Home is Where My Heart is: Reflections of a grateful mother!!
Sunset in Asheville NC
It’s 8:26pm in beautiful Asheville NC. 64 degrees F, nice crisp breeze blowing the trees to and fro. As I watch the orange sun setting in the horizon through the blinds I take a deep breath and sigh. I miss my baby…I watch a video of him break dancing to here comes the firetruck over and over again on my Samsung galaxy note 3, tears swell up and fill my eyes, I blink them away. I look through pictures of him, a smirk overtakes me as I gaze at his uplifting smile.
Today was very productive. Level 3 medical interpreter training at Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) was the highlight of my day and it was phenomenal. Learnt tons and got to know my classmates a lot more. The interaction and role play was very helpful as learning the medical terminology in Spanish for medical interpreting can get overwhelming.
I hand wash the beautiful purple and gold embroidered 100% silk dress and gold shawl I wore to class today. I hang them to dry then start my evening meditation.
Reflections of a grateful Mother
I am mindful of all it took for this day to happen. The symphony of collaborations, network of loving, compassionate, caring people. Selfless people that made an event that seemed practically impossible just a couple of days ago come seamlessly together. I am truly grateful. I start to cry. I don’t stop myself, I allow myself to feel what I was feeling. I let the tears flow and they came pouring. Deep feelings and emotions of gratefulness, love, exhaustion, hurt, pain and sadness. I miss my baby. Right now, that smiley face is so vivid he is almost here in the room with me. Reaching his tiny hands to my cheeks patting me like he does when he thinks I’m sad or upset saying:
“…it’s ok mama, it’s ok. Don’t cry, everything will be ok.”
Everything I felt that I could not express in any other way or to anybody else comes pouring through. My cell phone rang, it was my precious 2year old, the love of my life. Elated,
“Hey baby, what are you doing?”
“I’m playing with firetruck…”
“Wow!! Did you get a new firetruck?” “Eh huh!
“I miss you…are you having fun with your cousins?”
“Eh huh! I miss you mama”
“I miss you baby. Are you ready for bed? Sounds like you had a fun day today.”
“Go get some rest and I’ll talk to you later Ok. I love you, and I miss you, big hugs and kisses to my baby. Are you my baby?”
“OK baby, I love you”
“ I love you”
, “I miss you”
“I miss you”
He made it all better like he always does. I start to cry tears of joy as I try to picture him playing with his firetruck.
He is on vacation with his paternal family. His uncle and cousins joined them at a water resort and they had some fun which is great. I miss him but we probably both needed the time away.
I did not find out he was going on vacation till pick-up at the police department. I was planning on cancelling my trip to Asheville as several obstacles seemed to present themselves to make my trip next to impossible. Pick-up this week was suppose to be Sunday and Thursday which is when my level 3 medical interpreter class began.
Without my own transportation there is no way I could have made it without help from above. Just the thought of it was exhausting for me. So I did not expect anyone else to be willing to try to run me back and forth everyday. Asheville is close to an hour away.
Pick-up was Wednesday evening at 6:30pm and I needed to be in Asheville on Wednesday. I had to wait until after pick-up to go to Asheville. But then, I had to be back Thursday after class to get baby back. And then take him back with me to Asheville for the rest of my training. Class did not end till 4:45pm but that was not the problem.
if I had my own transportation sure I can zoom in, out and done. But given the circumstances; there is a lot of moving parts here. Factor in having to wait for rides, finding someone to pick us both up, take us to the police department where the exchange is done, bring me to Asheville.
There are some wonderful, amazing people here in Asheville who have willingly taken me to and from class so no problem there. They are willing and pleased to help and I am truly grateful. The problem is the hour drive from our little town. The running back and forth Wednesday, Thursday and Friday seemed exhausting for anyone. I get breathless just thinking about it.
So I thought, just forget it; you won’t make it, it won’t happen, good try. Another uncompleted program, another failed project. Story of my life. Didn’t feel good… blah!!
