Pieces Of You

Dear Jacquai,

Today is your 7th birthday. Do you want to know how that makes me feel? Do you?


Tired. Amazed. Exhausted. In love. Famished. Proud.


Mostly proud. More than anything else, I'm proud to have such an amazing kid.


It's been a stressful 8 months or so for us. I took your daddy away from you back in October and as hard as you've been trying to understand, I know how confusing and unfair it's been for you. I tried to explain things to you but unfortunately "You're daddy's a first rate fuck up who doesn't know a thing about parenting and is so selfish that he doesn't deserve to kiss the ground you walk on" just didn't seem to cover it all.


But then he took me to court. Finally. And that right there son, was so refreshing, exciting, and joyous to me- to be taken to court by your father for joint custody and visitation. Because more than anything else, it means that he gives a fuck.


So we went this week and with the agreement that I got him to sign, he's going to be spending a lot more time with you and more quality time at that, time that you two can be together without you having to constantly compete for his attention with his girlfriend, her daughters and his other two kids, and the president of the United States, and Janet Jackson, and whoever else it is he insists on having there every time he takes you. Now, for at least 2 hours a week, you are going to have your daddy all to yourself. And now you're going to know when he's coming and going, and he can't just take you when he wants to show you off and leave you with a lady you barely know, he's going to have to be a parent now. He's going to have to show up. He's going to have to be a man.


And I know that maybe some of the things I insisted on and the measures that I took to get these things for you seemed a bit unnecessary and even a little selfish. But in my heart of hearts, I hope that the sacrifice of a few months apart will allow for a better relationship with your daddy in the long run. I hope that you guys are able to find a closeness and bond that you never would have been able to achieve with the way your relationship was going before. I hope that he can teach you how to be a good man and father so that someday you can be one too. I really hope things work out with you guys this time because if he hurts you again, I'm going to have to kill him.


But back to you turning 7. This is going to be the year that challenges me as a mother more than any other year has. From the day you were born, I've had this terrible feeling that something bad was going to happen to you when you were 7, that somehow I would lose you. And I've tried to ignore this feeling, deny it, push it back, but honey, it's there and it's strong. And I'm sorry that this whole letter has had a pretty negative vibe to it, but someday, you're going to look back on your seventh year, and all you'll be able to remember of it is you mother. Attached to your hip at all times. Your mother. Every time you turn around. Your mother. Always there. And I want you to understand why. Understand that this fear that I have of anything happening to you is so crippling that I couldn't help myself from hovering over you constantly, following you around, making you get down from high branches and yelling at you for hanging upside down from the swing. Because I'd rather die a million painful deaths than lose you.


You. Who is so sweet that he agreed that instead of presents, it would be nice to collect canned goods for the local food pantry at his birthday party this year. You. Who composed and recited an eight minute opera about how much you love your mother the other day. You. My little caramel boy. You.



Happy birthday Mookie.