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.



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


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.


On Alma Ave July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 5:07 pm
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I used to live here by myself.  It was an open space with a couch in the living room and a bed in the bedroom.  it’s been 4 years since I first moved in and the furniture has grown.  I am now sitting on a comfortable glider.  My feet no longer hurt because they are elevated.  As I write, I rock back and forth.  Now, my one bedroom apartment houses my husband and stepdaughter.  She sleeps in the small room which was once a walk in closet.  We are moving things around for my mami’s arrival.  She will be on a bed in the living room surrounded by windows and plants.  I am getting my mami used to the fact that I will probably not have lil Omar in a crib but in one of these:

I am nesting, rearranging, purging, selling, gifting for all of us to fit in this place.  There are homes that are filled with families bigger than ours.  They all sleep in the same room, eat in the same room, do their work in the same room.  Perhaps you don’t find these homes in the Unites States very often but they exists in many, many places.

I have a deadline to finish my book by the end of the summer but my writing is so scattered.  I realize my thoughts need to be more linear.  If I continue to write the way that I am writing it won’t flow.  Each chapter stands on its own, which can be a good thing but it needs more work.  I am back in the beginning.  Maybe I won’t have to write chapters all over again but I need to figure out a better way.  I can now spend my days writing.  I am thankful but I still have mouths to feed and a house to clean and my life is so different now.  My belly is huge and I forget about it when I open truck doors and try to get through narrow spaces.

Somewhere in this living room I also have to make space for the tub to give birth in.  Every day I pray that I am able to give birth at home.  I won’t be able to stand the lights in the hospital or nurses coming in and out of the room tempting me with drugs.  I want to learn songs to sing through contractions.  I hope it’s cool that day.  I hope it’s in the day.  I want to drink coconut water and have my tailbone massaged.  My pregnancy isn’t that bad but there are moments of unconformability.  I just think this is God’s way of preparing me for the labor.  I read stories of labors lasting two or three days.  I tell Adam to keep me at home unless my midwife says there is trouble and we need to go to the hospital.  I want my son to be born in water, inshaAllah.  I want to hold him on my bare chest, look into his eyes and cry, inshaAllah.

He moves and dances in my belly.  I write for him right now.  I write because I promised myself I would have a book done before I had a child.  I want it to be his gift.  Mami and Papi tried their best.  They really did.  Sometimes they wanted to teach me in ways I couldn’t really learn.  They wanted me to learn through their mistakes not through their efforts to make change and do better.  There was an expectation that I will get things right because i saw them do things wrong.  I have done things better than them but there are things that I have repeated.  I can’t teach my children through the same way.  I want them to learn through example.  I want to be a good mother.  A mother that uses all the gifts given to her and shares them with her loved ones.  I want to write for my children so they will be able to do what their heart tells them.

the end.