Whenever my son gets a little too rambunctious for my liking, I tell him the same thing: “Cut it out or I’m going to stick you in a box and send you to China.” Obviously, he has no idea what I’m saying but the ongoing joke always calms me and lets me see that my child is just that – a child.
By the time I was five, I’d lived with my mothers sister, my mothers youngest brother, a couple named Laura and Barry and a woman named Evelyn. My mother left me behind, taking my older sister with her. I don’t know where they were through the years, but I’m sure my sister didn’t have good times. I’ll never know what she saw and went through…I don’t admire her predicament.
When I was 13, I left my mothers house and moved in with family friends. My mother decided to join me upstate, along with my father. When I was 15, my mother vanished. Well, she didn’t exactly vanish but that is a story meant for another post. My father wasn’t doing well health wise, so we moved back to the city. He moved in with one sister and I moved in with another. The sister I lived with got evicted. I moved in with my friend Christina, her mother and brother.
I’ve slept on many couches. I’ve stayed out way too late because I didn’t actually have anywhere to go. I’ve been left behind. I’ve been sent away.
I’ve got mixed emotions about this. Has it always left me with a sense of not belonging? Yes. Have I met amazing people along the way? Yep. Do I struggle with feeling thrown away… expendable? Yes. Do I know that the road I traveled brought me to my son? Yes. Do I regret that? Not one bit.
When my son gets to be a handful, I tell him I’m going to stick him in a box and send him to China. He acts like I’m saying nothing. As he should. Because I’ll never send him away. He will not move around the way I did. He will not wonder whether I love him or not. He will not question why I left him behind. I will not be sending my son away to China nor will I send him to wait for love on anyone’s doorstep.