The first five paragraphs of this post just got transferred to a bus waiting to depart the Mama C terminal at a date to be determined. I have too many unresolved feelings around a story that is far too biased from my point of view to post it here.
The “open” part of my relationship with Sam’s birth father lasted for about two months after the termination of his parental rights when Sam was eight months old. In that open period, he and I did have a couple of written exchanges, which, thankfully included an exchange of photos, from here to there, and from there to here. Then, for reasons I am not going to elaborate on here (more on my part then his), our contact ended. It is my understanding that he is still able to contact us, through our agency, should he wish to do so. It is my intention, and responsibility to renew that offer. This is something I haven’t been willing or able to go about yet. It feels as if it will soon be that time again, in a good way.
Shifting my feelings about things that transpired in between Sam’s birth, and the termination of the birth father’s parental rights eight month’s later is work that I still have to do. I’m not ready to tell the story until then.
In the meantime I will say that I keep imagining a positive outcome for Sam and him one day, and hope that I know how to facilitate it, when and if I am asked to. Until then, I’ll keep writing poems, and praying for guidance. In honor of poetry month, and the fact that tomorrow night I am reading two poems (Black Enough, and Crazy Hair Day) to an audience of over 300 at our faculty talent show, I’ll close this post with a poem I wrote about all of this last July. Wild how much has already changed in me, and in Sam since then.
Mom there is a man creeping up right behind you
Sammy says to me after dinner the other night.
I turn around slowly
trying to pretend I am scared.
Noticing I am actually scared.
I get wide eyed and ask him
if he saw a ghost?
No and yes.
He is learning about ghosts.
They like the dark, not the light.
He asks me to talk like they do–make the wooo-wooo sound.
No, not like that! Like this, WOOOO WOOOO.
He wants to be afraid-
he doesn’t want to be afraid.
He won’t go into the little bathroom at night now
since he decided it was the perfect place for one.
This has resulted in several accidents.
I am planning on hosting a tea party
in the dark and inviting this ghost
so we can befriend it.
This will reduce the amount of laundry I have to do.
His ghosts seem so small now-
still wary of the light.
He doesn’t have the ghost of his birth mother’s
to contend with yet.
The ghost of wondering what it would have been like
to have been raised by her,
to have been raised by the beautiful black woman
that shares your blood
and has your eyes
and all the what-else-ghosts
instead of me.
Or is she my ghost, still?
What about his birth father,
what will that ghost look like to Sam?
Will he be the kind that haunts him all of his life
from just behind the door to his identity
as a man,
as a father one day?
Or will that be the ghost Sam meets head on
in his dreams,
or over the phone
when he asks him
how come he didn’t want to be his dad-
when he could have been?