Just like your medical billing program you never finished. Just like having 96 college credits you worked hard and paid cash for, afloat with no college degree. Just like everything else you’re going through right now. A broken family; yet another brick wall, another uncompleted venture. I kept thinking to myself, not again. I screamed out loud, “Papa, oh Abba, Please help us, help us please”
I packed an umbrella in my black cross body pack. Pack my red floral Ghanian serong wrap Cesarine brought back for me from Ghana years ago. I use the wrap to carry baby boy on my back. We have to walk everywhere. I take it with me if I think he might get tired or in bad weather. Mama doesn’t have a car and our roads do not have sidewalks for strollers. He enjoys walking and prefers to walk. If we’re out and he gets sleepy, or it’s raining I carry him on my back. it’s easier to carry him on my back in a serong wrap or baba him as we would say in Pidgin English. Than to hold him in my arms on a long walk. He is every bit of 41lbs of solid muscle and very tall for his age. I’ve been wearing him on me since he was a baby. He hated the stroller with a passion so I’ve worn him on me from day 1 and he still enjoys it very much.
It is sunday evening, pick up time or close to it. I put my cross body pack on and make the 30mins walk to the police department. I turn my phone’s music player on, put my green earphones in, crank up the volume and walk as fast as I can. Praying and meditating as I walked.
I went to the farmer’s market pavilion about 5 minutes from the station to wait for the phone call to come get baby boy. Sang, danced, laughed, cried, prayed, worshiped, meditated to songs like Hephzibah, Dance with the King, Rachem, Melech Malchei Hamlachim, King of all the Earth, Jeremiah 33, Ruach of God, Kadosh Atah, Joy, Yeshua, Oceans, Hine Kenei Avadim and some Cameroonian worship music; 2 hours go by no calls no sign of them. It starts to pour down heavy rain storms. I call at this point it’s 9pm, I’d been waiting since 7pm. No answer. I sent a text
“Are you off tomorrow?”
“I’m off all this week. Don’t you have my vacation schedule?”
“Oh I do, you emailed it to me 3 months ago I just forgot to memorize it…”
“sorry, i should have reminded you”
“yea, that would have been nice”
“We might go to out of town, I’ll let you know if we do.”
I take deep breaths to diffuse the emotions I felt…
I told myself it’s ok, this too shall pass. No anger, no pain, you have lived through worse so let it go.
I don’t know what I felt and did not want to think about them so I let them all go. I released them and the tears come pouring down. It was storming heavily at this point so I did not stop the tears from pouring out. I really didn’t care if someone was watching me wallow in pain and yet another unavoidable disappointment.
I sobbed, screamed, had a good cry. Pulled out my umbrella and started walking back still crying; i cried all the way home.
I unlocked the door slowly, turn the knob, sad, distraught, confused, exhausted. slowly walk in and put my bag down, drenched to my knickers. Empty my bag, soak all my wet clothes in the kitchen sink with castile soap. Then hang the bag out on the hammock in the balcony to dry. I wanted to take a bath but I was too tired. I took a long shower instead still pretty emotionally drained. I didn’t go to bed. When baby boy is away I don’t sleep in the bed, I miss him too much. He sleeps in my arms, that’s the only way I can go to sleep at night. I know, I know; you’re probably thinking why is he not sleeping in his own bed. Neither one of us is ready for that yet, don’t judge me please. We have co-slept since he was born. He is a part of me, flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood I know no other way to do it, maybe later. Plus, his room is out of commission for other issues we are having at the apartment. It’s all I can afford right now.
Problems solved?…Maybe not!!
