A Mother's Day Eve Tale: Why Being A Mother Is So Important To Me

I've never really been the type of person to talk about, let alone write about my "tragic" upbringing but seeing as Mother's Day is just around the corner I decided that I would finally share my story. It allows me to reflect on the past while aiming to be the best mother that I can be in the present and in the future. I knew from a young age that when it was my time to be a mother that I would step up to the plate so to speak, Demarini in hand and Nike batting gloves on and I would do anything and everything to protect the plate and strive to be the best mother that I can be. I would be the mom that my mother couldn't be to me or my four siblings.

I had the misfortune to be born to a woman who cared more about her self than her children. She was an alcoholic and a drug abuser who lost all of her children due to her addictions and selfishness. She was not in her right mind to take care of herself let alone her children. I was not raised by my mother though she was always present. I was raised by my great grandmother, a woman who had no business raising four great grandchildren on her own after she had already raised her own two children and her children's children. To this day, I have no idea who my father is nor do I wish to. I came from a broken home and due to that situation I have a hard time trusting people other than my four wonderful siblings whom I love unconditionally. I would do anything for them and I know that they would do anything for me. Growing up they were all I had.

For many years my older brother Randy was the one that looked out for Shawn and me. Our mother was too strung out on crack to make sure that our diapers were changed or that we had food in our stomachs. There were countless occasions when Randy would steal money out of her purse and would walk Shawn (who was a toddler at the time) and myself down Cherry Street in Long Beach to Jack n' the Box or Grandma Dee's house in hopes to get food, a bath, and a change of clothes. Shawn was two, I was four, and Randy was eight. Some of the memories I intentionally blocked out, Shawn barely remembers because he was so young, but Randy remembers everything! One day I'll have the courage to ask him to tell me what he remembers about our days when we lived with mom. I remember being taken away by a social worker when we lived in California. Our mom sat on the couch with a beer in hand and it was like she didn't even care. The social worked had taken one look at Shawn in is dirty dipper full of pooh that should have been changed hours ago and the cigarette burns on the back of my neck and took the three of us away. I recall sitting in a police station next to Shawn and Randy and eating a sandwich that a police officer had brought us. He was nice. He seemed genuinely sadden by our situation. How long we sat there I have no idea but eventually our great grandmother came to get us. She always came to get us in the end. By the time I was five, I knew how to make a bottle on the stove and change my sisters diapers because our mother was never around. I had no choice but to grow up early because I had siblings that were dependent upon me and I them. The best thing that our mother ever did for us was give up her rights as our guardian. We had a loving great grandmother who kept fighting the state of California for the right to adopt her four great grandchildren and eventually she won. Bye the time I was eight my great grandmother had custody over the four of us but that didn't leave us without struggles. Financially it was difficult for her as a single parent raising four children and bills often went unpaid even with state assistance. I remember her always telling us that she needed to live to be 103 (when Sheila turned eighteen). Sadly, she ended up passing away in January of 2001 leaving my two younger siblings and I as wards of the court. We were going to stay with the Pietrzyk family until they encouraged Neil Allen (my brother's mentor from Friend's of the Children) to move in with us and be our guardian.  Neil decided to move in with us and our lives changed for the better. I was fortunate to have wonderful people in my life like the Pietrzyk family, my best friends Pam and Lydia, and my mentors Diana, Ashley, and Jen. Without their guidance and love I would not be the person that I am today.

Don't get me wrong, I love my mother because she is my mother. She had her demons then and she still has them now. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people judge her. Like anyone, she has made her mistakes and reaps the aftermath of those mistakes but at the end of the day only God can judge her.  I don't judge my mother; I do however, hold her accountable for her actions. She is fully aware that she messed up. Yes, my mother is an unfit mother. She is still my mother though and I will always love her. It's an unconditional bound between mother and child. The lack of maternal guidance on her part has given my the drive and empowered me to be the best mother that I can to my son. I would do anything and everything for Amari. He means the world to me and I am so blessed that the Lord has blessed me with such a strong, independent, social-butterfly who makes me laugh and smile on a daily basis. I love my son and I know that he loves me. From the moment that I laid eyes on him for the first time the bond that we share will never be broken nor will my love for him cease. I would cross the ocean for him. If he asked me to bring him the moon I would figure out how to do it. When he falls down and gets hurt you can bet that I will be right there kissing his boo-boo and making it all better for him. I would wipe his boogies with my sleeve if I had no tissues (who else would do that for him besides his favorite person Daddy?). Everything I do, I do for him to ensure that he has the life that I never had. I want him to grow up in a loving home with two parents who love each other and I want him to have nothing but happiness and success in his lifetime. I want Amari to have what I didn't have growing up. I want him to be loved unconditionally and to never have to worry about the things that I grew up worrying about daily in a discombobulated household where mom was drunk or drugged out and never around to support and love her children.

Please don't pity me or my siblings. Please don't feel sorry for us. We turned out just fine. We are all successful, educated, and happy with where our lives have taken us. I'm happily married to a wonderful man who loves me and all my flaws and we have a wonderful son who entertains us every day with his good-humor and random nature. My brothers, sisters, and I have defeated the odds that society has placed upon us. None of us do drugs. None of us are alcoholics. None of us dropped out of high school. Randy was the first person in our family to graduate from college and I was the first woman in my family to graduate from college and plan to get my masters degree in the near future. My situation has only made me be a better mother than my mother was to me. I am the mother that she was incapable of being and that is why motherhood is so important to me.

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I Am Natasha