Mother, have a seat…

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workflexibility.org

Dear mom,

For the last few years, I have been focused on parenting. I am a new parent, I’m a Capricorn, and I’m selfish – what can I say? I was in my own world, nesting, and trying to find my new normal. Needless to say, I wanted to be a hermit and really hoped the world would allow me an introvert’s reprieve to get my bearings straight. Welp, I’m sorry. I apologize. I repent. Maybe all my praying and wishing brought upon us “the ‘rona.” I know, I’m blessed and highly favored. So, maybe my words went straight to God’s ear and now we all are getting our third eye poked.

I mean, this can’t only be for my benefit. I have to believe that Mother Earth also wants a break. I mean, we’ve ignored Al Gore since 2006. Did we think Greta Thunberg traveled without back up? And it has been a solid half a decade since I first asked you to have a seat. I mean, over my lifetime, I asked you to have a stadium full of seats. And, you – unlike God – don’t always listen to me. You just recently started staying in the house one day a week and that, in fact, took years. But, alas, here I am thinking you’d listen to the CDC and the WHO, and whoever else is scaring Americans these days. But, nah…

I text you this week and you tell me that you are at Staples. Staples? F8CKING easy button… Staples? Like, delivers within 5-7 business days, only has office supplies and a cavity-inducing check out counter, basic everyday a&$ STAPLES!  Yes, my mother, is in there… looking for something they’re probably sold out of and that probably is fully in stock at a corner-man bodega or our neighborhood Walgreens. And, through the phone, I gave you this face…

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Credit: Getty Images – Getty of Greta Thunberg

So, this got me to thinking. Who else does God want to sit down? Clearly, me. And God and I agree wholeheartedly on that. For sure, China… like all of it. And clearly, also, you! But, why won’t you (and so many Baby Boomer/ Generation X cuspers) smell what the Rock is cooking? Remember all those expressions I heard come out of your mouth over the years: fast a$&, hard-headed, never satisfied, rushing to get to a red light, busy body, etc.? When I talked to you, they all came to mind.  I said came to mind, not my mouth (or fingertips). But, I’ve resorted to public shaming, because I realize I am not alone in my quest to get my parents to stop playing games. When news reports say that ‘VIDY affects older people – they are talking about you! Sit down… watch Netflix (and chill, if you must)… but please stay out of Staples.

Those of us who considered ourselves parents, employees, dog-lovers just a month ago, now are re-considering ourselves as children. In just a few weeks’ time, we’ve become the adult children of grown-ass kids who are super defiant and intent on telling us what they’re NOT going to do. It’s like adult teenagers were let loose on the world and they have their own roofs and their own money, so us kids can’t ground them.  They don’t realize we want what’s best for them. They think we’re being silly and over-reacting. After all, they think they can take care of themselves and all of the warnings can’t possibly be for them. They don’t realize that we are legit scared that they could end up a statistic. And, most of all, they don’t think they’re old…

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In spirit, mom, I’m with you. You’re not old. You can’t let fear win. If it’s your time, it’s your time. But, do we need to go tempting fate all up and through a friggin’ office supply store?

Do me a solid and extend to me a courtesy I never extended to you – stay put. Sit still. Relax. Chill B.

And if I call you again and you’re out doing some mundane, boring, unnecessary thing that does in fact threaten your life (i.e. going out to buy anything that can be delivered) there will be some furniture moving (when I get back to America).

Don’t make no sense…

XO,

Your big baby.

…i think i remember

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Kidspot.com.au – http://bit.ly/2o4qFP0

I was a candy striper for all of 5 hours. And… i think i remember becoming a feminist, a naturalist, and a home birther that very day.

My mother got it into her head that it would be great for me to volunteer at a local hospital. She got many such ideas. I was in a girls’ summer science & tech camp. I spent many a weekend in a bowling league. She’s got quite the imagination. In any case, this candy striper business was all her idea. I didn’t even know what the term meant (I wore my regular clothes) or what they’d have me doing, but if you’ve ever met my mother you’ll know that I didn’t have a choice.

It’s the morning. This hospital is on the Portuguese and Puerto Rican side of town. I’m assigned to the maternity ward. There were just a few names on the white board. Next to them were times and the names of prescription drugs. For example, 4:15am Petocin. Let’s just say, it was 9:00am.

 

I sat at the desk with a quiet nurse for a while and I accompanied her on her next set of rounds. I only saw one patient. She was pregnant. I now know she was in labor. She was disoriented, in obvious pain and clearly drugged. She was alone in her room, save the nurse and me. She woke up to moan. The nurse did something for less than 30 seconds. And then we left her room. We left her alone. It was then that I remember thinking 1) this is my last day doing this candy striper crap. And then i think I remember thinking 2) I’m never delivering my baby in a hospital. Last, I recall knowing 3) no woman in her right mind would want this for herself.

I’m not sure if this was before or after the candy striper incident, but i think I remember watching my very first reality tv show, Brandy’s “Special Delivery.” I watched then with the save avid intensity as I currently watch the Real Housewives of Atlanta, Love & Hip Hop every city in America, so on and so forth. This is to say, I was addicted. I distinctly remember watching Brandy cry as she toured hospital maternity wards, saying how she too didn’t want to have her baby in a hospital. (Though, she ultimately did. And we later found out that she totally lied to all of us about being married! So, I blame her for the beginning of fake reality television…alas…) I remember being disappointed that even the most famous, wealthy, positive, female, Black icon of my generation (Don’t you dare contest me: see Moesha, Thea and ‘the Boy is Mine‘ music video as proof) didn’t find a way out of a hospital birth that she didn’t want. This was just the rich & famous version of the woman I left writhing in drugged up pain in a lonely labor room in New Jersey.

I think I remember shortly thereafter deciding that I would be unapologetic about NOT delivering my baby in a hospital. And I think that might have been my first declaration of feminism. It was the beginning of setting boundaries on my health and well-being that would mean that, in the future, my adult self simply couldn’t be trapped by modern medicine, conventional wisdom or popular belief to enter into a situation where I too would cry as I toured hospitals and imagined myself as that lonely woman trapped in pain purgatory.

I did tour a hospital. And I tried to do it Brandy’s way, but I refused to see the likes of Pitocin and I kept feeling that I’d be pressured to accept in the moment. Ultimately, my inner compass guided me swiftly away from the hospitals and doctors, who I feared would do to me just as I had done many years before – leave a scared, helpless woman to fend for herself against nature and her own body, with not so much as half a care to holding her hand, reassuring her, or letting her know that she was not, in fact, alone.

 

People now ask me how it is that I managed to have a home birth. And for a while I really didn’t know where the conviction came from. But looking back now, I think it’s because… i think i remember knowing from a very young age that women deserved better care and that children deserved to enter the world in a better way. So, really, I didn’t have a choice.