Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It started a couple of months back when this video went viral.  

I found myself explaining a situation that I rarely talk about with my closest friends to nearly strangers... with colleagues, on first dates, to preceptors... rehashing the blurry details of the trials + tribulations that defined my adolescence... the same sad story I spent most of my late teens putting behind me. 

She did drugs. It put her in premature labor. The baby tested positive. The courts got involved. I was removed from her home... she disappeared after that and we didn't hear from her for a very long time... 

While I am not in denial of where I came from, I most certainly had come to terms with the reality of my new normal, that without a mum... and although I missed her immensely, I refused to let being stripped of a childhood define me. I refused to succumb to the label of a "drug abuser's daughter" and chose to channel the energy in to positive manifestations... and move on.  It was an unfortunate series of events in my adolescence that I had no control of and in all honesty, I can hardly distinguish the details of it to this day. It was the end of living a life as I once knew it but it wasn't the end of life... 

...and the exact moment I realized this was the day I chose to keep on living the same full + exciting life I grew up in some ten-odd years ago. Everything happens for a reason; I had figured out why. I was stronger, less selfish, overly optimistic, humbled + appreciative for all the good I could find in the most unassuming places. I had unveiled a passion + an untameable ability to dream. I was a better person because of this + not many things in life can give you all of that in a single moment... so when the dust finally settled, I found myself feeling more grateful than anything.

... but every time someone sees the video + realizes my association, I find myself fumbling for words trying to articulate a perfect dialogue of this conversation regarding "a blind boy with autism who was born to a drug addict". 

That drug addict was my mum. 

While I have come to realize I will never have an eloquent response for the inevitable closing remark, "Well, you turned out incredibly well despite what you've had to overcome"... it is in this moment that I always begin to cry and softly say, "If you could have known her, you would know I am the person I am today because of my mum, in spite of all this."

As everyone around me made plans for their mothers on Sunday and I subtly retreated, it dawned on me that it has been nearly a year since I have seen my mama and that's when it hit me like a ton of bricks... When did it become normal to go an entire year without seeing my mum... and not even notice? It's. not. normal.   

I have been thinking about her a lot recently, missing her presence in my daily life... wishing I could call her in the middle of the day just to say hi, feeling angry knowing that the mum who raised me isn't the voice that I would get on the other line. Feeling sad, barely able to recall what it was like to have a mama as your best friend. Occasionally, there are glimmers of hope that the keeper of my childhood isn't gone for forever but most days I find myself fighting back tears trying to decipher the words of a stranger. 

I lost her at a time when a little girl needs her mama the most and once I processed that she was gone, I accepted my fate + moved forward... As I have grown up over the last few years, I don't need her anymore... but as I grow older, oh my word, do I want her here. I want her to relish in all our accomplishments because they're her accomplishments, too. I want her to know her granddaughter in the same way I know my grams. I want her to lecture me about safe dating. I want her to make sure I'm drinking enough water + getting enough sleep. I want my mom back. 

My heart is heavy tonight.

While I know these are feelings I have had to process before and will probably process many more times with every coming of age throughout my lifetime, I can't help but wish she was in the kitchen right now, suntanned + smelling like a mix between tea tree oil + patchouli, dancing to Bob Marley in some beaded tye-dye sundress she got in Key West with Birkenstocks on, cooking a tofu curry concoction she knew we'd think was weird + asking whether we've brushed our teeth and done our homework... 

...because, instead of rolling my eyes + sighing, "Maaahm" with utmost embarrassment, I'd join in on her dance party + I would eat her home-cooked meal. I know every word to every Bob Marley song now, Mom... and I eat tofu now, too. I am you... and I couldn't be more proud to be your daughter. 


Jenna E said...

wow, beautiful post Jocelyn. You have me in tears xoxoxo

Michelle Wathen said...

I still remember walking through the hole in my parents fence on Champman Ave to come over and spend time at your Mom's house. We had so much fun with her, jumping around singing to "Love Shack"...I, too, can imagine her dressed in sundresses and Birkenstocks! Those were the days! So much fun was had!

Robin Stewart said...

You have such a great way with words--always. Great post.

~Rachel said...

So inspiring! I am just catching up but your words really hit me. You are really amazing girl!

Takingstock said...

You know that I knew your mom in a different time. You remind me so much of her. That is a compliment! I remember that same tan, the beatiful smile, huge heart, and the fun we had. Beautiful entry.