ďMy baby, my baby.Ē she yelled at me, ďWhy didnít you put that away, he could have picked it up to drink it. Itís poison!Ē
It was a bottle of some kind of cleanser, I canít remember what.
I was six.
I remember vividly my mother sitting on the steps with my 2-year-old brother in her lap. She was holding him close and rocking him back and forth, with his head against her shoulder, and she was crying.
It just dawned on me Ė Iím pretty sure a 6-year-old could pick up a bottle of poison and accidentally drink it too. But I guess she wasnít worried about that. I have no idea why it took me so long to realize that.
ďMy baby...my baby...Iím so sorry.Ē
I know it wasnít realistic, I know I was too young, I know I didnít think it through, I know didnít think ahead. I didnít think period. Didnít matter. All I cared about was that I was pregnant and that was that. I was a runaway, but at the time, I had landed at my grandmotherís house in Massachusetts. My parents came up from Virginia at the news.
Then came the pains of a miscarriage. My parents took me to the doctor. After the exam, the doctor left the room and as he walked out, he left a small plastic jar on the counter. I stared at it for a long time. Then I got up and went over to look at it. What I saw was small and round in water. I remember being startled by my own whisper because it was so quiet in there. It was all that I could say.
I was sixteen.
ďOh, donít get all romantic about this.Ē
Dad was in the living room in the lounge chair. I sat down across from him on the couch. I looked at his profile as he faced the TV. He didnít even acknowledge Iíd walked in. I sat there with my hands clenched together and my face was still red and swollen, and tears dripped onto my white knuckles. I looked at Dad again, and this little girl inside me just wanted to climb into Daddyís lap and have him hug me, even if he was angry. I almost did it too. But he turned to me and my tear stained face and thatís all he had to say.
ďHow could you do this to me? How could you embarrass me and our family like this? You should be ashamed of yourself.Ē
When I woke up from the surgery, I could actually physically feel how empty I was now. It was an awful feeling. I saw my mom standing over me. I was so glad to see her, but she bent down very close to my face with a hideously angry expression. And thatís all she had to say.
I was sixteen.
ďSee Mom. Iím going to do it the right way. Iím going to get married first and then get pregnant.Ē
My sister described how she felt I was a bad role model because I was a single mother and thatís why she never chose me as Godmother to any of her 4 children. She got engaged and she, Mom and I were sitting together. She put her arm around Mom, then looked me straight in the eye. And this is all she had to say.
I was thirty.
ďItís a shame that you have the nerve to brainwash your own child with your twisted thinking...that is really the thing that concerns me the most, is that his life is being adversely affected by your personal cult.Ē
My brother insisted on calling, coming over and e-mailing me because he didnít care if I went away, but he thought it was wrong to keep my son away from our wonderful family.
I was forty-six.
ďIf you ever speak to my Mom like that again Iíll punch your lights out.Ē
My son was sixteen.
A parent fights for their child - not the other way around! He'd drawn a line in the sand, something I couldn't do for myself. I knew he would regret punching my brother's lights out later, because he doesn't believe in violence to handle conflict, so I kept them apart. That was a hard decision, because this I would have loved to watch. It meant everything to me that he wanted to protect me since nobody ever has before.
"My baby...my baby!"