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I started writing this about a year ago. I wasn’t sure I would ever post it. I thought about posting it for this Mother’s Day (2020) but it didn’t feel complete. Since May is also Child Month, I think posting it now is right on time.
Letters to my children; all the ones who made me a mom… in one way or another.
To My First Born – The One Who Made Me a Mom
From the time I knew about you, I wanted to be your mother. But it wasn’t that simple… I was only 17. It was hard enough breaking the news to my mom; your dad helped me do it. But it was unimaginable to think of breaking the news to my dad. So we all decided that it might be best for me to “do something” about you.
Except that I couldn’t. I went along to the local family planning office, but I couldn’t go through with it. The social worker offered to help me tell your grandfather, and I agreed. All seemed to go well during the meeting as they explained that his 17-year-old daughter was pregnant and wanted to keep her baby. But it was a different story when they left. He told me I had to go to the doctor the next day or leave his house.
So I left. I walked out the door… with exactly a dollar and fifty cents in my pocket; just enough to take a bus to my grandmother’s house. It was the only place I could think of to go. She and I weren’t as close as she had been with my other siblings. They had grown up in her house. But I was born long after my siblings (they were ages sixteen, fourteen, and eleven when I was born) and my parents had moved away. I didn’t get to spend as much time with her as they did. But I knew that’s where I needed to go.
She was glad to let me stay. But then the calls came. “You will ruin your life,“ they said. The pressure was on even your dad wavered. Up to that point, I was aware of how hard it would be for the two of us to raise you with no support from my family. But now it looked like I wouldn’t even have his support.
Still, I knew that My God would come through. Looking back, I do not understand why I thought HE would. I mean, I had stopped going to church, and I was obviously doing things I shouldn’t have been doing at 17.
But this was the same God that I had learned about in Sunday school at the Anglican church we attended sporadically. Someone must have told me I could talk to Him anytime. Because for as long as I can remember, that’s what I’ve always done. All my life.
MY God. The One that had held onto me even as I drifted away soon after I had given my life to Him in my bedroom at 14 years old. The One who held onto me, even as my grasp on Him slipped away. I knew that this God would come through for me, for us. He had to. We had no one else. He wouldn’t let me down. I made a promise to Him you would be His, just like Hannah did with Samuel.
And come through He did. It took all of three days for your grandfather to change his mind and allow me to come back home. On February 6, 1995, at 7:30 in the morning, you made me a mom for the very first time. I dropped out of school and stayed home with you for a year after you were born so you would have my full attention. The guidance counselor tried to convince me to stay, but it made little sense to me to waste precious time studying subjects I was failing when I could spend time with you.
After that year, I applied for a student loan and went back to school. I made sure that I had all your expenses covered. I wanted to be able to support you on my own so I worked hard. Two years later, I graduated with an associate’s degree in Computer Studies with Distinction. I had a 3.86 GPA.
It was the remembrance of my promise to give you to God that propelled me into church ten years later to rededicate my life to Him. You were about to enter secondary school and I suddenly realized the only person that I could trust to look out for you there would be Him. You needed to develop your own relationship with Him.
Now you’re all grown up and I’m so proud of you. I don’t say it enough (I’ll fix that). You’re beautiful, intelligent, and full of wisdom, creativity, and a natural leader (even though you run away from it).
I know you’re still trying to figure out how to use your creativity to change the world. But don’t worry, you were formed and fashion for a unique purpose; created for greatness. Your Father in heaven will reveal His plan for you in due time.
My firstborn. Thank you for making me a mom.
To the One Born of My Heart
To my second daughter, not born of my womb but definitely born of my heart. You are my son’s sister (by his father); you call my daughter your sister. There are no “halves” or “steps” in this family. You were still very young when I came into your life, and your brother was born shortly after.
I know that must have been confusing for you but I decided that I never wanted you to be constantly reminded that you were not my biological child. I didn’t want you to feel different. All three of you were all mine.
