All posts filed under: Essay Archive

Election Time: When a Country Births a President

Four years ago, Election Day was exactly one month before my son’s birth on December 3. He was floating in fluid inside my uterus as we waited anxiously for the results of the 2016 presidential election that would slap us completely in the face. He probably wondered what else besides his punches and kicks could be making my stomach turn as my hopes of America electing the first woman president were eventually extinguished. Like the outcome, his sex was unknown to us and the rest of the world since we had chosen to keep it hidden from all until his arrival. With the exception of the unexpected and upsetting result, the days leading up to the election and the election itself seemed fairly uneventful, much like my son’s eventual birth: I did my best to prepare for the birth process while people did their civic duty and voted for their preferred candidate. Contractions began and continued, increasing in intensity, mirroring media outlets who kept track of the counting as the votes came in. Finally, after …

On Prophecy in Imaginations

In the afternoons, the Texas sun, an unforgiving lamp in the sky, my firstborn and I would walk to our neighborhood park to blow dandelion heads into the wind and run in the wide field. My mind was its own enemy. My anxiety about motherhood, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and fears for what the country was becoming colluded together to create a walking daydream of a dystopic future where my daughter and I had only each other. A place and time where we scrounged through the rubble of our neighborhood for survival. Where I, inexplicably blind, needed her maple-syrup colored eyes to help navigate the hellscape around us.  In different iterations of this daydream, rust red clouds suffocated the sky and other survivors laid traps on the road to ensnare, and later, harm us. The more this dream appeared to me, the more I recognized it as the sum of its components—the aggregate of so much worry and sorrow. I used it as a stepping stone, and began to prepare myself for the possibility of a future …

By 11 am

By 11 am, I am on the verge of collapse. On any given day. I didn’t know exhaustion until I was forced to become invincible, one day to the next. “Please, give me a minute. I am not an octopus,” I yell to my eight and five-year old boys when they hurl commands at me. Attempting to catch my breath like a first-time swimmer flapping her arms, struggling to stay afloat, struggling not to drown—this is what parenting during the pandemic feels like.  Some days, I want to cry because I have nothing left of myself to give. Not only am I parenting during a pandemic, but I have been forced to take on the role of “co-teacher” as well, to ensure that the boys are grasping some of the lessons being taught remotely. They both refuse to be in separate rooms, “away from the distraction of siblings,” as the virtual-learning handbook mandates. On the contrary, it is loud, messy, and full of distractions because they prefer to be huddled in the kitchen with me, …

Backscatter

Feedback 1. Ooooooh, girl. I don’t know how y’all parents of small children are managing all this right now. Work. Homeschooling. Loving on your boo. All your creative endeavors. There isn’t enough time in the day! Hell, I’m super stressed juggling the full-time job and two side hustles I’ve got going. My teenagers? Oh, they handle school and the chores without me having to do too much. You’ll see. Ain’t nothin’ like this independent stage. Tuh! I know one thing. I am glad as fuck that mine are older! I couldn’t imagine chasing forty and some little ass kids. If you need anything, just let me know. I’m here for you, but I’m super busy during the week so if I don’t answer, just leave me a message. 2. I’m so sorry, babe, but I can’t have open-door meetings. I just can’t. You do want me to keep my job, right? I’m the only one on the team with a child, so it’s probably best that I save the FFCRA until we really need it. …

Keeping On

My son Kyle turned seventeen the same month when the shutdown started. My husband and I planned to take Kyle and a few of his friends to RPM Raceway. It had been our long standing tradition—birthday excursions like paintball, bowling, escape rooms, and DJ lessons to name a few. Because of COVID, we cancelled our plans. Instead, we had a quiet dinner at home. Just Kyle, his boyfriend, my husband and me. I thought that in a few weeks, we would be able to celebrate the way we had in years past. That things would get back to normal.   Except, they didn’t.   Before COVID, Kyle would wake up and pick out his favorite hoodie, sweatpants and throw on his 80’s styled rim prescription glasses. A few times a week I would prepare him smoothies to get him to stay for breakfast. Some days it worked, other days I had to chase him out the front door, urging him to at least take his coat. Kyle would fly down the stairs, his tall lanky frame skipping …