I laid on the couch and started listening to Cameroonian worship music. It hit me that baby boy being on vacation all week solves one piece of the puzzle but poses yet another dilemma. I was expecting to get some child support money at drop off today to register for my class at MAHEC, $115 is not a whole lot but when you don’t have it you just don’t have it. Our fridge was empty. A bowl of mango puree a friend gave us that weekend at a Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) celebration we had. Some soup I cooked to last us several days till we can go get groceries again. A bag of frozen peas, a bag of frozen spinach, that’s all we had in the fridge and it had to sustain us until…
At this point you know,
“In the same way, the Ruach (Spirit) helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Ruach himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Ruach, because the Ruach intercedes for Elohim’s people in accordance with the will of Elohim.” Romans 8:26-27
the Holy Scriptures say that if we are connected to our Heavenly Abba יהוה (YHWH) and are 1 in fellowship with Him when we are so overwhelmed we do not know what words to pray, Abba’s Ruach (Spirit) that dwells within us communicates with Abba on our behalf and thats all the strength I have left at this point. I start to pray, for nothing in particular. I recite prayers I pray several times through out the day, not in any certain order i just pray, sing, cry, sob, meditate, in the end I just cry out,
“Abba please help us, Papa, please, please help us…Eli, Eli, Eli; Eli, Eli, Eli; Eli, Eli; Eli, Eli, Lama Saba Thani, Lama Saba Thani. My God, My God, My God; My God, My God, My God; My God, My God, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me, why hast Thou forsaken me. Avinu in Shamayim, Your Name is Kadosh. May your Meleucha come. Your will be done in ha’aretz as it is in Shamayim. Give us our bread for today. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into testing, but deliver us from the evil one.”
So I cried myself to sleep yet again.
I was up bright and early Monday morning. Hand washed the clothes I had soaked in the sink and hang them to dry in the bathroom. Rinsed the mud off my lime green sketchers and put them out on the balcony to dry. Turned on the computer that was just donated to me last week for which I am grateful. Researched how to start a business and printed out some paperwork. I applied for a tax number for a C corporation using the printer the shelter donated to me as well.
I can do translations from home. It will be hard work getting clients in our small town but I’m up for a challenge. I researched what marketing options are available. I signed up for a workshop for business owners through the Small Business office at Isothermal community college. Reached out to get free counseling. I got a response to my email right away, set up an appointment and by 3pm that afternoon I rode the public transit to meet with someone at the school. We talked about my challenges past, where I am presently, what my goals and aspirations were for the future. She was very encouraging, supportive, knowledgeable and just what I needed to uplift my spirits at this point in my life.
She gave me a chamber of commerce booklet with local businesses I can reach out to for marketing via email, phone, mail or visiting them on-site. She asked me to bring some business cards by and she would distribute some. She also provided links for online resources including a sample business plan for me to study. She was phenomenal!!
When I got back I had an email from my friend in Hendersonville NC who is helping me navigate through so much. I call her my guardian angel. She is a problem solving expert. She is networking to get rides for me while in Asheville, she will pick me up to and from Asheville and has found me the most adorable place to stay where I am now, calm, clean, lovely, restful…perfect. I’m truly grateful for her. I email her back to tell her that baby boy is gone for the week so that obstacle is gone. However, I don’t have the money to register for class. I have a cleaning job to do on Tuesday. The money I make from that job will give me enough to register for class. Plus, since baby boy is gone, I don’t have to get groceries. I can survive on the bare minimums till the 16th. Hopefully get some money when I pick baby up granted it was already 6/9. To avoid conflict, I don’t even ask. Court papers say child support should be paid in full at the first exchange of each month but…well…I just take it whenever I can get it. I am not even going there.
I don’t go to sleep Monday night, I stay up all night studying on different things. I look up work from home ideas, options, things I can do as a contractor from home. I try to open a business bank account with my bank and was declined, I try to open a brokerage account and ran into some difficulties for reasons that will come up again and again. The same reasons I lived at a domestic violence shelter for so long. Reasons I am now documenting in a book. Reasons I have a story to share with anyone that will be encouraged and inspired by it.