I tread carefully with this. I didn’t want your own mom to think I wanted to replace her. I never intended to take her place. I hope neither you nor she ever got that impression. My one aim was to reassure her that when you were with me, you would be treated just like my own children.
My daughter’s (the firstborn) dad had gotten married by this time and his own wife treated my daughter like her own. I could trust her with my child. I wanted to create that reassurance for you and your mom. You could trust me. I hope I succeeded. I did my best to love, protect, and guide you. I know I may have made mistakes, but I hope that they were few.
I want you to know that I’m proud of you. I’m proud of the young woman that you’ve grown into… beautiful, outspoken, intelligent, witty, and success-driven. I admire your ability to overcome challenges; going through most of your school life with unconfirmed dyslexia.
But you found a way around it. No, you created a way around it. Your own way, your own method that helped you to excel academically long before officially being diagnosed.
I want you to know that I love our chats (and when we roll eyes at your dad 😂) and I’m honored that you trust me enough to come to me for advice. Especially spiritual advice. I remember giving you your first Bible and how you cherished it. How you would read it on your own and developed a genuine, intimate relationship with God. Never let go of that.
I love the way you update me on your life when I see you. Your dad thinks you talk too much, but I don’t mind. I love our chats.
You’re an inspiration and an outstanding example to your little (bigger than you now) brother. You spoil him, (unlike his other sister🤣). He knows how to wrap you around his little finger and you let him. But that’s between the two of you. I won’t get into that. 🤐
My prayer for you is that you would continue to grow in your relationship with God and forever know His unconditional love. And that as you do, He could give you clarity on your life’s purpose and be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. I know that in all He’s called you to do that you will be successful.
Thank you for sharing your dad with me and allowing me to be your bonus mom.
To The Boy: The One Who Challenged Me as a Mom
To the boy. You’re one of the funniest, intelligent… and exhausting children I’ve ever met. After raising a girl, you were a complete enigma. Even my pregnancy with you was challenging. In addition to most of my hair turning gray (I still say it was a warning), I discovered at 16 weeks pregnant that I had placenta previa. I’d have to have a c-section if it didn’t resolve itself by the time you were ready to be born.
The “good” thing about this was that I got to have multiple ultrasounds and at 17 weeks, the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” (Spoiler alert… he was wrong). Ok, truth be told, your dad and I were a little disappointed. The important thing was to have a healthy baby, but since we each had a girl, we were kinda hoping for a boy this time around.
For some reason though, I didn’t believe the doctor. I wondered… could the ultrasound be wrong? So I did some research. How often is a boy mistaken for a girl in an ultrasound? Rarely it turned out. It was more likely that a girl would be mistaken for a boy. Not encouraging news.
Still, I hoped. I had plenty of conversations with God about this (and about that placenta previa situation too). I didn’t want him to change your sex if you were a girl but man if there was anything He could do… So in faith, (even though I didn’t really know that was what it was), I bought nothing that was decidedly “girlie”. I had one pair of pink socks, everything else was blue, green, or yellow.
Weeks went by and the day of my 33-week ultrasound came. The results would determine whether I would have to have a c-section. “Excellent news,” said the doctor. The placenta had moved enough for me to have a natural delivery. Yea!
And then, forgetting that he had told me your sex so many weeks ago, he announced, “… and it’s a boy!” I was ecstatic! Him not so much when I reminded him that he had told me it was a girl (he doesn’t like to be wrong). But I know it wasn’t his fault, 😁.
You were due on February 9th. Your sister hoped that you would come on her birthday (she’s now glad you didn’t). But you waited a whole ’nother week. I went into labor with you on Valentine’s night.
Labor lasted about eight hours, similar to my labor with your sister… except for the awful, awful back pain. It was so bad that I decided that when the doctor finally said “push”, I’d use those contractions like something else and get you out. Baby out equals no more pain.
So said; so done. At 7:30 the next morning, after three firm pushes, you were born. All eight pounds, ten and a half ounces of you. Ain’t nobody got time for dat! You were big… and strong. In fact, exactly a week later we were both at your sister’s Sports Day. It was her third year running but her first year at “big school” sports and we weren’t about to miss it! Besides, I was tired of being stuck inside.
