When you're a new mom, everyone is going to throw scary statistics in your face and tell you what worked, or rather didn't work, for them. It gets pretty overwhelming. One thing that always terrifies me is SIDS. Sudden infant death syndrome is something EVERY person caring for an infant or small child should know about, if you don't, I suggest doing a quick Google search before you continue reading my ramblings.
I always thought that my mother was a superhero. Not that she could fly, or shoot lasers out of her eyes (although, I have been on the receiving end of a few looks at the store that would beg to differ), but because my mother never ran out of room in her heart for anyone, or anything. My mother, Lee-Ann Huffman, is a mother to two children and two fur babies, a wife, an aunt, a best friend, a role model, a hard worker, and the most patient person that I have ever met.
My name is Derek and I was born in Kitale, Kenya. When I was around 4 years of age I realized that home was not a safe place for me so I walked into town to see if I could have a better life there. My mother had abandoned my brother and I as babies and we were living with extended family that didn’t have the capacity to care for us. I knew I had to find a better life for us if we were to survive. I lived on the streets for over a year and made many friends with the other street boys that lived there with me. Some of them were nice to me, and some of them weren’t. Life on the streets was hard but friends made it better. I had a friend named John Pokot. He was a few years older and had lived on the streets much longer than me so he showed me how to survive on the streets.
There was a yellow school that began turning on my road that was a little cracked and appeared to look bleak. I noticed this whenever I rode the bus right into what was my home. This particular place had walls the color of the sun and the ceilings the color of stop signs. Well I couldn’t wait to get to tell my mother something very important. As the bus came to a stop, I began skipping down the black narrow aisles. The next thing I know was that I sitting on white tiled kitchen counters while consuming a barrel of cheese balls. After I brushed cheese dust off my blue jeans and my pink butterfly shirt, I found my mother in her usual grey sweats and brown t-shirt as she was lying in her bed.
When I was a little girl, I thought having four older (half) sisters was the coolest fact about me, especially when they lived in a different state than I did. I would dream about hanging out with them, being one of them, and sharing secrets. Over the years as I grew in knowledge of the real world, it became painfully clear to me that my dreams were simply my hopes manifest and would rarely cross over into reality. To be fair, I can't blame my sisters entirely; I was a pain in the butt as a child. On the rare occasions I did see them, I would chase after them to tell them to stop smoking because it would kill them. I didn't know how to say, "dad won't let me hang out with you when you smoke," so it came out as me being a little priss.
Far be it from me to buy into the concept of summer flings bred by pop culture such as Grease and Dear John, especially with my history in love. There is just something about warmer temperatures and longer days that make love easier. Everyone has experienced this phenomenon at some point in their lives. The third time is the charm, so they say and hoping it holds true in my story.
I know a lot of kids out there in the world have terrible parents, and I mean extremely shitty moms and dads. I can tell you that you're not alone, and I can sit here and say that there's so many more people who care about you, and although that's true, I'm not going to tell you the same old stuff.
My daughter recently turned one, so I often find myself reflecting on my first year of motherhood. Before she was born, I was one of those women constantly researching the best ways to take care of my baby. When I finally brought her home, however, I quickly discovered that you can’t learn to parent simply by studying. It's something you learn how to do along the way.