Tragedy creates resilience and resilience builds courage. Courage develops character and character cultivates personality. Personality, well personality is everything. Personality attracts life, love, self worth, patience, acceptance. All the good things we learn to appreciate when we embrace the full meaning of life are enhanced by our personality. Learning the lessons along the way and appreciating the simple things.
Successfully live through a difficult life and your character will be a dynamic magnet. A magnet with electrifying impacts in the future for everyone whose lifestyle interlaces with yours along the way. If you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, there is no way you can understand what it’s like to wake up and not know if you will have enough food to feed yourself or your family. For me it’s a happy 2 year old who thinks the world of me. He makes my sun shine brighter every waking second of every day. As poor as I am, he loves me anyways. I would not trade my lifestyle now for anything just to be able to wake up with my sunshine. In my arms, smiling at me with big hugs, with the cutest dimples ever saying…
“…wake up mama levanta te. It’s time to get up. Bonjour, buenos dias, shalom.”
To me nothing else matters than being with my little guy.
I stay up all night and I finally fall asleep on the couch around 5am. A text from my friend in Hendersonville woke me up confirming that she is picking me up around 9:30am the following day and giving me a list of who will pick me up thursday morning, thursday afternoon and friday morning.
I eat homemade applesauce for breakfast and catch a ride to my cleaning job at the chiropractic office in town. It took me about 5hrs, as I was finishing up a client comes in for a massage whom I knew. She was the last client for the day and offered to give me a ride back. Saved me an hour walk back, this certainly was not a coincidence. Thank you Abba!!
I load the cash I just made on a prepaid visa debit card so I can register for class. However, I forgot the extra charge for late registration. Once again, I cannot register because I did not load enough cash on the debit card. I email MAHEC registration. There is no option on the website to split the payment so I inquired if I could pay Thursday morning when I got there.
Yay! I made it to class
This class is essential for medical interpreter certification and on-sight interpreting in general. The provided glossary of medical terminology is only the tip of the iceberg. Levels 1 & 2 gave me the training I needed for national principles and standards for interpreters. I learned a lot there but level 3 is the climax of the course and I had so many uncompleted ventures, it was critical for me not to miss this one. I was determined, I needed to prove to myself that I could do this no matter what I’m going through. I needed to be in class today and in spite of everything, I am here, it feels amazing. You may be thinking, well you made it to class big deal! But, it is a big deal to me to have made it to class. You have no idea.
I slept on the couch Tuesday night. The phone rang around 8:30am Wednesday morning and it was my friend asking me if I was interested in meeting their communications/media liaison. They are doing an event in August and looking for interesting side stories to complement the main speaker.
“yes sure. If I can be an advocate to help someone else experiencing these atrocious things I would be glad to.”
She said she would be leaving to come get me shortly. We set up the appointment for a little after 1pm for the initial interview with the media liaison.
Class is in Session
I get an email from MAHEC with links to print out documents for class which I do. I print out the paper application form and fill it out. Take a shower, pack a few things and my friend knocks on the door. We talk about the plan for the weekend on the way to Asheville. We come check in, eat lunch and meet with the reporter. She pointed out how fascinating to see all the different pieces that fit intricately in my story. That make it unique, delicate, special and encouraging. I jokingly said when it’s all over and I get rich, I will write and autobiography.
My friend says there is so much of the story she is just now hearing for the first time. And then she says,
“you should write a book.”
I responded “yeah right, nobody will read it.”
She says “I’ll read it…” we both laugh.