As you grew, you lit up our lives with the funny things you said and did. When you were three, we took you to the circus. Big mistake! You wanted to become a lion tamer. Every day after that you asked your dad for a new animal. Not cute and fuzzy domestic animals like kittens and puppies. Nope, you wanted giraffes, monkeys, and elephants.
You loved Sesame Street. Super Grover was your favorite character; you called yourself, “Super Boy”. One day, you asked for a cape. Nothing wrong with that. Except that your dad and I knew you well. If we gave you a cape, you’d actually try to fly. Nope! It wasn’t happening.
Should I even mention that time you played a game of Hide and Seek without telling anyone? Your dad and grandmother spent almost an hour frantically looking for you only to find you hiding behind the wardrobe (closet), totally ignoring their call. Your grandmother may or may not still think you deserve a good whooping for that.
I know that every child is different, but you said things that your sister would never dare to say, and wanted to do things she’d never think of doing. I realized that no two children are alike and as a parent I had to get to know you individually so I could parent you as an individual.
We butt heads more often than I did with her because long before you turned eighteen you thought you were “grown”. But I still want to protect you. After all, you are “the baby”. It seems so easy for a boy to get lost in the crowd these days. To get caught up in the wrong things; wrong situations; wrong people. I just want to do my best to guide you in whatever way I know how. I realize that as a woman I can never teach you how to be a man; that’s your dad’s job (and he’s doing an outstanding job) but I will do my best to teach you what I can.
My prayer for you is that you become the man that God formed and fashioned you to be. Stay compassionate (he helps me raise orphaned kittens, people!). Be true to who you are and don’t let the world change you. Let Psalm 27:1 forever be your war cry: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Allow God to use you to change the world in a way that no one else can.
I’m proud to be your mom. Thank you for challenging me.
To the Ones Born of The Spirit
I fondly remember the days when my house was full of children not biologically my own. Invaded daily. You’re not here so much anymore. Not because of the Covid-19 pandemic. You grew up long before that. I don’t think I’ve said it to any of you, but I miss having you here. Sure, some of you still come around but not all at the same time as you used to. And sometimes only when your wi-fi at home is out (you know who you are, 😜).
But I miss you raiding the refrigerator and the cupboards. And I miss hearing the drama of your teenage life… and giving advice when asked (and sometimes when not 😁).
You are not biologically mine, but I still love you like you are. It wasn’t just my house you invaded. Everywhere I went, you went too. To church services and church events. Even to the supermarket.
Supermarket trips were special outings. I miss being accompanied by a gaggle of teenagers drawing more than our share of attention with giggles and loud laughs wherever we went. I loved hanging with you though. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. Most parents are glad for a break from their kids, but I never tired of you.
You’ve all grown up now. Some of you are still studying, some of you have completed your studies and are working; making a life for yourself. You all know who you are and I’m proud of you. I know sometimes my house was an escape from something you may have been going through at home. I hope that escaping to my house helped in some way, even if it was just for a little while.
I want to you know that even though we don’t spend as much time together; I think of those days often. It’s a little boring around here now, lol.
I miss our discussions about all things biblical. Nothing was off limits. I hope I was able to sow good seed to help you on your journey with Jesus. Even now, you know where to find me if you have questions.
My prayer for you is that you would build your own relationship with The Father and live every day in His unconditional love. I pray that you would become all that He’s called you to be and live a life of purpose. He loves you more than I ever could and I trust that He has you in His hands. I trust that He’s running after you in every way imaginable, even if for some of you, your relationship with Him is not as strong as it used to be.
Thank you for filling my quiver.
To My Unborn: I Am Still Your Mom
One of the most joyous effects of giving my life to Christ was the realization that I would get to meet the two of you in heaven someday. Sometimes I feel like I let you both down, but I know you are in The Father’s hands now.
