Family.

Mom.

There’s so many things I could say about my mother; good, bad and ugly (I’ll keep it cute this time lol). Sounds cliché, but my mom is my best friend. We weren’t always this close. You would think that us being in two separate continents we would drift apart, but somehow the distance has made us closer. My mom and I talk almost every day, about everything you could imagine. My mom is my mentor, my therapist, and overall my biggest inspiration. I can say I honestly gave my mom a hard time while I was growing up. I was always into SOMETHING, whether I should or shouldn’t have been. I wanted to share some of my favorite memories with my mom. (I’m sure she will get a kick out of these).

I was probably four years old and I was always trying to be slick. I remember one day I tried to sneak some candy. My mom had one of those boxes of chocolate, and it was on the kitchen counter. I just kept sneaking pieces of chocolate, and putting the box back on the counter. Somehow the box slipped off the counter & all the chocolate spilled all over the kitchen floor. My mom was furious. She made me sit & eat all those chocolates off the floor. This taught me to always ask permission.

I think I was in kindergarten when I chopped off my hair. My mom told my sister to take out my braids before she got back from my Gramas house. My sister didn’t want to help me with my hair, & I didn’t wanna get a spankin. So I got some scissors to help, I cut above the rubber bands so I can take my braids out faster. I cut about 2-3 inches off. I took all the leftover hair & hid it in a plastic jack-o-lantern in my room. My mom immediately noticed when she got home, needless to say I got in huge trouble. I’m pretty sure my mom still has the hair in a bag. This taught me to be patient (still a work in progress).

When I was in the second grade, my mom thought I had alopecia. I know, sounds crazy. I’ll start from the beginning. You know the phrase, “monkey see, monkey do”? Well I had always watched my mom arch her eyebrows, and when mine began to get bushy, I wanted to do the same. One day I went in my mom’s bathroom and used her razor to shave my eyebrow, & it wasn’t what I expected. I shaved a huge chunk out of my eyebrow & I was so embarrassed. I didn’t say anything to her, but when she noticed, she freaked out. We went to all sorts of doctors & dermatologists. They gave me special shampoo to help my eyebrow grow back. I kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I slipped up and asked my mom if she remembered that time I accidently shaved my eyebrow off. Oops! This taught me to let things in the past, stay in the past.

I was in seventh grade when my mom, sister & cousin worked together to put out my mom’s ex-boyfriend. We literally packed all his things & put it in his car, we went to a party afterwards. Sounds like girl power to me! This taught me not to take crap from anyone.

I was in ninth grade when I got my first job. It was a surprise to my mom, she didn’t even know I was looking for a job. Seeing my mom work hard inspired me. This taught me independence.

I was in the eleventh grade when my mom drilled my bedroom window shut. I clearly wasn’t as discreet as I thought. This taught me to not be sneaky.

I was also in eleventh grade when I bought my first car, in cash. My mom helped me with the entire process. She told me I was the first person in the family to buy my own car in cash. This taught me to go after what I wanted.

My mom is probably the only person in the world who really understands me. My mom is my biggest supporter in everything. My mom still helps take care of me when I feel like I can’t take care of myself. I haven’t seen my mom in almost two years. In the airport, where she sent me off to Japan to be with my husband. It was one of the toughest days of my life. I ugly cried, I haven’t yet mastered the graceful cry. It was hard on both of us. I think the distance has showed us what really matters. Whether we live 8000 miles apart, or 8 feet apart, I will forever cherish & appreciate my mommy.

                Living so far away from my mom has taught me that I will always need my mother.

 

Unexpected Birthday Shock.

I’ve always been the one to over celebrate every holiday, especially birthdays, my birthday was always my favorite day of the year. I guess you could only imagine, waking up on your birthday to your mom in shambles. I don’t think I had ever seen my mother cry before, so I didn’t really know how to comfort her. I had no clue what was going on, and I had no idea how to ask. I was the only other person in the house awake at the time (maybe around 7 am). I just knew it was something serious, I knew it was something that I didn’t want to hear.

My mom had just got off the phone with her parents. Her younger brother had just suffered a massive heart attack. As expected, he had to be transported to a hospital that could actually save his life (he was in a small town at the time). Unfortunately, it was too late. In a matter of what felt like minutes, he was gone.

I grew up in a pretty tight family. My mom’s 4 siblings have always been a huge part of my life. I have 8 cousins (last I counted), that were my best friends growing up. We have been lucky, we hadn’t really experienced losing a family member this close before.

It was my 14th birthday and everyone was mourning. Nobody really knew how to react. We didn’t know what to do, or say, it was really awkward. I actually wanted to change my plans to another day, but my mom didn’t want me to. She didn’t want my day to be ruined. My sister and my godmother made sure I could at least enjoy part of my birthday. It was pretty chaotic, obviously nobody was prepared for this.

We tried to make the best of it, but it wasn’t easy. My birthday party was becoming a vigil. One room was filled with rambunctious teenagers, and the next room was filled with a ton of grieving adults. It was confusing. It was traumatizing. As much as I wanted everything to be about me, it wasn’t. I knew that my birthday would never be the same. My birthday would never be a “happy” day because it was the day we lost a piece of the family.

I had avoided thinking or even talking about my uncle. I had remorse, and yet for some reason, I felt guilty. December 5th wasn’t about me anymore. I was selfish, I was wrong. I just couldn’t accept the fact that we lost him on that day. I felt like nobody would even want to celebrate my birthday anymore because my family would be grieving.

For the first couple of birthdays after his death, I felt like everyone was constantly reminding people that he died on my birthday. I know it wasn’t to intentionally bring me down, but it did. I just didn’t know how I was supposed to feel. I was inconsiderate, I didn’t really think about how his death affected other people (my grandparents, my cousins). I only really cared about how it made me feel like I couldn’t celebrate anymore.

I knew his death was not my fault (obviously). It took a few years to actually enjoy my birthday. Once I learned how to balance (celebrating both of our lives), it was easier. Every year on December 5th, I always take a moment to appreciate the time that my family did have with my uncle. I know I am thankful for him. As I get older, I become more selfless. Over the years, I began to learn what was important in life. Family, love, and celebration mean so much to me. Losing my uncle was hard on ALL of us, and I wish I realized that sooner. Every year that I avoided thinking of him, was regretful. I was an insensitive teenager, what do you expect?

Now that I am 20 years old, I’m starting a new tradition on my birthday. Every year, I will listen to the music that reminds me the most of him. The music that brings nothing but positive memories. From Alicia Keys- No one, to Trick Daddy- I’m a thug. He was amazing, and I am so lucky that he was a part of my life. He will forever be in my heart. I look at my birthday now as just another reason to celebrate, celebrate the life of my Uncle June.

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