That thought sat with me. I remember a conversation I had with a high school friend when I lived at the domestic violence shelter. I was trying to move out of the shelter and try to finish school so I started a gofundme. He donated and proceeded to remind me of how we competed in school. He said I was the only girl in class who pushed all the smartest guys in class. They worked hard so that they could keep up with me or to impress me. I had a big crush on him and he had a big crush on me. Neither one of us ever acted upon it or even knew till now. Some deep secrets were shared about how much admiration he had for me. How I walked for hours each day to and from school in Cameroon. How I managed to make enough time to do my chores, homework and still thrived in my school work. He said he was only number 1 all through school because he had it easy. All he had to do was study and that’s all he did. If he had to even just walk as far as I had to, he would not have survived. He told me this story that cracked me up…
“…I didn’t really know exactly where you lived at the time but we had a plot of land in Nitop 1. I knew you lived in Nitop. And had an idea that your house was in some general area over some hill on some road. Every time my mom took me there to go help her do some work, I hoped to see you. I would stare over the horizon excitedly in hopes of catching a glimpse of you. Even at school, in class every where I knew you were around I always tried to catch a glimpse of you. Even if it’s at the corner of my eye. But there were so many others seeking your attention I knew I had no chance so I didn’t even bother.
Truth is the feeling was mutual. We were both really young then and both kind’a shy. He ended by saying, you should write a book about your strength and resilience. I know you will get back on your feet. I believe in you!! I laughed it off and said, maybe if I survive all of this I will. He was sincere…I know he was.
So here I am. I met the communication liaison when we got to Asheville yesterday. She got some stories to start working with. My friend brought me to my room. I stayed here and studied, researched; I need a breakthrough. The reason this is key is because I cannot legally work in the US anymore. So I can’t just go out and get a job. But apparently I can start a business. My business being opened in the US is considered a US person and I can through my business be contracted for work. But until my work permit is renewed I am unable to be an employee. If I did get a job, l would be making barely enough to afford day care. with cost of living as expensive as it is, neither one of us is ready for that. There’s a time and a place for everything, it is not time for us to part company yet. Working from home is what’s best for my son right now and that is what I’m going to work towards.
I’ll keep trying, something will click and stick I’m sure. For now, I’m pretty excited about class. I am up by 6am Thursday morning; I brush my teeth and walk outside barefoot on the grass to meditate, grounding early in the am with the sunrise is great for resetting the circadian rhythm. Given I have had several sleepless nights in a row I needed a major reset. I Walked the beautiful grounds of the facility barefoot, praying, singing, meditating as the sun rose in the Western horizon. I like to face the East when I pray and meditate so I did that. The air was nice and crisp. I still had my grey 100% linen spaghetti strap night gown on. So I hugged myself as the chilly morning breeze brushed my shoulders. I came back inside after about 30mins of prayer and meditation, praise and worship.
I showered, got ready and headed out to the main office to wait for my ride. I expected I would be picked up by 7:45am as previously. I leave the room at 7:30am to take a early morning sun bath while I wait.
Class starts at 8am since I still needed to register I text my friend around 8am to let her know I was still waiting for a ride. There had been a mix up in the scheduling. She mistakenly sent the wrong month to one of my rides in one of the emails they exchanged so she calls a cab. I emailed MAHEC in the mean time to let them know I was running late but I would be there. The cab gets here pretty speedily, in no time. We made it to MAHEC around 8:40am. Believe it or not…they waived my late registration fee so I had enough on that 1 card anyways. They hand me an envelop with lunch money and an ingles gift card, did I already mention that it was someone from MAHEC who donated the computer I am using right now???
In the end, I don’t even remember all the challenges and obstacles that stood in my way. Through prayer, perseverance, hope, faith and friends who love and care for me I made it to class. I not only made it to class I have so much more to be grateful for. I’m glad I did not throw in the towel and just given up because of a few bumps in the road. I”m glad I pushed through all the seeming obstacles that presented themselves. I would have missed out on fulfilling opportunities, relationships, connections and achievements.
Being here today lends so much to the achievements of being in a community that cares and loves one another. I owe the accomplishments and fulfillment of today to all the wonderful people that Elohim has placed in my life. People who have not given up on me. I owe it to them not to give up on myself but to keep pushing. Most importantly, if I did not make it to Asheville this weekend, I would not have had the inspiration to start this blog. And yes I am working on a book too you guessed right. All in all, a very productive day. I am grateful. Thank you Abba!! As my friend would say…”Yah in all things…”