~A Tribute to My Nephews~
When I look back at my decision to leave my former city, I cannot say that I was motivated only by the vision and hope for a better life for myself. Wouldn’t it wonderful if we were only prompted to “move” by ideals that are as lofty and inspiring as that? But I will only speak for myself when I confess that some of my greatest motivating factors to “stop” or “go” or “move” and even to “stay,” have beginnings that are gnarled and deeply rooted in pain. Pain that is deep and wide and still keenly exquisite and that there are still no words that I have found that adequately reach and lean into those places…and my life in my city of birth had become more than I could bear. Everywhere I looked, it seemed, were memories of epic failures, rejections, fears, and a specific language that had formed my identity of being sick, crazy, and even evil.
But there was ONE situation in particular that I could no longer bear to continue contending with…and once I literally flung myself over the state line, I felt as though there were a bright strobing light over my head that throbbed with the message, “Here is that woman who has no son…what a pity.”
And even though I knew, logically, that I had to distance myself from my beautiful brown boy, who was now a man, because I had exhausted and risked everything I had to love him and to save him from his own personal demons and also the demons of “that life” that he seemed to be endlessly fascinated with. I understood the language and customs of that way of living so I knew that my risking the loss of everything I was working so hard to salvage or rebuild, would be destroyed before I could save him. But the grief that I experienced as I conceded that I had failed with my son, could be likened, I imagine, to the pain of a mother who has lost her son to death. I knew that I was still his mother but that my role had to change. I had to love and pray for the predator… Not reject, just relinquish for a time…and that’s all I can say about that for now.
BUT…once I arrived here in my new city, I was gifted with the opportunity to re-introduce myself to my nephews who I had not been close to since they were little boys. They were young men and I honestly had accepted the fact that we would, at best, have a civil and friendly relationship. But when I got here, carrying huge bags of sorrow, my two nephews, JourneyBrown and ThylasMoss received me as though they had no memory of me ever being away from them. They were so tender and respectful and I would often just stand and watch them in awe. I will never, ever forget the first night that I got to experience what, I imagine, other mothers do with their sons all the time. I was in line at the grocery store paying for my purchases and I looked up and ThylasMoss was simply standing about 10 feet from the register. I intuitively knew that he was just quietly standing in position as a young man and a son, watching over me; making sure that I was okay and also, to carry the groceries to the car. I had never experienced that before from a son. I was so overwhelmed with love and I was humbled by his complete acceptance and love for me. I remember tearing up and thanking him for allowing me that experience.
And then old JourneyBrown made it his business to get to his auntie’s house and sit and talk with me for hours. We talked about all of the things that I wished I could share with my son. We talked about poetry and freedom and justice and history and activism and preparation for college and words and ideas…he not just allowed me, he wanted me to talk to him about The Writing and the use of words and story telling. Sometimes, he would just be there with me, quiet and doing whatever, but still communing with me silently and confirming that I was his beloved, trusted aunt and he was safe and comfortable in my home.
Now, ThylasMoss is a talented musician, deep thinker, athlete, skateboarder, and lover of the ladies. And he has single-handedly brought the “crazy sexy cool” back to male cheer leading at his high school. JourneyBrown is a talented, up and coming spoken word artist, singer, activist, best “cousin-brother” to my daughters, a recent high school graduate with a future that is bright and full of choices and chances for him to make and take. But regardless of what activity either of them are engaged in, they will drop everything to come carry a box, dismantle a broken couch, run an errand, move something to the basement…and always doing so with love and the utmost respect. (even if they are mad as hell)
These young men are two of the finest teachers I have ever known. I could not love them more if I had given birth to them myself. But as our children do, they are growing up and away, but before they go, I need to tell them “thank you.” Thank you for letting me experience what the love from a sons very probably feels like. Thank you, nephews, for receiving me back into your lives without a second thought or a sideways glance. Thank you for allowing me to be your auntie, role model and teacher, and a desperately proud and protective extension of your wonderful, loving mother, my sister.
With Love and Respect Forever and Ever and Ever,
Your Crazy, Intense, Emotional, #WriteorDie, #Idowordz,
#StoryTeller, RogueWriter and
Forever Simply Smitten Auntie
I love you. 🌻
All Rights Reserved. Lisa Seward-Partee/Ruby TruthSeeker. 2017.