Dearest Daughter: 14 years 8 months (EXACTLY)

Good evening baby girl,

Exactly 14 years and 8 months ago you were born in Waco, Tx. LOL I remember thinking my baby is going to be a Waconian. Jesus lawd noooooooooooo! It’s not a bad place but when you were born Baylor hadn’t fully taken over Waco yet. Businesses closed at 18:00 everyday. It just wasn’t the Baylor metropolitan it is today. Be proud of your hometown though. With the athletic success of my Baylor Bears, Waco is finally on the map.

Anyway, my mom tells me you were just inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. I’m so very proud of you. I always knew you’d be an intelligent child. As your auntie said when I told her, like mother like daughter. I haven’t even officially met you and I feel like we’re more alike than I ever even imagine. I know, being that you are a teenager, I’m sure you’d rather not be like your mother but you are honey. Perhaps more than either of us will ever know.

Speaking of being like me, since there are only four more months until your fifteenth birthday, have you started counting down and reminding people that your birthday is coming up yet? There’s nothing more joyful or exciting than a person’s birthday. It’s your very own holiday and everyone makes a big fuss about you and your birthday. What’s special about your birthday this year is that you’ll be 15 on the 15th in 2015 which doesn’t happen to very often. Man, you’re going to be 15! Where did time go?!?! So much time has passed and yet time seems to stand still when I think about you.

Hope you had a great day in school today. I’m sure you’re counting down the days, hours and seconds until the last bell rings on the last day of school. I was the same way when I was your age.

I love you dearly!
Mami

Day 7: Someone Who Has Made Your Life Worth Living For

In my life, I have never really regretted much of anything. I don’t regret losing my virginity the summer of my junior year of high school. Nor do I regret all the things I did my freshman year of Baylor. I’ve enjoyed the mistakes I’ve made because they’ve made me the person I am today. They’ve taught me to think twice before doing something that might hurt me or the people I love. 

Unfortunately, even though I talk and act like I’m fearless, I’m really not. even though I say I don’t regret anything, there is one thing I do. 

Her birth name is Elizabeth Cherie and she was born Friday, September 15, 2000 at 16:10 in Waco, Texas at Hillcrest Baptist Hospital. She is my daughter. My first child. My heart and soul. The very reason I live and breathe. The reason I want more out of life. The reason when I see a child hurt or suffering I want to cry and take their pain away. The only person that could make me cry with one look. if I ever got to see her again.

My heart hurts more than I care to admit. I feel so lost without her as if there is an unquenchable void in my heart and soul. Lord knows I would be more than happy to have her back. More than happy to hear her say “I love you Mami!” I hope and pray that one day she will know me and tell me the words I have longed to hear for so long. 

But I can’t help but wonder if she would even accept me. Will she understand why I did what I did? Or will she resent me? This is what I think about every time I think about her. I question why I didn’t listen to my wonderful friends who volunteered to help me raise the most beautiful little girl I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I question why my family didn’t either.

Sigh… If you ever get to read this, sweetheart, I love you! I love you soooo very much. From the day I found out about you til the day I die I will love you. 

You are my sunshine; my only sunshine. You make me happy; when skies are grey.

You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. please don’t take my sunshine away … love, Mami

 

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

Day 4: Something You Have to Forgive Someone For

Remember when I said this in my last post?

“Now I am not an advocate of spending your entire life mad at someone.

Truth be told, I don’t hold grudges.

Often.

For very long.

Okay so I do. Sue me! pero not for reals because you not gon get anything but a penny LOL.

Well Day 4’s topic is Something You Have to Forgive Someone For. SMH this isn’t going to be fun.

For the most part, I really don’t hold grudges or stay mad for a long period of time nor do I hold shit over people’s heads. I realized several years ago being pissed at someone doesn’t help me or the other person. Besides life is too damn short to focus all my energy on whatever pissed me off in the first place. I learned that you can either forgive and forget or just forgive and hope to God that the person who wronged you doesn’t fuck up again.

Screw me one – shame on you

Screw me twice – shame on me

Screw me three times and you’re asking for a world of hurt and anguish!

I’m just sayin

I grew up an only child. I didn’t find out I had brothers until I believe I was in junior high or high school. My oldest brother is I believe four years older than me. My step brother is a year and four months and my baby brother is approximately eight years and five months younger than me. Our mothers’ ex-husband was a hoe! Not a whore because if that were true we’d have a dozen more siblings. Latimers are by far not an infertile family!

My mother divorced her ex-husband the year I turned three.  The month before my third birthday my mother and I moved to Texas. For the first nine years, we lived with my grandparents. When I was in 4th or 5th grade, Mom and I moved “next door” to our very own house. I remember after we moved I would have dreams about Tutu (look I refuse to call him father or dad my blog my prerogative) almost weekly. Sometimes I would wake up crying. Sometimes I would wake angry. I would question my mother why he wasn’t around. What did I do to deserve this? She did her best to comfort me but nothing she did or said was ever enough. I wanted and needed answers from HIM. But he would never grant me the satisfaction of talking face to face coherently. In my ENTIRE life, I have seen the man maybe five times. Five times!!! See I got the shit end of the stick because my mother and I moved to Texas. If given the choice, I wouldn’t have moved here. I would have opted for living with family in California. At least then, I would have grown up around my older brother and developed some sort of relationship with Tutu. Makes logical sense, right?! Not so much.

