.  Please forward this blog entry to family, friends and others in your community.  Please keep the Muslims in Cuba in your prayers and hearts, they are really good people that just want to better serve our Creator.

Please feel free to contact me at: maceomarti@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like more information.

Thank you.


Maceo Nafisah Cabrera Estévez

Help raise $2200 for the Muslims in Holguín, Cuba