13 Apr

As a child growing up, I always knew what family was. From the age of two and ½ to six, it was me and my mom against the world. When I was six, she married a man who became my dad. At eight and a half my first sister was born and at twelve, my second sister. Sounds pretty simple right? Now that would just make things way too easy!!

When my mother found out she was pregnant with me, she was a twenty eight year old single mom with a six year old son. She had been married to my brother’s father but had since gotten divorced. She and my brother moved to Pennsylvania where she got a job and planned to raise her son.

Somewhere in all of that she was thrown a curve ball……ME! She called her parents, sisters and brother and told them that she was pregnant. People say she sounded happy. I believe I came as quite the surprise but her message to everyone was that the father was not involved and she would be keeping the baby.

I don’t know what made her decide to keep me. She did not even know me yet. Maybe she did not want to go through the process of an abortion. Maybe she was in love with the man that fathered me. It is a mystery. He is a mystery. How they met is a mystery. Why didn’t she tell anyone who he was?

Most children grow up hearing the story about how their parents met, fell in love…and the rest is history. Not me. Not only did the book not come with a story, it came without a name or even a face.

I was born in August. A Leo. What I know of this time is foggy because all I have is snippets of everyone else’s stories. I try to piece them together into a chronological pattern but over the years they have all run together. I think the day I was born my brother was rough housing with my cousins and ended up in the emergency room getting stitches.

Many people look in the mirror and ponder who they look most like. Do I have my mom’s eyes? My dad’s nose? Whose smile did I get? I look in the mirror and just see a face staring back at me. Mine. I don’t have much to compare it to.

When I was four and a half months old, my mother got sick. She was in the hospital with pneumonia. The doctors went to do a procedure to help her with her breathing. During the surgery, she went into cardiac arrest. Sixteen minutes (I think) she was on the table without oxygen. For two weeks she was in a coma, machines breathing for her and keeping her alive. She never came home. She was 28 years old, just shy of her twenty ninth birthday. That is not supposed to happen. A six year old and a newborn at home. She had so much to live for and see. So many things to be a part of. Proms, weddings, grandchildren…just to name a few. But in the blink of an eye she was gone. No time to prepare. No one getting to say goodbye.

My brother went to Florida to live with his father. I had no father to go to. I had no “place.” My grandparents (divorced) had guardianship of me. My grandfather made arrangements for me to stay with a family from his church. But what was to be done with me for the long term?  That was yet to be decided.


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