De Pickney Dem

Pickney: patois for children

Warrior was just three years old and Earth Mother was about to turn one when I first met Mo. Instead of running away at the thought of getting into a relationship with a father of two, like he anticipated, I fell in love with him. "It was because of your children that I married you," I tell him. He grins sheepishly whenever I say it. His entire demeanor would change when he talked about them. He was so thoughtful and caring. I kept thinking, "Wow, this is a deeply loving man."

Ten years later, I'm trying to figure out where all the time went! We now have an official teen in our midst as well as a tween! To say that it was difficult to be so far away for so long would be an understatement. We missed out on so many milestones. It's heartbreaking to think about. But the past is the past and we are focusing on the present. We are(finally) here! And we are here with an ever expanding family!

If you would have asked me growing up how many children I was going to have, I would have told you, zero. I had every intention of being the eccentric Auntie to my siblings' broods who would be welcomed at my farm every summer to run up and down and chase the dogs and clamor through the fields but who would not stay on indefinitely. I had my art to envelope me and thoughts of traveling the world. "So what changed?" you ask. To be honest, my reply may seem dull...I fell in love.That's it in a nutshell. That and I met a few women along the way who showed me what joy families (particularly large families) can be. One was a college professor who became a friend and mentor. The other, the director of a non-profit organization that I worked for in NYC. Both phenomenal women were well accomplished, well traveled, well respected, joyful mothers of five. They inspired me!

They inspired me and so did Mo's children. When I first got to meet them and look into their shiny bright eyes, my heart melted. Our first meeting happened at Mo's father's office. I remember chasing them under drafting tables and behind filing cabinets then eating ice cream on the front porch while we watched a thunderstorm roll in. Warrior was full of questions. Why did I sound like I came from England? Why did I have spots (freckles) on my arms? Why did I come to Jamaica? Then a declaration, "I like you" and a hug. Earth Mother just wanted to brush my hair over and over and over again and sit in my lap. Her smile spoke a thousand words.

As a stepmother, I feel blessed that Warrior and Earth Mother have openly accepted me in their lives. They are comfortable enough to call me on their own to talk or email me their thoughts. When we are together, it is as if we have always been. It helps that we were introduced when they were so young. I've essentially been a presence their entire lives. Mo too, has been great in being open and honest with them about all that goes on between us, be it sunshine or rain. While very young they have had to face some harsh realities that most adults struggle to accept. And they have done so with remarkable grace and understanding.

For now, Warrior and Earth Mother continue to live between Mo's parents and their mother. Mo's parents have been instrumental in raising them to be such conscious and considerate children. Their influence, care and support have helped us all to reach this stage of unity. Without it, I'm not sure where we would be. I would like to say that our relationship with their mother is like Will and Jada Smith's sitcom, All of Us, (or their real life for that matter) but it's not. There is only animosity between us. The years we were abroad were even more challenging because communication with the children was only consistent when they were with Mo's parents. We were often left in the dark or with just bits and pieces of information about their well being. But I don't wish to dwell on what was or has been...only what is...

What is, is that we are thrilled to be in the same place...together...finally! Both Warrior and Earth Mother have excitedly embraced their younger brother Shine. And Shine is in heaven when he has his big brother and sister around. The much anticipated Baby Q is sure to receive a similar welcome!

We are far from a perfect family, but a family we are with all the laughter and tears that come along with it. I anticipate bumps in the road as any family encounters (especially as we are on the cusp of the teen years), but I think we will manage to get through. We have come this far together.

Peace and Wellness,


Anonymous said…
brooklyn said…
what a beautiful family!! :)
Rae said…
thank you, thank you!!