Growing up, I blamed Tutu for everything that happened or didn’t happen. I blamed him for my mom having to struggle to raise me and finance my education at Baylor. I hated him more than anything for having other child and being happy with someone other than my mother. Did my mother deserve to be happy? Didn’t she deserve to have a life outside of a single mom? Didn’t I deserve to be a happy kid?

It took a really long time for me realize my parent’s divorce was NOT my fault nor did it have anything to do with me. My mother divorced him because he was and probably still is an alcoholic and drug addict. I was told he was so strung out once that he sold our TV so he could get high. What a shining example of a “father” right?

I don’t know what my or brothers’ lives would have been like if Tutu had been something more than just a sperm donor nor do I want to anymore. I grew up a few years ago and came to the conclusion that I had a few really great father figures in my life. These gentlemen were there for my mom and me more than Tutu probably ever wanted to be. So I forgave him. Yes just like that. As I said before, I cannot spend my whole life angry because it doesn’t benefit me or Tutu. Perhaps one day we’ll speak again but until then I am content living my life without him.

Thanks for reading…

The Southern Yankee

Day 3: Something You Have to Forgive Yourself For

It is now Day 3 of the 30 Days of Truth challenge and I was doing well until I got to today’s topic: Something You Have to Forgive Yourself For.

Let’s be honest with each other for minute. Can we agree that regardless of who forgives and the forgiven, forgiveness is hard? Forgiveness requires soul-searching, deep thought and faith. not for the other person but for yourself

The whole notion of forgive and forget is not true for everything and everyone. For some people, it is one or the other but certainly not both and not at the same time. Maybe after a few years more like decades one will forget but in the here and now not so much.

Now I am not an advocate of spending your entire life mad at someone.

Truth be told, I don’t hold grudges.

Often.

For very long.

Okay so I do. Sue me! pero not for reals because you not gon get anything but a penny LOL.

I have been known to stay mad at someone for waaaay longer than I really need to be. I believe it is in our nature as humans to want to stay mad because we really do not know how to channel the emotions we feel when we have been wronged by someone else.

But what happens when we cannot forgive ourselves for something? To me, this is harder because if you’re like me, you are your worst and harshest critic, judge and jury. It may take five minutes to forgive a friend for criticizing your significant other or brilliant get rich quick scheme but five years to forgive yourself for running that traffic light when it was clearly not your turn and causing an accident. Or ten years for telling your mother an awful lie that caused her so much anguish your relationship with her was never the same after. Or twenty years when you find out that your gay sibling committed suicide because you and your conservative pseudo-Christian family would not look past his or her sexuality.

I was young. Mentally and in age. I thought I was grown. I thought this would never happen to a relatively good kid like me from Podunkville, USA. I came from a “Christian” home with “Christian values”. Who knew my thinking I was grown would lead to the one and only event in my life I regret. The one and only event that haunts me to this day the entire month of its anniversary. I have spent the majority of my life contemplating ways to forgive myself for that day that I remember so vividly as if it happened yesterday. I’ve read stories, magazine articles and books about “moving on” from traumatic events in one’s life. Nothing really helped. I thought (and still think) about it constantly. I needed something more than what I was already doing. It wasn’t possible to apologize to the person I wronged because the situation was complicated for more than just me. I would have opened a can of worms I wasn’t (and somewhat still not) ready to deal with.

I think it was April 2009 when I started going to Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. My sister had been attending church there for some time and invited me to go to the Easter Service. It was a weird feeling to be in church again because I had not attended on a regular basis in I don’t know how many years. I felt a sense of peace that I had not felt in YEARS, which really didn’t surprise me because I really do love going to church. I’m not a bible thumper nor some “holier than thou” type of person. I don’t go around quoting scripture or trying to convert people to a certain religion. I’m not at all my grandmother’s granddaughter. I love the ambience and aura that certain churches possess. At Lakewood, I feel an overwhelming sense of “being at home”. The people are so sweet and caring. Of course you wouldn’t think so if you saw how rude they become when trying to leave the parking garage. Jesus… The praise and worship portion of service reminds me of a black church. People of all races clap, sing, dance, sway with the beat, jump and down with joy and have a great time.

One Sunday, I believe a few months after I started attending regularly, I attended service by myself. If I remember right, it was the first time I had ever attended a church service alone. I sat in my sister and I’s usual spot. The music started. I sang along. Then I became emotional. Not my usual emotional where I can suppress whatever I am feeling. On this occasion, I could not suppress my emotions or the tears these emotions produced. I was crying so hard my chubby cheeks felt like river beds. I couldn’t explain what was going on. I had never cried like that in public before. I think that was the beginning of my long process of forgiving myself.

Since that day, I have had numerous emotional episodes at church. I don’t attend as often as I would like but I can honestly say attending Lakewood has helped me to process what happened so that I can eventually fully forgive myself.

Thanks for reading

The Southern Yankee