Month: June 2013

Wonder Woman Wendy

Thirteen hours. All in, Senator Wendy Davis stood before the Texas Senate, upright and unsupported by a podium or a person, for thirteen hours. Senator Davis filibustered against an anti-abortion bill on the floor for thirteen hours. She spoke the truth of women’s reproductive rights and those of the men who love them. Davis argued, defended, and railed against the undercover moves of politicians done in the dark of night. Thirteen hours? You can fly to from NYC to London and back in the same number of hours.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 11.11.47 AM
Sole Support: For thirteen hours ( including post debate)

When I learned more of the details of Davis’s life, of how she “began working after school at the age of 14 to help support her single mother and three siblings that by the age of 19 she herself was a single mother working two jobs to make ends meet, that Senator Davis was a mom who began her academic career at a community college and worked her way to Harvard Law School, graduating with honors—her latest hat trick did not come as a surprise.

As a Single Baby Mama Davis is no stranger to roadblocks and rejections. As a S.B.M. I know Senator Davis persevered because for one reason, for her there was no other way.

I get Davis’s gumption. As a S.B.M. who just completed her graduate work in May 2013, I understand. While waiting for the finalization of my adoption I began graduate work, as a distraction. Yet, the first two semesters were far different from the last two. I quickly learned researching, writing and crafting an Extended Critical Essay, getting my thesis approved, along with managing new motherhood and a full-time job was a tightrope walk best kept to oneself.

 

“You don’t plan to finish your MFA now that Julia’s home?” A friend asked a month into my new motherhood.

“Sure, I only have two more semesters to go.”

“I wish you’d reconsider. Kid’s need their mothers.”

No words came from my mouth but plenty blasted my brain. “ I will finish this MFA, and nothing is going to stop me,” I thought. And in that moment I decided to keep my grad school work as secret as my adoption had been to most friends.

In time those who knew of my studies, forgot. I deleted my graduate work from the info shared with new friends. I limited my MFA work woes to my grad school peers, three close friends, and my Mom.

As the single mom of two Wendy Davis has walked the floor with her colicky kids, picked up school supplies in a driving rain, frightened away monsters from under small beds in the dead of night. Of course, at one time or anther, all moms perform these duties. Yet the difference is this: when you’re single mom there’s no partner to negotiate with for more time under the covers, for more time at your computer, for a pass because you did it last time.  You slip from bed and chase the monsters away and soothe your child’s fears. You lace on your red sneakers and armor up and take the Texas Senate floor and stand for what you believe in, for what the people elected you to do, for thirteen hours. Just so you can look yourself in the mirror and know you have done the absolute best you can do with your 24-hours on the planet. Then get up and do it all over again.

Adoptive Couple vs Baby Girl Veronica

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 5.20.20 PMSounds like a joke, right? Sadly, it isn’t. As a parent, in paricular an adoptive parent, I’ve lost sleep over this case, wondering what this trial is doing to a toddler during her most formative years. Please take a moment to read The Supreme Court ruling announced in today’s New York Times:

The Mommy Faith Diaries, Vol. 1

Then the dad picked up the racket and handed to the cashier. Shock broke over the little girl’s face and mine, a flood that swept us both up.

“Hey, Miss, can they use my coupon, “I yelled to the cashier now welded the racket.

“No, only one per transaction.”

I stared as the remaining items slid into the thin brown plastic bag.
Someone should do something,” I thought.

Then I felt God’s boot on my butt. “Yes, and that someone is you.”

I didn’t want to embarrass the parents. But I had a greater want. I wanted that kid to have that tennis racket. Hell, any kid who wants a tennis racket should have a tennis racket. “She could be the Latina Serena Williams. Give that kid a damn racket,” I wanted to scream.

“Buy it for her,” God whispered.

The family, in the midst of gathering bags, prepared to leave.

“Excuse me, I yelled. “Would you mind if I buy the racket for your daughter, I have a coupon.”

The father eyes glazed over, for a few seconds, then he nodded yes. The mom smiled. The girls gaped.

“Where’s the coupon?” the cashier demanded.

“Well, ahhhh, just take it out of here, forget the coupon.” I said shoving money at her. “How much is it?”

“$17.44.”

Can you create a miracle for less than twenty bucks?  The look on the girls’ faces, the look that said, what a surprise, the world is, at times, a kind place, confirmed you could. The younger girl carried that look out of the door. The older girl, the next Serena, grabbed that racket, shoved it into the plastic bag, twisted it shut, and headed for the exit before someone changed his or her mind.

I held in a snicker. She will go far.

The parents thanked me. “ No need to thank me, “ I said waving them off. “We all want to do the best for our kids,” I said, “We all work hard so we can do something nice.” At least that’s what I said. All I could think was, “Somebody kid was going home from the damn Toys R Us with something they wanted. Tonight.”

Since anger makes me hard of hearing, God spoke louder. “You know, the train delay, the screw ups with the cart, I did that so you’d be here to help.”

Joel O. had just delivered this lesson the Sunday before.

” Sorry for the delay,” the sales associate said, and handed over the paperwork. It seemed a lifetime had passed.

“Thanks for your help and patience.” I folded the sheets, tucked them in my purse and headed to the escalator. A few feet from the moving steps, a tall Asian woman with an even taller teenage boy behind her, flagged me down.

” I saw what you did, that was very kind of you,” she said. “God’s is going to bless you.”

I gave her a weak smile. “He already has, I have a healthy child at home,” I said. “I just want her to have that tennis racket.”

photo-check
The evidence of things unseen

“He’s still going to bless you.”

Her words broke deeper into me, easing in a calmness that caused wetness to cloud my eyes. For a moment. I’d had so many moments of anger in Times Square. My first moment of grace here at the intersection of the world, took my breath a way. Then I sucked them up. Tears just aren’t a good look in Times Square on a Friday night.

The next day’s mail contained a check, a check I had no idea was on the way. A day later, I realized even God likes to show off every now and then.