Though a devout atheist I am blessed. Twenty-five years ago my son was born. I always joke I nearly forgot to have children; in other words, he wasn’t planned. Conceived in love certainly but I was still conflicted about parenthood. My mother did not inspire nor evoke tender feelings. We did share a strong bond but because she was bipolar, or something-undiagnosed-our relationship was fraught with tumult, pain, anguish. And abuse. My father-who turned out not to be my biological father-was no picnic either. They were miserable together; took it out on each other, then me and my two younger sisters. “Dysfunctional” would be an understatement. Of course I knew none of these terms, just knew we were fucked and that beating your kids, wrong. I considered running away many times but there was no where to go. As we moved often there were no aunts or grandparents close by. No refuge.
When I discovered I was pregnant I was dismayed but knew it was now or never. The doctor tried to convince me to have another abortion but for the first time I felt strongly, said no, I want this child. No doubt the hormones might have clouded my judgment and my dreaded biological clock was ticking but I have no regrets. Raising a child with special needs has been a huge challenge and I’ve had much less time for creative pursuits but my passion for poetry dims in comparison to the love we share. He’s a good son. A good man. It took me far too long to realize nothing in this life is more vital than family, friends, community. Nothing sustains us like the power of love.