Sen pa janm twò lou pou mèt li — ‘Bosoms are never too heavy for those who have them,’ or, you must always assume your responsibilities, even if it is difficult.
Some people say their kids are their spitting image. Well, that couldn’t be more different for my son and me. When I was young, I was quiet and shy. I was afraid of my own shadow. Not my son, Andrick. Where I was a reserved and obedient child, he's a social butterfly, the class clown, and filled to the brim with energy.
To add to the differences between us, where I'm analytical, incisive, and logical (go figure—I'm a lawyer!), Andrick is more thoughtful in the artistic sense. During my time in school, I kept my head down and focused every ounce of energy on classwork. Granted, I went to a catholic school with nuns and all that was characteristically meek but Andrick doesn’t need that strict rigidity to get things done. His sense of positivity finds a way to shed light without the gravity I needed as a child.
At the end of the day, Andrick glides through life with an ease and levity unrecognizable in my own childhood. Perhaps in my youth, the stability and clear direction of school was something I cherished, but not simply because of its value. Where identity was an issue for me growing up, I was one of six children and change was constant, including immigrating to another country, school was a place where order reigned supreme, and I reveled in it. Andrick's childhood is different. Andrick is an only child. He was born here.
But that's not to say that his childhood and mine share no characteristics. Indeed, they connect in tragic ways. Andrick's dad, to whom I was married for eight years before our divorce, died suddenly early in 2021. It was and continues to be a painful and challenging grieving process for Andrick and me. Sometimes for him, the loss is hard to understand; for me, the loss is hard to comprehend. As he navigates life without a father, and me without the only person I knew as a partner, it’s my duty as Andrick’s mother to support him, but despite that, I find that sometimes Andrick is the one supporting me.
Sometimes, Andrick’s ability to center me is shocking. Once, I was grieving his father's death, with full on tears, knees to the ground, and Andrick said to me, 'Mom, who's going to take care of me if you keep crying over dad? The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming.’ It shocked me spiritually; it was as though his father had spoken to me through my son-his father always believed in hope and gratitude. Just seconds before, his face was punctuated by resolve, but seconds later, he returned to his childlike play with Legos. Children are often wrongly portrayed as selfish. In truth, as Andrick has shown me, children demonstrate an unbridled capacity to see beyond themselves and lift others up. Even when they’re afflicted by the same sorrows, as Andrick and I are.
That instance was just one of many that remind me of the wisdom of children—their ability to sometimes see things with a clarity we lose as we age, and their ability to restore and center us in ways we can't on our own. Single parenthood is paradoxical in that way—as a single parent, you pour everything you have into your child. Every second of the day is, at least in some direct or roundabout way, devoted to their wellbeing. Some days it feels like all you do is give, give, give…
But even so, there are these fleeting moments that remind me how much children give back to us. They give us a sense of youth, a peace of mind unencumbered by the countless anxieties of daily life, and a well of energy that never runs dry. At least, that's The Way I See It.