It was about three years after I had fought for your big sister (firstborn) and I was in my last year of school. My GPA was almost 4.0, but I had a broken heart. Your dad and I had made it through that first trial but we were on shaky ground. The relationship was emotionally abusive, and I’d already checked out mentally. I couldn’t handle anything more… anyone more.
I had been through a lot in those three years, I barely had enough fight left for me. I couldn’t find the strength to fight for you.
It was September when I realized I was pregnant with you, Unborn Baby #1. I couldn’t even bring myself to imagine what it would be like to bring you into the toxic relationship that I was in, but how could I abort you? I stifled my conscience and made the appointment at the local family planning. Given what I’d been through with your sister, you’d think it would be the last place I’d go.
Still, I cried out to God. If there was some other solution, I’d take it.
On one hand, it was a relief that I didn’t have to go through with the abortion, but I felt like I had wished you away. Or maybe you had somehow sensed that I didn’t want you and decided that you didn’t want me either. Whatever it was, I felt like I had failed you.
I still had to get a D & C to make sure that “everything” was out. I remember waking up, groggy from the procedure. The first thing I said was, “I want my baby”. The nurse said, “You’ll soon be back with your baby”, meaning your sister at home. But I meant you. I think she knew I meant you.
Life went on but nothing much changed. I focused on keeping my grades up and completing my studies. Three months later, I realized I was pregnant again with your sister or brother, Unborn Baby #2. I was in an even darker place than when I was pregnant with you.
I made my way back to the family planning office. I got raked over the coals. They didn’t know that I had miscarried. As far as they knew, I had a termination three months before and here I was again, asking for another. They thought I was using it as birth control.
I had a total meltdown in that office that day. I somehow managed to I let them know that I had miscarried and all that had happened since then. At the end of it all, they agreed to do the procedure.
I remember waiting in the waiting-room, trying not to think of anything much. I tried not to think back to three years before, where at this same place I refused to abort your sister. I shut it all down. I shut God out. I didn’t want to risk changing my mind.
I remember the cold table and seeing the doctor’s “tools” as they laid them out. I looked away. I don’t remember what I thought about, I had checked out mentally once again. It was too much for my twenty-one-year-old self to handle. But I know now that God would have shown up the same way He had done for your sister if I had only asked.
When it was all over, I remember feeling so empty inside. Not physically empty; empty in my soul. But I pushed it aside. I tried not to think of you too much and succeeded for a while. Until one day about 4 years later…
I was sitting at my desk at work, and somehow a link to a video called the “Silent Scream” crossed my path. As I watched it, all I could think about was you, Unborn Baby #2. The full reality of what I had done to you hit me. How could I have let this happen to you? God entrusted you to me. He chose me as your mother; your protector. I had let you down.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I ran to the nearest restroom. Our office was a warehouse, and the cubicles in the restroom were fully enclosed (no open space below and above the stall divider, or under the door). I knew I would have privacy there. I quickly closed the door and fell on my knees, sobbing uncontrollably but as quietly as I could.
“Oh, God! Forgive me! What have I done?” All I could imagine was the horrible pain that I had caused you; the agony that you went through.
Then as I knelt in the bathroom stall, a blanket of comfort envelope my entire being. There He was again. The One who had shown up for your sister and me so many years ago. My Defender, the One who always rescues me. The One who had never left me, even though I had tried my best to forget Him.
I am still amazed at how He showed up. Not even caring that I didn’t go to church, not caring that I had ripped from my body one of His precious ones, one that He had chosen for me to mother.
All that He knew was that I was sorry and broken, and I needed Him. I was one of His precious ones too. Twenty something years earlier He had saved me from the same fate I had put you through. My mom, thinking she might be pregnant but already having her “quiver” full, decided to have a D&C just in case. But her doctor was on vacation and when he returned it was “too late”.
As I stood up from the floor, I knew I had been forgiven. Even when I started attending church a few years later, I never felt condemned for what I had done. It was forgiven and forgotten by the One who holds my heart.
And now, because Jesus is my Saviour, I can look forward to seeing you both in heaven someday. I am still your mother.