Tag Archives: adoption

The Efforts of My Breath

I have been inside of my head for almost a month now. (translation: my nieces and one of my nephews are visiting with my sister, their mom, and their dad.)  When I came to the realization I would move down south to get custody of them, I made conscious decisions to listen to the silence of my Inglewood apartment.  I would lay in the bed and watch the sunrise chase the stucco across the ceiling.  I would pull my bedding to the couch and then lounge upon rising from my slumber with a cup of coffee and a movie from my dvd collection.  Time would be timeless and my day would plan itself.

Fast forward to five children: my calendar is full of their appointments and activities.  Waking up to their breakfast requests, me needing to be judge for who can watch their tv programs first.  In many ways I am more involved with my breath (purpose) versus chasing my daily goals.  There is nothing wrong with ambition at all but I suppose when it’s  yours,  you don’t see the immediate results.  Now, with the children, I can see daily the effort of my breath. 

I can see smiles of accomplishment on their faces.  I can see their sweat overcome defeat.  I can hear their laughter break through their fears.  It is immediate gratification everyday.  The current silence of my home is nostalgic to my creative life and purposeful meditation.  But I must admit, I look forward to seeing “the efforts of my breath” soon.

Breath and Sacrifice

Sunday – Wash clothes, wash hair, braid hair

Monday – Math Tutor

Tuesday  – West African Dance Class and Soccer Practice

Wednesday

Thursday – West African Dance Class and Soccer Practice

Friday

Saturday – Soccer Games

         pray.dream.hope.want.pray.laugh.dream.cry.yearn…  all fall in between the other days. 

 It has been four years since I took custody of my sisters children and moved my life from LA to ATL.  Right now I’m too exhausted to detail the differences between the two lifestyles, but they exist.  Dramatically. 

Where do I begin?  I am new everyday with challenges, fears and faith.  The boys are 19 and 14 and the girls 10, 7 and 6.  When I speak of becoming new, I am writing the dances of what to wear, how to speak, what’s the tone all in the note of love.  Love and care for them and where do I find the unselfish part of this parenting position.  They all made honor roll, made the traveling squad for dance and the traveling team for soccer… not too shabby for a chic who is an independent artist.  A chic who went from 0 kids to 5 kids in 32 hours of driving.

 Sacrifice has always been my breath as an artist.  For the love of receiving the stories and words, silence and solitude was the recipe.  I always dated and loved but a perfectionist at remaining detached was my sacrifice.  Not just mine, not a new decision and not even conscious… something that just was.  Now my sacrifice is the children and they are my breath.

             I miss my art.  I miss my muse.  Send her to me.  Tell her,  I am available June 16th…  

SUMMER TIME and the kids are gone for four weeks!  I made a SUMMER BUCKET LIST and plan to become selfish and hear myself talk again!

 I look forward to writing and growing as My person.  As an artist.  And becoming a better Aunt for my nieces and nephews when they return. 

 I haven’t been this excited about school being out since my junior year in high school!

Sunday – me

Monday – me

Tuesday – me

Wednesday – me again

Thursday – guess who? me

Friday – yep, me!

Saturday – If  I’m happy, everyone in my house will be, so… ME

zero to five in 32 hours

I always knew the day would come.  From his entrance in 1993.  His in 1998.  Then she came in 2001.  2004.  And 2006.

2008, I packed up my single life in Los Angeles and made my trek to Atlanta to get custody of my sister’s children.  Her five children. 

I made this privy decision after the second girl was born in 2004.  When “it” was now apparent in my mother.  I could hear “it” in her voice.  But “it” was loudest in her silence.  The flat breath that would catch happiness and linger trapped between her sighs.  My mother not being able to enjoy the fruits of being a grandmother because she was in a position of subordination to being a mother all over again.   Her angered disappointment, which is different from both anger and disappointment.  Her thanksgiving needing to be a holiday of receiving.  Our conversations gave guilt to the quiet jazz filled afternoons in my LA apartment.  Our conversations consistently robbed Roy Hargrove and I of the enjoyment of our new bottle of chilled riesling.  I needed to resolve.  The options: the kids become wards of the state or raised by my mother, who had become quite lenient with her home rules and expectations.  Foster care had already been in the picture.  The kids had already been split up before.  The boys stayed together but the oldest girl, only five months old, was sent to be cared for by another family.  Stories formed with the youngest boy being mistreated by another child in a foster home.  Stories of the kids crying at the end of visitations upon not being satisfied with the answers they received to their inquisitons, “can I come home yet?” 

I wanted to create another story.  Help write another ending for them.  After all, intergenerational family rearing is nothing new to most cultures.  Even my grandparents’ modest three bedroom home had ever revolving doors to their nine children and 17+ grandchildren so this decision seemed natural for me too.  But like most, I presume, who choose this, we do not see the stories that await us.  The stories of the hard adjustment to living in a new city, the demands of your time (or what used to be), the depression, the anxiety, creating a personal/social life with five kids, dating, finding the “mommy button” and the arduous task of re-membering who I am and re-inventing my self as a woman, artist and active aunt of five.  Some stories are funny and some are serious.  From journal entries to day to day tales, this blog is about me going from zero to five in 32 hours.