I grew up in a very sheltered home in the city with my 5 sisters and brother. 3 of us were adopted as babies, but my mother never remembered which ones and since she didn’t focus on it, neither did we. She was mix raced, so our varied complexions and physical traits were all the more inconclusive.
We never met our father. That is, the one who was by her side at the beginning. Momma always said that he never did like children, but he loved her so much. I guess that was enough in the beginning for her, but as time passed she did say she grew tired of carrying him and constantly trying to cause him to fall in love with us. I guess that was about the time I turned three, and we moved from Lagos, to stay with momma’s momma here in the United States.
She was old. Momma was her only child. So when she died a year later, we got the house and her car. I remember momma telling me at my 12th birthday that my birthday was special that year. She said it took her 8 years to finish paying for Grandma’s medical bills. In fact the last check went out that morning, before she started icing the cake for my birthday. Momma was awesome. She baked. She sewed. She cooked. My momma could do just about everything. Till today I don’t know how she made it with 5 kids, alone and a medical debt that wasn’t hers, all the while working days as a secretary and nights at the 7-Eleven, six doors down from the house.
Momma never raised her voice or talked down to us. In fact, she walked through life as if she knew just how things were gonna turn out. She would always tell me “Everything is already alright. You just don’t see it yet.”
It was with that attitude I set out at 18 on my own life’s journey. We had all gone away to boarding school for our high school years. Because of homeschooling and momma applying for grants for us through the things she learned in her day job, we all got to go to a pretty decent boarding school. It was here that I learned my own independence. I washed my own clothes. Cooked my own meals. Woke myself up. Did chores. Learned to write for my grants, and soon I was given a grant that allowed me to pay for an expense paid trip to England.
I was 17 at this time, and reluctantly, momma did let me go. It was at least 6 years later that I returned home. In my time away I had gotten entangled in quite a few sordid affairs with very wealthy businessmen. The experience nearly cost me my life and worse, my dignity. Through it all, I did strive to put myself through university and specialized in interior design. I worked with a renowned designer, Lucian Pierre, who I also was in an affair with that lasted 3 years. I hated myself and knew I needed to break away, but I was caught up so deep being shareholder to one of the most lucrative arms of the business. He refused to let our affair end and threatened death if I did not stay under his control. One day, like a switch, I decided to leave it all behind. I told him that I was going down to Selfridges on Oxford Street to get a gift for Mulan, his assistant. It was her birthday. I grabbed my passports, my bank cards, my IDs, my Natural Vache Liegee Birkin and caught a very expensive black cab straight to Heathrow.
Showed up at momma’s door step and she reached out with her arms. It was then I knew the power of motherhood. In just a moments embrace, she healed my broken heart and restored my confidence. All by the strength and unwavering of her unconditional love. I told her everything after I finished breaking down in tears. She comforted me.
Momma was frailer than I expected with only 6 years having passed. But the strength in her eyes showed she was not only engaged but she understood me – woman to woman. I had never until that moment, known that I could relate with my momma as a woman when she told me of her own journey before having children. It got me thinking all of a sudden. At 23 I never did think of myself as mother material. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I liked children.
Weeks passed. Along with 100s of bipolar emails from Lucian, which I ignored. I was starting over. My sisters had all moved away. So it was just me and momma. Every day for 5 years, we worked together. Momma quit her job to join me when I started my Interiors Design firm. We made a lot of money! I had the fortune of working along big designers like Lynne Lushe, etc. Those were some good times. During this time I also went back to school and got my PhD in Clinical Psychology, and occasionally took clients on an exclusive basis only.
Two weeks after I turned 30, momma died. She had been sick with cancer but never once told me or any or my sisters. I didn’t get out of bed for a year!
That was how I lost the business. Sold it for pennies to amateurs fresh out of college wanting to piggy back on a good name. I didn’t care. It just wasn’t going to be the same without momma. I was alone, broken and angry. Took me till almost into 2 years before I became functional again. I started my therapy practice back up again and staffed at for Giano General. I also worked as a Counselor on a consultancy basis for a few businesses and high schools.
When I turned 32, I decided to invest in building and running an Orphanage – St. Michael’s Orphanage. I dedicated it to my mother, the truest that ever was, and it was there that I one day opened my doors to a well-spoken state worker who had with her a very well mannered boy in overalls. His name was Taelor. He was 9 years old.
Being focused as I was, I did not experience any magical moment when I met him. In fact, I scrutinized him when I learned that he also wore girls clothing. My past being as tainted as it was, I even questioned children with suspicion. As I interrogated the innocent dear boy, I felt incredibly terrible. This boy didn’t in the littlest way act defensive or vicious. Instead he recoiled and I noticed a glimpse of shame he was feeling – because of me. I immediately felt like a bully and sick to my stomach with dhame in myself. After that, I allowed him to stay and did my best to avoid him. I felt guilty.
Despite my best efforts to avoid this child, I noticed him more and more. He was so well mannered. And down to the core – GOOD. I knew of his story. His father abandoning him. I knew he was alone, and a part of me expected him to behave a certain way and act out. He did not! He was delightful. He was kind. Thoughtful. Sweet. Gentle. I liked having him around. So did my staff.
After a few failed attempts placing him with a foster parent on account of their unreliable tendencies, I began feeling very protective of him. It was as though I wanted him for myself, only I didn’t want any children, so the thought never crossed the forefront of my mind. It wasn’t until I was begged by a little girl and her sister to take them into my own care as a foster parent that I ventured into motherhood. Reluctantly, I might add.
Soon I was feeling at home with it, but Taelor was on my mind. Fortunately he was friends with the other two girls, so it wasn’t strange to have him around us. One day he asked me directly if I would foster him also. I didn’t hesitate – YES!
It was then, on January 24, 2014 that Taelor came into my care. Soon he, along with his sisters, referred to me as “mom”. We never did formally meet before the court. Leeway was given to me because of my position and the trust the state already had in me as Head Caretaker of one of the most successfully ran orphanages in the region.
His sisters soon were placed with better suited parents for them in a different foster system. But Taelor remained, by choice, with me. Since then, me and him have grown closer and closer. Ten months later, we went before the judge with several friends as witnesses. It was then that I was granted the rightful place of being his mother.
Every day, my son saves me and heals my heart with his very existence in my life. There is something magical about him. He is a true gift.
Currently, I flutter between being a teacher at Oakdale, an Orphanage owner, and a single stay at home mom. I home-school my son and look for ways to enhance his learning and life to the best of my ability.
I have very few people in my inner circle. They are the few but mighty. I cherish them all.